Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Week In Review - The Olympic Edition

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where it is a crisp 4F outside. The Winter Olympics kicked-off yesterday and part of my plan for the weekend is to watch a few events then hit the local ski mountain where I can pretend to be an Olympic skier in my mind. (anyone who has seen me ski knows that I will never be confused with Bode Miller). Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have something fun planned too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 26 Videos About the Science of the Winter Olympics
2. Strategies for Getting Access to Websites Blocked By Your School
3. Behind the Published Posts and eBooks
4. Save the Cell Phones!
5. Padlet Is Now Available in 14 Languages - Here's a Guide to Using It In Your Classroom
6. AirPano - Gorgeous 360 Degree Virtual Tours of the World
7. Doodle Your Invention In the Doodle 4 Google Contest

This week the first registrations came in the for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Even though it is still five months away I've already been working on plans to make it the best workshop experience of the year. This week I lined up a fantastic assistant instructor in Mike Morrell who has been doing a lot of fun technology-infused activities with high school science students for years. Here's one of the things I saw Mike do last spring. He's also one of the most friendly people you'll ever meet which is why students and colleagues alike are often found hanging out in his classroom before and after school.

Would you like to have me visit your school this year?
Click here to learn more about my professional development offerings.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Classmint offers a nice multimedia flashcard service.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
Fresno Pacific University offers a wide variety of technology courses for teachers.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

NASA from Space to Everyday Life

NASA 360 is a series of videos about NASA's technological and scientific work and how it has contributed to elements of our daily lives. The episodes can be downloaded from the NASA 360 page or viewed on Hulu.

I've embedded the Hulu NASA 360 widget below for those who would like to preview an episode before downloading.

Applications for Education
NASA 360 could be useful for getting students to think about math, science, and engineering in new ways. Students may be surprised to learn that NASA's work translates to many fields beyond space exploration.

A Calendar of Daily Writing Prompts

Toasted Cheese is a site that offers a monthly calendar of daily writing prompts. The whole month is laid out for you with a different prompt each day. Don't see anything you like on the current calendar? That's okay, click through the previous months to find old prompts. Toasted Cheese also publishes the prompts on Twitter.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some ideas to stimulate creative writing by your students, check out Toasted Cheese. The option to go back to previous months' prompts gives you plenty of options for finding a prompt appropriate for your classroom.

Mapping the Words of Mark Twain

In yesterday's post about the Morgan Library I featured their collection of Mark Twain artifacts. This morning I found a neat map of Mark Twain's words. Mapping the World of Mark Twain is a map containing nearly 20,000 placemarks geo-located to match passages of Twain's writings. Click on any placemark to see a snippet of the passage then click "read passage" to see that snippet in context.

Applications for Education
Mapping the World of Mark Twain is a massive representation of what many teachers, myself included, have for years advocated doing with Google Maps in literature lessons. That is to have students get a better understanding of the setting of a story through the use of maps. For detailed ideas and lessons about using maps in literature lessons, take a look at Google Lit Trips.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

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.