Monday, August 8, 2016

The Physics of Olympic Sports

The 2016 Olympics got underway over the weekend. I was thrilled to see the U.S. men win a second consecutive silver medal in archery on Saturday afternoon. Speaking of archery, CK-12 has a great set of physics simulations about archery and eleven other Olympic sports. The simulations are available to view in your web browser or in the free CK-12 Android and iOS apps.

Applications for Education
As the image of the archery simulation illustrates, each of the Olympic sports simulations provide students with an opportunity to test the physics concepts used in each sport. When students select one of the sports in CK-12's list of simulations they can read about and or watch the concepts in action before using the simulators to apply the concepts.

How to Create Your Own Custom Search Engine

This morning someone sent me an email asking how I had created the search on my alternatives to YouTube page. The answer is that I used Google's custom search engine tool to specify pages that I wanted indexed in my search engine. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a search engine.


Slides of the process are embedded below.


Applications for Education
Creating your own search engine can be a good way to help students limit the scope of their searches. For example, when you're teaching younger students about search strategies you might want to have them use a search engine that only indexes a few dozen websites so that you can have some assurance that they won't be landing on pages of questionable content.

Last week I had a university professor tell me that he planned to use a custom search engine so that his students could search an index of readings that he had bookmarked over the years.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Develop Mobile Language Lessons With QR Voice

QR Voice is a free tool that allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message. To create your message and QR code you can record a voice message by clicking the microphone icon on QR Voice or you can type in your message. Either way you're limited to 100 characters. QR Voice will play back in your choice of forty languages.

Applications for Education
Teachers could use QR Voice to create QR codes that they then print and attach to objects in their classrooms or schools. Then have students try to identify those objects in the language that they're trying to learn. To check their answers students can scan the QR code and hear the correct answer on their phones or tablets.

PAT - Free, Open Source, Portable Atlas

PAT is a free collection of maps developed by Ian Macky. The collection includes maps of every country in the world.The collection also includes maps of U.S. states, maps of Canadian provinces, Australian states, and regional maps. You can download any and all of these detailed maps for free.

Applications for Education
PAT is an excellent resource for geography and history teachers in need of some free, printable maps to use in their classrooms.

Exploring Marine Science in Google Earth

Google Earth is a great tool for exploring many aspects of geography. One of the features of Google Earth that seems to be frequently overlooked is the ocean imagery. Using Google Earth tours can be a good way for students to learn about marine life and habitats. The following organizations host excellent Google Earth files for exploring and learning about marine life.

To get started take a look at a look at this list of ocean tours featured on the Google Earth showcase. Some of these tours will also work in the Google Earth browser plug-in. Learn about protected whale areas in the tour below.



The Encyclopedia of Life offers five Google Earth tours of interest to teachers and students. One that I particularly like is the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Tour. The tour of the Artic Tern migration patterns is featured in the video below.


EOL Migration Google Earth Tour Video - The Arctic Tern from Encyclopedia of Life on Vimeo.

The Encyclopedia of Life also hosts an interesting interactive quiz using Google Earth. The Encyclopedia of Life's Google Earth Species Quiz (opens KMZ) presents players with images of an animal and the animal's name scientific name. Players then have to pick the place that the animal is from. If the correct answer is chosen, the player is zoomed to the correct location on the map.

NOAA offers dozens of Google Earth files and demos related to weather and marine life. You can find the list here.