Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Some of My Favorite Resources for Introducing Google Earth & Maps Beyond Social Studies

Google Earth and Google Maps has always been a natural fit in social studies classrooms. But Google Earth and Maps can also be powerful tools in other content areas. The resources below represent some of my favorite resources for introducing Google Earth and Maps in areas outside of social studies.

- Climate Change, Flooding, Volcanoes
- Google Earth Outreach
- Shark Tracking
- Wildlife Tracking
- U.S. Watersheds (complete directions for working with watersheds)

English/ Language Arts
- Google Lit Trips
- Projects by subject

- Maths Maps
- Real World Math
- Google Earth Math Walks

Get Free eCopies of Class Books on Forgotten Books

There are plenty of good places to find free ebooks online, here's another worth taking a look at. Forgotten Books republishes thousands of classic works that are in the public domain. Forgotten Books offers all of their titles as free PDF downloads and provides links to ePub versions of the titles. If you desire a higher quality resolution for your PDFs, Forgotten Books offers those to their paying members.

Applications for Education
When my students and I read Red Badge of Courage together I was one copy short of what I needed so I jumped on Google Books and found a copy that I could print chapter-by-chapter to use in my classroom. I used Google Books to find a copy of that public domain work, but I could have just as easily used Forgotten Books to get an ecopy of the Red Badge of Courage.

Students Can Build and Launch Virtual Rockets on Rocket Science 101 from NASA

Rocket Science 101 is a free iPad app offered by NASA designed to help students understand how rockets work. The app also helps students understand the differences between the four types of rockets most frequently used by NASA. In Rocket Science 101 students can build all four rockets in a jigsaw-like activity then virtually launch their rockets. When the rockets are launched students see the timing of each stage of the launch from surface to orbit.

After playing with the four types of rockets students can try their hands at matching rockets to real NASA missions. In the challenges students read about a NASA mission then have to select the rocket that can carry the payload and travel the distance required to complete the mission.

Applications for Education
Rocket Science 101 could be a good app for students in grades five through eight to use to begin to understand some basic physics concepts associated with space exploration.

Spend Four Weeks in Washington D.C. As A C-SPAN Fellow

As in past summers, in 2015 C-SPAN will bring a select group of middle school and high school social studies teachers to Washington, D.C. as C-SPAN Fellows. The C-SPAN Teacher Fellowship Program brings together teachers and media specialists for four weeks in Washington, D.C. every summer. During the four week program teachers work together to develop new teaching materials. Teachers selected for the program will receive an award valued at $7,000 (including lodging and travel costs). You can learn more and find the application here. Applications are due by February 20, 2015.

To be eligible for selection participants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • a member of C-SPAN Classroom 
  • a state certified middle or high school teacher of U.S. History, Civics, or Government, or related curriculum; 
  • or, a state certified middle or high school Media Specialist or Technology Coordinator 
  • highly knowledgeable about C-SPAN’s programming 
  • experienced with successfully integrating C-SPAN’s programming and resources into social studies curriculum

WeLearnedIt to Give Away School-wide Licenses

Last fall Adam Bellow and the eduClipper team released a new digital portfolio creation platform called WeLearnedIt. Through the WeLearnedIt iPad app you and your students can create digital portfolios that contain files from Google Drive, Dropbox, links from the web, images and videos captured with your iPad, and whiteboard videos created within the WeLearnedIt app.

Individual teachers and students have always been able to use WeLearnedIt for free. The school-wide license for WeLearnedIt was not free. The school-wide implementation of WeLearnedIt allows teachers and administrators to share assessment data. Today, Adam Bellow announced that the school-wide license will be free from now through June 2016 to any school school whose district has taken the Future Ready Pledge.

Applications for Education
The best aspects of WeLearnedIt are found in the feedback and sharing tools. Teachers can assign grades to elements of students’ digital portfolios. Grading is not limited to assigning scores. Teachers can give written feedback on each submission. Rubrics for assignments are available through the app too.

Disclosure: I have a small advisory and equity interest in eduClipper.

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