Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Virtual Amusement Park About Molecules

The NanoSpace Molecularium is a nice web resource produced by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The purpose of the site is to provide elementary school and middle school students with an introduction to the properties of atoms and molecules. The NanoSpace Molecularium is a virtual amusement park that students can click through to find videos, games, and other short lessons about atoms and molecules.

Students enter the NanoSpace Molecularium through the "Hall of Atoms & Molecules." From there students can choose which of the four parts of the amusement park they want to explore first. The four sections that students can explore are DNA Land, H20 Park, Sizes of Molecules, and Molecular Materials. One of the videos from the Materials section is embedded below.


Applications for Education
The NanoSpace Molecularium can be used by students with or without creating an account on the site. The benefit of creating an account is that students can keep track of where they left off during their previous visit.

Historical Patterns Animated

Some of my favorite social studies lesson plans included having students use maps to analyze data and identify patterns in history. Over the years I've done this with paper maps and digital maps. One neat digital map source is Mapping History which is produced by the University of Oregon that features animated maps illustrating problems, patterns, and events throughout history. Mapping History is essentially a digital atlas of American, European, Latin American, and African history. Each section is divided into modules based on historical themes and eras.

Applications for Education
Mapping History is a resource that I have bookmarked for reference the next time that I need a thematic map to illustrate a pattern in history. I found that some of the maps will also be useful as question prompts. For example, this map prompts students to evaluate the extent to which the expansion of slavery in the U.S. was connected to the demand for cotton.

Ignite Teaching is Shutting Down Next Week

Ignite Teaching is a free mobile app and web app that students can use to collaborate on the development of multimedia projects. It became fairly popular a couple of years ago, but apparently not popular enough as it is shutting down next week. In an email that the company sent out yesterday they announced that on August 1st the Ignite Teaching mobile apps and website will be taken down.

Some tools that provide services similar to Ignite Teaching include SeeSaw, Edmodo, Otus, and Google Classroom.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

View and Print in 3D More Than 200 Objects from The British Museum

The British Museum collection on Sketchfab contains 252 3D models of artifacts in The British Museum's collections. You can view these models in 3D in your web browser or in a virtual reality viewer. (To view the models in your browser your browser needs to support WebGL, you can test your browser here). If you have a 3D printer, you can print the models yourself by downloading the corresponding files from Sketchfab. You can also embed the models into a webpage as I have done below.


Applications for Education
A few years ago I spent nearly an entire day inside The British Museum. It was an experience that I wish every student of history could have. And although it doesn't replace the experience of being inside the museum, The British Museum's 3D objects collection does give students the chance to see some artifacts in more than a flat 2D view. Speaking of 2D views, the museum does offer more than one million images of their artifacts.

H/T to Open Culture

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Warning! The Default Order of Icons in G Suite Launcher is Changing

Today, Google announced an upcoming change to the default display of apps in the Google app launcher. That's the little menu that appears in the upper, right corner of your screen when you're logged into your G Suite account and using a G Suite product. Google stated that the change was made to improve the experience of users who never customize their launcher menus. The new default order will prominently feature Gmail, Docs, and Drive. The new default order will appear beginning on August 1st.

This is a minor change to G Suite and it will have no effect on how the G Suite apps work. I point it out only because some teachers may return to school in August and find that their launcher's app order has changed a bit.