Monday, April 18, 2016

10 Educational Resources About the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day in Massachusetts and Maine. The day commemorates the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, The Battles of Lexington and Concord. As a New Englander this is a good day to review some good resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution.

Revolutionary War Animated is a great place to find nice animated maps of troop movements throughout the Revolutionary War. Despite looking rather web 1.0, this resource is one that I continue to return to because it does a great job of illustrating the movement of battles.

The National Archives Digital Vaults has a Revolutionary War pathway challenge for students. In the challenge students have to connect primary sources around the topic of Revolutionary War.

America, A Narrative History is a text published by WW Norton. As a free supplement to the book, Norton has published ten Google Earth tours. These tours include major themes and events in US History. The list includes the Revolutionary War, the path to the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, Lewis & Clark's expedition, the Indian Removal Act, Pre-Columbian North America, the national parks system, and the 20th Century power grid. All of the tours include multiple images and references. Some of the tours also have "tour questions" for students to answer.

Teaching American History has a series of interactive lessons about the American Revolution that are suitable for middle school and elementary school use. The lessons are divided into three chronological sections; 1775-1778, 1778-1781, and Treaty of Paris 1783. All of the lessons in the first two sections ask students to locate a place on a map. Students then answer a question about that place. After answering the question students are given a short text lesson. The lessons appear in chronological order. In the section on the Treaty of Paris students move through a series of placemarks on a map to learn about the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Pictures of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

Liberty, The American Revolution is a feature on PBS.org. There are a couple of resources in this feature that are worth noting. First, and probably the most useful, is The Chronicle of RevolutionThe Chronicle of Revolution provides a timeline of events that contributed to the start of the American Revolution. Students can read newspaper accounts as they go through the chronicles. Within each newspaper account there are links to further reading about important people and places mentioned in the articles. The second item of interest in Liberty, The American Revolution is the Road to Revolution game. The game isn't really a game, it's more like a quiz with some graphics added to it. The game is designed to quiz students on the information in The Chronicle of Revolution.

The Revolution: Interactive Guide is a free iPad app about the American Revolution. The video embedded below provides a detailed overview of the app. Here are a few of the highlights of the app:
Narration of text.
Quizzes after each section.
Interactive images.
Flashcards
Comparisons to other revolutions.

Mission U.S. offers an interactive journey through Boston in 1770 (five years before the Battles of Lexington and Concord) through the perspective of a 14 year old boy who has to choose sides. The game can be played entirely online or downloaded for play on your PC or Mac (you do need an Internet connection to save a game in progress).

Crash Course has a ten part series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.



Keith Hughes offers Colonialism for Dummies as part of his series on U.S. History for Dummies.

Collaborative Audio Creation with SoundTrap

EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site, has launched a new FREE video series called #ETTchat. Each week, one of their instructors posts a new video with ideas using technology in the service of learning. 


Collaborative Audio Creation with SoundTrap

SoundTrap allows teachers and students to collaboratively create audio from any device. In the video below, Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec) showcases how this tool can allow students to collaborate, provide audio feedback, and share their learning.


Learn more about SoundTrap and other apps for creating audio on the EdTechTeacher web site.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

100 Google Apps Tutorial Videos

Often when I'm stuck on a technical problem all I need to get myself over the hurdle is just a quick tip. That's why when I started making ed tech tutorial videos I made a conscious effort to keep them short and sweet. My YouTube channel now has more than 400 tutorial videos including 100 Google Apps tutorial videos organized into a playlist for you.

The topics covered in my Google Apps tutorials video playlist include features within Google Maps, Blogger, Google Sites, Google Classroom, Google Forms, Gmail, domain admin, Google Sheets, and Google Docs. My entire Google Tools Tutorials playlist is embedded below.


Join one of my online classes or come to the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp to receive direct instruction on how to use Google Apps in your school. 


16 Educational Resources for Earth Day 2016

Earth Day 2016 is on Friday. As I've done in the past, I've compiled a list of resources for teaching about Earth Day and environmental science in general.

As was featured yesterday, Discovery Education offers a nice set of resources for teaching about the world's coral reefs and biodiversity of the oceans. Expedition Earth Day is a free set of resources for teaching students about the world's coral reefs. A 30 minute is the central aspect around which the lessons are designed. Through Expedition Earth Day students can learn about the biodiversity of oceans, ocean biodiversity preservation efforts, and threats to fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Students will also learn about the differences between coral reefs in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

EcoKids is a Canadian organization that provides free resources for teaching and learning about topics in environmental science. The resources designed for teachers require registration, but the resources for students can be accessed without registration. The games and activities section for kids offers dozens of online games across eight categories. Within each of the eight categories the games and activities are again categorized according to age appropriateness. The eight games and activities categories are: wildlife, climate change, energy, water, waste, land use, the North, and First Nations & Inuit.

 How Much Have We Polluted? is an interactive heat map that displays the per capita and yearly total of CO2 emissions for individual countries. The map contains data dating back to 1960. Move the time slider to the heat map change. You can use the map to compare the emissions of two countries year-by-year.

