Thursday, February 13, 2014

OpenEd Releases an iPad App for Finding and Sharing Educational Videos and Games

OpenEd.io is a free service that launched in October of 2013 for the purpose of offering a huge catalog of educational videos, games, and assessments. One of the services OpenEd.io offers is the option for teachers to create courses and collections of resources to share with their students. This week OpenEd released a free iPad app for teachers and students.

Teachers can use the free iPad app to locate videos, games, and assessments. Teachers can search for materials according to standard, content area, grade level, and material type.

Students can use the free OpenEd iPad app to log into the courses that they are members of and view the materials that their teachers have shared with them.

Applications for Education
The OpenEd iPad app is a great complement to everything else that OpenEd offers. As a registered OpenEd user (registration is free and takes less than thirty seconds to complete) you can create courses and playlists of videos and other materials that you find in the OpenEd directory. You can align your courses and playlists to standards. Adding assessments to your courses could be a good way to provide your students with some self-study / self-quiz materials to review before coming into your classroom.

The Science of Kissing

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day so this is a good time to take a look at the science of kissing. The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friend Jeni who teaches high school health.


H/T to Brain Pickings.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Video - How to Create Placemarks and Layers On Google Maps Engine Lite

Last week I published a set of screenshots containing directions for creating placemarks, polygons, and layers on Google Maps Engine Lite. Since that post was published I have received a few requests for a screencast of the process. The screencast video below provides an overview of the process of creating placemarks, layers, and polygons on Google Maps Engine Lite.



Here are a few good uses of maps with multiple layers.
  • Multiple layers could be used for showing data differences on a year over year or month over month basis. 
  • You could display the same data with different base layers for comparison. 
  • Students working collaboratively on a map can be responsible for editing their own layers on the same map. 
  • If you’re using Google Maps Engine Lite to have students create literature trips (look here for inspiration), they can create a different layer for each chapter of a book. 
  • Students mapping the history of an event like the U.S. Civil War could create a different layer for each year of the war.
Google Maps Engine Lite supports importing and mapping data via spreadsheets. This was previously possible if you used a Google Spreadsheet Gadget like Map-A-List, but the native support in Google Maps Engine Lite makes this easier than ever. As long as your spreadsheet meets the following minimum standards, you will be able to have the data mapped for you. 
  • Your spreadsheet should have three columns. 
    •  Names of places. 
    • Location (City and State or postal code or latitude and longitude coordinates). 
    • Description (information you want displayed within the placemark).

Find Science Lesson Plans, Videos, and Animations on BioInteractive

HHMI's BioInteractive is a good place for science teachers to search for science lesson plans, videos, animations, and slideshows to use with students. You can search the BioInteractive library according to topic, keyword, or resource type. The lesson plans that I looked at on BioInteractive included PDFs to distribute to students as well as videos to use while carrying out the lesson.

Applications for Education
The resources available through HHMI's BioInteractive appears to be best suited for high school settings. The "click and learn" activities available on BioInteractive could be good to assign to students to view as homework prior to a lesson on the topic. Take a look at this click and learn activity about the electrical activity of neurons to get a sense of what HHMI's BioInteractive offers to teachers and students.

Videos - What Is Money? What Is Inflation?

As I've mentioned many times over the years, economics is one of my favorite subjects to teach. Some of my first lessons when introducing economics to students deal with the questions of "what is money? and "what determines its value?" The following short videos provide a nice introduction to the questions of "what is money?" and "what is inflation?" These videos won't replace my lessons, but they will be good supplementary material to share with students.


The following explanation of inflation is direct and to the point, but it does include a promotion for an investment website at the end.