Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CGP Grey Explains the Relationship Between China, Hong Kong, and Macau

This week CGP Grey released a new video about another tricky topic in political geography, the relationship between China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The four minute video covers the origins of the political separation of Hong Kong and Macau from China (spoiler alert! it's imperialism) and current relationship between China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The driving question behind the video is, are Hong Kong and Macau countries? Watch the video to find out.

Applications for Education
Like other videos from CGP Grey, this video is a fast-paced introduction to the topic. It won't give your students all of the answers, but it could definitely spark questions from your students that you can then have them investigate as part of a larger lesson.

Spacehopper - Challenge Students With Geography Puzzles Based on Street View

Spacehopper is a new geography game that I recently tried on the recommendations of Keir Clarke and Larry Ferlazzo. Spacehopper features geography questions that are based on Google Maps Street View imagery. Spacehopper shows you a Street View image and you have to guess where in the world the image was captured. You can click the clue button to have the country identified before making a guess. After three incorrect guesses the correct answer will be revealed to you. You can play Spacehopper on a global level or you can specify that you only want to see images from a particular continent.

Applications for Education
Playing Spacehopper could be a good way to get students to focus on thinking about all of the information available to them in an image. To make accurate guesses on Spacehopper, students will need to account for clues that could help them identify the pictured locations.  For example, in the image above students can see that it was taken at a beach, there is a sign that they can read, and if they clicked the clue button they would see that it was taken somewhere in the United Kingdom.

As I wrote about Geoguessr last month, while investigating the imagery in Spacehopper your students may become curious about the things they’re seeing. Then when they finally guess and discover the correct answers they may become even more curious about what they’re seeing. I recently saw this happen with a group of adults to whom I had just introduced Geoguessr. They quickly started investigating the Street View imagery in detail and asking questions like “what is the language on that billboard?”

Studygeek - A Math Glossary and a Collection of Free Math Tutorials

Studygeek is a free service offering hundreds of online mathematics tutorials. The site features a combination of written tutorials and video tutorials sourced from the web. Like similar sites, Studygeek organizes lessons according to subject and topic. For example, click on the algebra section to reveal all of the topics for which Studygeek offers tutorials.

Applications for Education
Studygeek was created for high school and undergraduate mathematics students. Those students in need of a quick refresher or a little help when they get stuck on their homework could find Studygeek to be a helpful resource. Students who don't need full tutorials may find that Studygeek's mathematics glossary provides enough help to get them on the right track to solving a problem.

Clipix - Create Portfolios of Files and Bookmarks

When we look for tools to create collections of files and bookmarks there is certainly not a shortage of options. Clipix is one such tool that I recently tried. Clipix will remind you of Pinterest or eduClipper in that you can "clip" images, videos, and links to save on digital clipboards. Clipix also supports uploading files from your computer to your Clipix clipboards. Each of the clipboards that you create in your Clipix account can be kept private or made public. There is also a privately shared option that can be used for collaborating on clipboard creation. Learn more about Clipix in the video below.

Clipix's basic functions are very similar to other services in the same market. The user interface on Clipix feels less cluttered to me than that of some of its competitors. The option to customize your clipboard background is a nice touch too.

Clipix offers Android and iOS apps that will synchronize with your online Clipix account.

Applications for Education
Clipix could be a good option for high school and college students who are looking for a tool to help them organize their research by course. Students could create a different clipboard for each course that they are taking. Each clipboard could be used to save bookmarks while doing research in each course or the clipboards could be used to simply organize projects that they have completed in each course.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

5 Tools That Help Students Organize Research and Create Bibliographies

Organizing and writing a bibliography can feel like the most tedious part of writing a research paper. The following five tools can help students organize and create their bibliographies.

One of the most useful new Add-ons for Google Documents is the EasyBib Bibliography Creator. The EasyBib Bibliography Creator makes it easy to properly cite resources and format a bibliography in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Click here for directions for the process of using this add-on.

Scrible is a free service that offers a nice set of tools for highlighting, annotating, and bookmarking webpages. Scrible offers browser bookmarklets for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. With the Scrible bookmarklet installed, anytime you're on a page just click the bookmarklet to launch a menu of bookmarking tools. The Scrible tool set includes highlighters, sticky notes, and font change tools. When you annotate and bookmark a page in Scrible it is saved as it appeared to you when you were done altering it. And as you would expect from a web-based bookmarking tool, you can share your bookmarked pages with others. Students can get a free Scrible account that has double the storage capacity of the standard free account. Scrible recently added an options for formatting bibliographies as you bookmark. Scrible also has a new feature that allows you to compile your article clippings into one package.

Cite This For Me is a tool designed to help students correctly format reference lists or citation pages. To create a reference list using Cite This For Me students simply need to fill in the required information in each box, sort them alphabetically, and download the formatted reference page. Cite This For Me provides formatting not only printed materials and websites, but also for things like podcasts, online videos, and even email correspondence.

refDot is a Google Chrome extension that could be very helpful for keeping track of and formatting references for use in bibliographies. Whenever you're viewing a website, an online book, an online journal, or a news article just click the refDot icon in your browser to open a window into which you enter all of information you need for a bibliography. For example if you were viewing a blog post on Free Technology for Teachers that you wanted to reference in a bibliography, click on refDot and the pop-up box will prompt you to enter the date of access, url, title, and year.

Citelighter is a helpful tool for anyone trying to organize their online and or offline research findings. At its core Citelighter is a browser extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) that enables you to select sections of webpages and save them along with the important information needed to create an APA, MLA, or Chicago style bibliography. If you have pieces of text from books and journals that you want to include in your list of citations, you can add those in Citelighter too. Citelighter also has a community aspect that allows you to share your citations and search those of others. The citations in the public gallery are called "Knowledge Cards." Knowledge Cards are the pieces of quoted text that others have saved and tagged with a subject area. The Knowledge Cards you find in the public gallery can be added to the project lists in your personal Citelighter account.