Thursday, December 3, 2015

How to Refine a Google Search By Domain

One of the overlooked search strategies that I often share with students and their teachers is refining their search results by domain. Doing this is rather easy, but it's a strategy that is often overlooked by students and teachers. In the video below I provide a demonstration of how to refine Google search results according to domain.

Science Snacks - Fun, Hands-on Science Lessons

Science Snacks from Exploratorium is a great collection of hands-on science lessons for middle school and high school students. Science Snacks features activities that can be conducted with inexpensive and readily available materials. Each Science Snack comes with a materials list and step-by-step directions. Science Snacks are also accompanied by a written explanation of the science at work in the activity. Many Science Snacks, like Penny Battery, include video demonstrations and explanations.

You can search for Science Snacks alphabetically or you can search by subject. The subject search is the best way to search if you are looking for an activity to match a lesson plan or curriculum standard that you already have in mind.

Applications for Education
While originally designed for middle school and high school students, many of the Science Snacks could be altered to fit in an elementary school setting.

Many of the Science Snacks activities could be conducted by middle school and high school students at home with the help/ supervision of parents. Using the Science Snacks in that way could be a good alternative to typical homework assignments. Have students do one of the activities for homework and report their observations in Google Documents or as comments in Google Classroom.

Explore Machu Picchu in Google Maps and the Google Cultural Institute

Last month Google published Street View imagery of Petra. This week they added Street View imagery for another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Students can now explore Machu Picchu in Google Maps Street View and view Machu Picchu artifacts in the Google Cultural Institute. Highlights of the new imagery can be seen in the video embedded below.


Applications for Education
Machu Picchu artifacts found in the Google Cultural Institute can be shared directly to your Google Classroom. This can be a good way to direct students to specific artifacts related to Inca culture. I would share artifacts and ask students to respond in Google Classroom to discussion questions related to the artifacts.

Much like the Street View imagery of other UNESCO world heritage sites, the new Street View imagery of Machu Picchu allows students to virtually explore a place that can't be done by simply flipping through pictures in a book or on a website.

Source: The Official Google Maps Blog

Two Good Ways to Create Shared Media Folders

A few times a year I'm asked for recommendations on good ways to collect field trip pictures and video clips from students. In fact, I was just asked about it on Twitter on Monday morning. The method that I usually recommend is to create a shared Google Drive or a shared Box.com folder. Give students access to the folder and have them upload their favorite field trip pictures and videos. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create shared Google Drive and Box.com folders.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ToonSpaghetti Teaches Kids to Make Movies on iPads

ToonSpaghetti is a free iPad app designed to teach elementary school students how to develop movies. The app kind of takes a Mad Libs approach to movie making. In ToonSpaghetti students are shown a the beginning of a narrated story. Students have to add music and sound effects to the narrative to create their movies. Three music tracks and four sound effects are available to students at the beginning of the story. Each story is divided into three sections. In each section a new set of music tracks and sound effects are available to use.

Applications for Education
ToonSpaghetti teaches students about the roles that music and sound effects play in shaping a movie. As they add music and sound effects to their movies, ToonSpaghetti gives them feedback on whether or not their chosen music fits with the rising or falling action of the story.

ToonSpaghetti does not require students to register in order to use it. Movies that students create on the iPad app can only be shared by teachers and or parents.