Wednesday, January 21, 2015

300,000 Facebook Fans! Wowza!

I checked in on the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page this morning and saw that it has exceeded 300,000 likes for the first time. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to check the page and hit the Like button. I never thought that 300,000 people would like anything that I do. After 7+ years of writing this blog I continue to be amazed that a guy with a laptop in a very small town in Maine can reach so many people. Thank you!

If you haven't seen the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page it is a place where I post what I think are the best posts from this blog. Not all of the posts on the blog appear on the Facebook page. On the Facebook page I occasionally publish older posts from this blog that are still useful.

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.

Science
- 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

Math
- 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