Storyboard That's Earth Day Activities page offers eleven lesson plan ideas appropriate for elementary school and middle school classrooms. Some of the featured plans on Storyboard That's Earth Day Activity page include creating "cool Earth facts" storyboards, creating comics about how to help the Earth, and creating public service announcements about pollution and pollution prevention.

NOAA View is a project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On NOAA View you can explore visualizations of data sets in the categories of Ocean, Land, Atmosphere, Cryosphere, and Climate. Each category has multiple subsets of data from which to choose. The data sets can be displayed in weekly, monthly, and yearly units. A basic explanation of each data set is available.

Glacier Works is a non-profit organization studying the shrinking glaciers of the Himalaya and the impact of glacier melt on the people of the region. One of the neat features of the Glacier Works website is the panoramic before and after images. The panoramas show images of the glaciers from the 1920's side-by-side with recent images. You can quickly compare the two views by sliding your cursor across the panoramas.

Dangers of Fracking is a beautifully designed site that tells the story of the dangers of fracking. As you scroll down the page, you learn more about the fracking process. The story starts out with a definition of fracking before moving to explaining the raw materials that have to be trucked to the fracking site. After the raw materials arrive the story takes us underground to frack and the dangers associated with the process.

ARMAP is a comprehensive resource of interactive, online maps of Arctic research. ARMAP's resources include files for use in Google Earth as well as ArcGIS explorer. You can also access 2D maps directly on the ARMAP website. ARMAP provides map layers and placemarks about a wide range of topics related to Arctic research. Before opening the general ARMAP map, visit the map gallery for a primer on the type of resources that can found on ARMAP. You should also check out the links section of ARMAP to visit the sources of much of the ARMAP content.

The Earth Day Network is a good place to start your search for Earth Day information. The Earth Day Network offers nine lesson plans about preserving the environment. This year the Earth Day Network is looking for people to share stories of climate change by uploading pictures that represent "the faces of climate change."

National Geographic has some other great resources for learning about environmental science and Earth  Day. On the National Geographic website students can learn about the Green House Effect through an interactive lesson. After learning about global warming in the Green House Effect interactive lesson, students can learn about alternative energy through the Wind Power interactive lesson.

Breathing Earth is an interactive map demonstrating CO2 emissions, birth rates, and death rates globally and by individual countries. From the moment that you first visit Breathing Earth it starts counting the number of births occurring worldwide. Placing your cursor over any country on the map reveals information about birthrate, death rate, and rate of CO2 emissions. One of the additional resources linked to Breathing Earth is an ecological footprint calculator. Using this calculator students can calculate their personal footprints, take quizzes, and learn about the ecological footprints of various businesses.

Google offers tours in its Explore Climate Change series. The tours explore the actions of organizations to prevent or adapt to climate change in different parts of the world. These tours include the World Wildlife Foundation's efforts in the peatland swamps of Borneo, Greenpeace's actions to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, and Conservation International's efforts to reduce deforestation in Madagascar. The tours can be viewed three ways, in Google Earth, in the Google Browser plug-in, or through YouTube.

ArkGIS is a customizable map developed by the World Wildlife Fund for the purpose of visualizing historical data about sea ice, marine life, and oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. To create custom visualizations of data layers on the ArkGIS map simply select a data category then select data layers to display. For example, I chose the "marine mammals" category then selected the "beluga whales" and "walrus" to view their distributions.

The BBC News offers this short overview of the history of the Earth's climate changes. The two and a half minute animation does a nice job of combining graphs and images along with narration to explain three major eras of the Earth's climate.

My Garbology, produced by Nature Bridge, is an interactive game that teaches students about sorting garbage for recycling, reusing, and composting. Students sort garbage into four bins according to where they think each piece of garbage should go. When a piece of garbage is sorted correctly a series of short animations explains why it should be there.  For example, a banana peel should be sorted into the compost bin. When the banana peel is placed into the compost bin students watch and hear a series of animations explaining how composting works.

The Great Energy Challenge is a National Geographic feature that offers some nice interactive posters for evaluating personal and global energy consumption. Global Electricity Outlook is an interactive display of electricity consumption across the globe. You can view the global picture or click on the map to view regional consumption. The display shows the means of electricity production globally and regionally. To see how shifting production sources would impact the world or a region use the sliders below the map. The Personal Energy Meter is a tool for evaluating your personal carbon footprint. The meter asks for your location then asks a series of questions about your energy consumption. The result compares you to the average person in your region. I was below average in my footprint until I entered the number of flights I take every year. Wow! Flying leaves a huge carbon footprint.

Disclosure: Storyboard That and Discovery Education are advertisers on this blog. 

A Nice Little Update to the Plickers iOS App

Plickers is my favorite student response tool for classrooms in which not every student has his or her own tablet or laptop. Plickers makes it easy to semi-anonymously gather feedback from students. Students simply hold up a card with a QR code to vote and you scan the cards with your phone or tablet. You can scan the whole room in one swoop and have results instantly appear on your screen.

I've used the Plickers iOS app on my iPad for years now even though it wasn't optimized for iPad. Last week Plickers updated to be optimized for iPad. This is not a major update, but it is convenient for teachers who use Plickers on their iPads.