Friday, February 7, 2014

AirPano - Gorgeous 360 Degree Virtual Tours of the World

AirPano is a fantastic site for viewing gorgeous 360 degree imagery of dozens of famous landmarks and cities all over the world. I initially reviewed the site a couple of years ago. Recently, I noticed that AirPano has added some new features to go along with an expansion of their galleries.

Much of the AirPano imagery now includes interactive pinmarks that you can click to learn more about the places you're seeing in the AirPano imagery. For example, if you visit the AirPano imagery of Petra you can click the pinmarks to learn about the construction of Petra and the significance of various carvings seen throughout the virtual tour.

AirPano now offers videos along with 360 degree imagery. The videos aren't interactive like the pictures are, but they do provide a great visual overview of cities and landscapes.

Applications for Education
Using AirPano imagery for virtual tours could be a good way for students to explore the places they're reading about in a social studies lesson or places they've read about during a literature lesson. AirPano imagery is available in a variety of resolutions to accommodate visitors using slower Internet connections and visitors using the site on iPads or Android tablets.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

26 Videos About the Science of the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics presents a great opportunity to work some science lessons into your students' interest in a current event. The National Science Foundation offers a YouTube playlist of sixteen videos on the science of Winter Olympics events. These short videos teach lessons on the physics and engineering behind the events we see on television. That playlist is embedded below.

The playlist above is comprised of videos from 2010. The is a set of updated videos for 2014. The 2014 videos are available on the National Science Foundation website. My favorite video is this one about the engineering of the bobsled used by the U.S. team. Each of the videos is accompanied by an investigation guide / lesson guide for teachers.

Check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog for lots of other great resources about the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Winter Olympics Lesson Plans from Pearson OLE

The 2014 Winter Olympics officially kick-off tomorrow with the opening ceremonies. Some qualifying events actually started today. If you're looking for some Olympics-based lesson plans, take a look at the things Pearson OLE is offering. On Winter Olympics with OLE you will find lesson plans for elementary school and middle school students along with profiles of athletes and countries competing in the Winter Olympics.

Snowboarding and alpine skiing are currently featured in the Winter Olympics with OLE lesson plans. Curling and bobsled lessons will be available shortly.

The snowboarding lesson plan for elementary school students focuses on the creation of rules for sports and behavior of athletes. The middle school snowboarding lesson plan teaches students how a sport becomes an Olympic sport. The lesson plan concludes with students writing a persuasive piece for the Association of National Olympic Committees.

The Pearson OLE alpine skiing lesson plan for middle school/ high school asks students to use Google Maps or Google Earth to look at the terrain of the Sochi Olympics, compare it to past locations, and propose a future site for the Winter Olympics. The elementary school lesson plan focuses on what it takes to become an Olympian. The lesson plan teaches students about the importance of setting goals.

Visit The Morgan Library Online to See the Notes & Sketches of Famous Authors and Artists

The Morgan Library & Museum's online offerings include more than 30 collections of sketches, notes, and photographs from famous authors and artists. One of my favorite collections offered online by The Morgan Library & Museum is Mark Twain: A Skeptic's Progress.

Mark Twain: A Skeptic's Progress is a collection of Twain's handwritten letters, sketches, and story drafts. All twenty-two of those items are displayed in a viewer that will allow you to zoom in and see the detail on each piece of paper. The online exhibit also includes a collection of photographs of Twain at home.

Applications for Education
Before, after, or while they are working their way through Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer have your students explore Mark Twain: A Skeptic's Progress to help them understand Mark Twain's way of thinking and how that influenced his writing.

TL Virtual Cafe - A Great Place for Teacher-Librarians to Connect

TL Virtual Cafe is an online community for teacher-librarians to connect and learn from each other. TL Virtual Cafe hosts numerous webinars and online discussions including a monthly show called TL News Night. TL News Night features conversations with experts from state library associations, an overview of "this month in libraries," and a tip, tool, or title of the month. The next episode is coming up on February 17th and will feature my friends from the Washington Library Media Association.