Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Educational Resources from the National Snow and Ice Data Center

There is at least 18" of fresh snow in my yard this evening so it feels like a good time to tell you about some educational resources from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder offers some good educational resources related to snow, ice, and environmental science. NSIDC's education center offers sections dedicated to educating students about glaciers, sea ice, snow, and arctic climatology. Most of the resources in the education center are text-based sequences of articles.

Outside of the education center NSIDC offers a large gallery of Google Earth files that you can use to learn about snow, ice, and climate change around the world. NSIDC offers an image gallery containing images captured from research expeditions around the world as well as satellite imagery. Some of the images from the expeditions are simply amazing.

Applications for EducationThe National Snow and Ice Data Center could be a good resource for students of environmental science. The education center is a good primer on snow, ice, and glaciers, but the real value for me lies in the Google Earth files gallery. Contained in the Google Earth files gallery are tours and time lapse imagery that puts the information found on NSIDC into a visual and geographic context that is easy to understand.

Crowd-sourced Advice About Twitter for Teachers

This evening as part of my webinar about blogs and social media for teachers I gave a short demonstration of the difference between an "@" message and a direct message. As a part of that demo I posted and "@" message to Steven Anderson in which I asked him to share a tip for teachers new to using Twitter. Steven replied quickly as did a few other folks who offered some good tips. I've embedded those Tweets below.





Monday, January 26, 2015

What Is the Jet Stream? - An Animation and Explanation

I'm about to board my flight home from the BETT Show in London. The flight home is going to be nearly two hours longer than the flight to London. That's the effect of the jet stream on air travel. The Department of Earth & Climate Studies at San Francisco State University offers a tool that anyone can use to create a simple animation of the jet stream based on current conditions. Prior to having students look at the animation, you might want to have them view this DNews video about the jet stream.


Consider using Zaption to build a longer lesson about wind and the jet stream. Zaption lessons are called "tours." A tour is a combination of videos, images, and text arranged into a sequence. To add a video to a tour you can search and select one within Zaption. Zaption pulls videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After choosing your video, start watching it then pause it when you want to add a question. You can add questions in the form of multiple choice, open response, or check box response. When students watch the video they will see your questions appear in the context in which you set them.

Protect Student Privacy by Using Skitch

In yesterday's post about creating digital records of physical items I mentioned using Skitch to take pictures and annotate them. One of the things about Skitch that I failed to mention in that post is that along with drawing and typing on a picture you can crop and blur items in a picture.

You can use the Skitch mobile apps (Android and iOS) and the Skitch desktop apps (Mac and Windows) to crop any image that you have saved. Likewise all four versions of the app have an option to blur items in a picture. To blur something simply select the blurring tool and start scribbling on the item you want to blur out. Both the cropping and blurring tools are useful when you have a picture of a classroom activity that you want to share without sharing faces of your students. The blurring tool is also useful when you want to share exemplars of students' work without revealing the names of the students who created the work.

NASA Is On SoundCloud - Listen to Audio from Missions and More

Whether you have an interest in NASA from a scientific standpoint or a cultural standpoint, NASA's SoundCloud channel has something for you. On NASA's SoundCloud channel you will find audio from Apollo, Mercury, and Discovery missions. You'll also find audio of rocket sounds and space sounds. The set of recordings of most interest to me is the set of three audio recordings of President Kennedy which includes his famous "We Choose the Moon" speech.


Applications for Education
NASA's SoundCloud channel could be a good place to find audio to support lessons on the development and evolution of the space program. The recordings are in the public domain. You and your students can download the recordings to re-use in video productions about space. I might have students use the Kennedy recordings in a video project about American culture and the Cold War in the 1960's.

If you cannot access SoundCloud in your school, most of the recordings are also available on the NASA Sounds website.

H/T to Open Culture.