Monday, October 20, 2014

Explore UNDP Development Data With This Interactive Map

The UN Stat Planet Map allows you to create useful mapped displays of UN development indicators data. There are ten data categories from which you can choose. Within each category there are further refinements possible. You can customize the map to present sharper contrasts between the data indicators, change the indicator symbols, and alter the map legend. To visual the change in data over time, use the time slider at the bottom of the map. Your maps and the data that they represent can be downloaded as PNG and JPEG files for printing.

Applications for Education
Simply looking at data spreadsheets or graphs reveal some good development data to students. But for better visual comparisons tied to locations, the UN Stat Planet Map is useful.

Thinglink + Chemistry = Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

ThingLink is one of my favorite tools for playing with media which is why I've written more than a dozen posts about it in the last two years. ThingLink allows you to create interactive images by adding links, text, videos, and audio recordings to any static image that you own (click here for a how-to video). ThingLink's image remix option allows you to upload an image and have others re-use it to create their own interactive images.

One way to use ThingLink in a science class is to have students create interactive periodic tables. You could have each student create his or her own periodic table or you could assign each student one element to report on in a shared image of the periodic table. Students could add to the table short videos about each element. You could also have students create Google Documents about each element then publish those documents to the web to link them to a periodic table image in ThingLink. Take a look at some of these periodic table images used in ThingLink.

Thinglink can be used by students who are under the age of 13 and or do not have email addresses. To enable your students who are under 13 and or do not have email addresses you should register as a teacher on Thinglink Edu. As registered teacher on Thinglink Edu you can create and manage student accounts. In the screenshots in the slides below will walk you through the process of creating Thinglink accounts for your students.

Organize Your Thoughts With Google Keep

Google Keep is an interesting digital sticky note service that is available as a website, as a Chrome app, and as an Android app. On Google Keep you can create sticky notes to use simple text notes, as bookmarks, or as reminders with dates and times. You can color code your notes and arrange them by dragging and dropping them into any order you like. And like most things in your Google Account all of the notes in your Google Keep account will sync across all of your devices.

Applications for Education
Today, I spent the day at a workshop run by Chris Brogan. The workshop wasn't about technology, but I did pick up a neat idea about Google Keep. Chris was using Google Keep for his outline of talking points. Until today, I hadn't thought about Google Keep in this way. Using the color-coding aspect of notes in Google Keep could be a nice way for students to construct an outline for a research paper or presentation.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Create a Word Cloud Within Your Google Documents

Once upon a time there was a Google Spreadsheets script that would create word clouds for you. When the new (current) version of Google Spreadsheets was launched that script stopped working. This morning I found a replacement for that old script.

When you have a Google Document open, open the Add-ons menu and search for "tag cloud generator." The Tag Cloud Generator Add-on will create a word cloud in the right-hand margin of any of your Google Documents that contain more than one hundred words.

Applications for Education
Word clouds can help students analyze documents written by others as well as documents of their own creation. By copying the text of a document into a word cloud generator your students can quickly see the words that appear most frequently in that document. Word clouds can also be used to help students see which words that they have frequently used in their own works. Have your students create word clouds of their work during the revision process of writing a story or essay. The word cloud will quickly show students which words they have used the most. Then ask them to think about synonyms for the words that they have used most often in their writings.

The Pros and Cons of Five Popular Infographic Creation Tools

Last year Randy Krum, the author of Cool Infographics, was kind enough to share some advice for teachers who are thinking about having students design infographics. That advice was followed by my list of seven important take-aways from his book. Last week Randy published a new piece that teachers will find helpful when planning an infographic creation activity for students.

In 5 Great Online Tools for Creating Infographics Randy Krum goes beyond just posting a list. He breaks-down the pros and cons of five popular tools and which tools are best for reaching different objectives. He gives glowing marks to Piktochart for its ease of use and helpful tutorials.

One thing that I'll add to Randy's list is Canva's new iPad app. If your students' primary devices are iPads, check out the Canva iPad app.

Applications for Education
Creating an infographic can be a good way to get students to dive into data analysis. While an infographic doesn't replace the need for creating a thorough presentation or paper, a well-crafted infographic can be an excellent addition to a student's research presentation.