Sunday, May 14, 2017

DocsTeach Adds New Analysis Activities for Students

DocsTeach is a great resource for teachers of U.S. History. DocsTeach, produced by the National Archives Foundation, provides teachers with a free platform on which they can create online history lessons based on images, documents, audio recording, video recordings, and maps. The lessons that teachers create can be shared with their students through a free DocsTeach online classroom environment.

DocsTeach recently added a new document analysis template for teachers to use to create activities for their students. The document analysis template has teachers choose a document or portion of a document for students to analyze. Teachers can then choose from a menu of pre-made document analysis questions for their students to answer while reviewing a document. Teachers can also create their own questions to add to the analysis activity. After completing the activity set-up it is ready to be shared with students. When students complete the activity online, the teacher can view all of the responses online.

DocsTeach will let you publish your activities to be shared with other teachers. Activities that you publish will appear in the public catalog of activities. That catalog can be searched according to topic, era, activity type, skill, and grade level.

Applications for Education
DocsTeach's new document analysis activity template could provide you with a great way to guide students through difficult primary source documents. I've always found that even the best readers in my classroom need some help when it comes to analyzing primary sources that are more than 100 years old.

DocsTeach now offers thirteen activity templates for teachers to use in building lessons based on the thousands of artifacts available through the DocsTeach website.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

7 Good Resources for Learning About Mount Everest

Next week many mountaineers will be making their summit attempts on Mount Everest. As long-time readers of this blog may recall, one of my bucket list items is seeing Mount Everest in person. Until then I have to entertain myself with books, videos, and imagery of the mountain. Here are some of the resources that I like to consult when teaching students about Mount Everest and the area surrounding it.

Why is Mount Everest so Tall? is a TED-Ed lesson in which students learn why the peak of Everest is so high, why other mountains are longer from base to summit, and how mountains in general are formed. Through the lesson students can also learn why the heights of mountains change and why Everest may not be the tallest mountain forever.



Through Google's Street View imagery of Mount Everest Basecamp (south side) students can zoom and pan around the foothills of Mount Everest. Students viewing that imagery for the first time might be surprised at how different the view is compared the to the typical pictures of Everest. After viewing the imagery students can click forward to see Street View imagery of other places in the region.

Most educational resources give a very western perspective on Mount Everest. There's another side of Everest and that is the perspective of the Sherpa people who are native to the area and have climbed Everest more than any other group. Kraig Becker at The Adventure Blog shared a great BBC documentary about Sherpas who work with westerners on the mountain. You can watch the video below. Before showing the video to your students, you may want to remind them that Sherpa is an ethnic group, not a job title.

Panoramas.dk, hosts dozens of other interactive panoramas from around the world. Included in that list is a 360 degree interactive panoramic image taken from the peak of Mt. Everest. Using that panoramic image students can see what mountaineers see when they stand on the peak of Mt. Everest. The image includes views of the famous Khumbu valley as well as Everest's neighboring peaks Lhotse, Changtse, Makalu, and Nupste.

Snow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest by Ed Webster (a fellow Mainer) is one of the best books ever written about Mount Everest. If you enjoy good adventure stories and or stories about overcoming personal struggles, I think you will enjoy Webster's book. For my money, and I own two copies of it, it does a far better job of explaining how it feels to be on Mount Everest than any of the two dozen or so books that I've read about Mount Everest and the Himalaya.

Scaling Everest is an infographic that goes beyond the usual scale of Everest comparisons to buildings and jet flight paths. In the infographic you will find audio of three Everest climbers talking about the approach to Everest basecamp and the nuances of the climb itself. The infographic also provides some interesting facts about plants and animals in the region.

Mount Everest Base Camp to Summit in 3D is a Google Earth tour that takes viewers up the South Col route to the summit of Everest. A video of the tour is embedded below.

The Week in Review - Sunshine!

Good evening from Maine where we finally had a sunny day after what has felt like weeks of clouds and rain. As I shared on my Instagram account during the week, I still rode my bike and walked my dogs in the rain, but it's always better do those things in the sunshine. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you got some time outside too. Whether it's raining, snowing, or the sun is shining life is always better when you can get some time outside.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers reading this. I hope your children treat you extra well this weekend. Hi mom!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 7 Ways to Use Google Keep in Your Classroom
2. 5 Ways to Show YouTube Videos Without Related Content
3. 10 Ways to Use Google Earth in Your Classroom
4. How to Create a Flowchart on Padlet
5. Screencast-o-Matic Now Offers Background Music
6. Cite It In - A Free Tool for Creating Reference Citations
7. Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp & BYOD Camp Discounts Extended


Looking for a keynote or workshop? Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

I am currently offering five online courses:

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Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Yesterday, I was asked about the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. I made the following video and short slideshow to further explain the differences between the two.




Click here to learn more about the AR app that I mentioned in the video.

Try YouTube Live for Review Sessions - Breakfast With Tom Richey

This morning I opened YouTube to see a notification from my friend Tom Richey that he was going live with a review session for AP European History students. When I joined in there were nearly 2,400 viewers and at one point there were over 2,500 viewers. Tom was talking to students in his own classroom and broadcasting the review for anyone who wanted to watch. A bunch of classrooms around the U.S. were watching.

What Tom was doing is something that many other teachers could do for a small or large audience. If you're hosting a review session for students during school hours or after school hours, streaming it on YouTube Live will let the students that can't be in the room with you, follow along and ask questions too.

Broadcasting on YouTube can be done from your Android phone or iPhone. You can also broadcast from your laptop, but the set-up is a little more difficult than it is on a phone. Here are the directions for broadcasting YouTube Live from your laptop.