Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Internet Domain Names and the role of ICANN - A C-SPAN Lesson

C-SPAN Classroom is one of the must-bookmark sites that I frequently recommend to social studies teachers in the United States. One of the features of C-SPAN Classroom that I particularly like is the Bell Ringer category of activities. Bell Ringers are short videos about contemporary issues in government, politics, and business. Each Bell Ringer video is accompanied by a list of key vocabulary terms and a list of discussion questions to use in your classroom.

One the latest Bell Ringers on C-SPAN Classroom is Internet Domain Names and the role of ICANN. This Bell Ringer activity focuses on the role of ICANN in the assignment of domain names and its relationship with the government.

While students may not need to know all of the intricacies of  ICANN and how the Internet works, it is good for them to have a basic understanding of the framework that powers an integral part of their academic and social lives. Internet Domain Names and the role of ICANN offers a good introduction to those basics.

Explore Design Projects for Students in Autodesk's Digital STEAM Workshop

Autodesk's Digital STEAM Workshop is your one-stop shop for design projects ideas and free design software for your classroom. Through the Autodesk Digital STEAM Workshop educators can receive access to eleven of Autodesk's design programs including some programs that would cost your hundreds of dollars to license if you were not an educator. Some of the impressive software that you can access includes Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, and Autodesk AutoCAD.

Take a look at the projects section of the Autodesk Digital STEAM Workshop to explore the possibilities for using Autodesk's design programs in your classroom. You can explore the possibilities by selecting a design tool, a subject, a skill level, and the length of time you have to dedicate to a classroom project. When you select a project you will be taken to a page containing the steps you and your students need to take in order to complete your chosen project.

Autodesk offers a self-guided ecourse to help teachers get a better sense of how Autodesk's software can be used in math, science, and engineering lessons. The course is divided into three sections; Getting creative with Digital STEAM, Defining your student design challenge, and Enhancing teacher software skills.

The Oldest Living Things In the World

The Oldest Living Things In the World is a short video featuring images from Rachel Sussman's book, The Oldest Living Things In the World. The video features two dozen of Sussman's photographs along with her narration in which she explains the project. The video does a good job of highlighting the fragility of some of the world's oldest living things like lichen, coral, and microbial mats. The video is embedded below.

Oldest Living Things In the World from Deepspeed media on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
On Rachel Sussman's website you can see the photographs featured in the video above. The photographs include the names and locations of the subjects. After watching the video have your students look at the photographs again, use Google Maps to find the location of the subjects, and then investigate why the featured organisms have survived for so long and the threats facing their continued existence today.

H/T to The Adventure Blog.

Mendel, Peas, and Punnett Squares - A TED-Ed Lesson

Genetics and the passing of traits from parents to children is one of the topics in middle school  and high school science that I've often seen students take a personal interest in learning. In the following TED-Ed lesson How Mendel's Pea Plants Helped Us Understand Genetics, students receive a crash course in heredity, genotypes, and punnett squares through the story of Mendel and his study of peas. The video is embedded below. The full lesson with questions is available here.

5 Ways for Students to Showcase Their Best Work

As the end of the school year approaches you may be looking for a good way for students to organize and share examples of their best work of the school year. If your students have blogs or wikis that they have maintained all year then all they need to do is move their best examples to the front page. But if that is not the case for your students then take a look at these five services your students can use to organize and showcase examples of their best work.

Page O Rama is a free service for quickly creating stand alone webpages. Creating a webpage with Page O Rama is very simple. Just visit the Page O Rama homepage, select a web address, title your page, and start typing. Page O Rama offers a good selection of text editing tools including page breaks. If you want to, you can add images to your Page O Rama pages too. If you think your page is something that you're going to want to edit and update occasionally, you can enter your email address to create an administrative log-in.

Dropr is a free service for creating portfolios of your images, videos, and audio files. Within your Dropr account you can have multiple portfolio pages. If you wanted to have a page for images that you took in the fall and a page for images that you took in the spring, you can do that in Dropr. To create a Dropr portfolio start by signing up with a social media profile or with your email address. Then start your first project by uploading a cover image. Once you have started a project you can drag and drop media from your desktop to the Dropr website. Each project can include text in addition to the media that you upload to it. Each of your projects will have a different URL. You can work on your projects in private until you are ready to share them with the world. Your Dropr projects can be embedded into a blog as a slideshow.

Populr is a service for creating simple webpages to showcase an example or two of your best work. On Populr you can quickly create a stylish webpage with pictures, text, and document uploads. Populr offers a selection of templates that you can modify or you can build your page from scratch. All of the editing (aside from typing text) is done through a drag and drop interface.

About.me is a good tool for students to use to create a digital resume to share as part of a college admissions application or an internship application. About.me makes it easy to quickly create a one page site highlighting your strengths, things you've published online, and your preferred contact information. About.me offers support for embedding YouTube, Vimeo, and SoudCloud files into your page. This is a great option for students who are hoping to find employment or internships in the media production field. Students can prominently feature their best videos and or podcasts on their About.me pages.

Tackk is a free service that was featured last week on Free Technology for Teachers. By using Tackk you can create a page to announce an important event, to advertise an event, or to show off your best digital works. To create a Tackk page you do not need to register for an account, but unregistered Tackk pages expire after seven days. If you register for the service your Tackk pages stay up indefinitely. I registered for the service before creating my first Tackk page. Creating my Tackk was a simple matter of uploading an image then adding text in the customizable fields above and below my image. Tackk pages can accommodate videos, audio files, and maps, but I did not include those items in my first Tackk page.