Friday, June 22, 2018

Plastics 101 - National Geographic Lesson

From the top of your coffee cup to the laptop or phone you're using right now, our daily lives are full of plastic. How did we get to this point? How is plastic made? What can be done to reduce the impact of our plastic-infused lives? Those questions and more are addressed in a National Geographic video titled Plastics 101.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Google Sites Conversion Tool Now Available to More Users

A couple of months ago Google introduced an easy way to convert old Google Sites to the new version of Google Sites. Availability of that tool has been mixed with some domains having access to it and others not seeing it at all. That's changing this week as Google has announced a full deployment of the Google Sites automatic conversion tool. The conversion tool lets you quickly recreate your existing classic (AKA old version) Google Site in the new version of Google Sites. Watch my video to see how you can convert your classic Google Site to the new version of Google Sites.

Just a reminder, the old version of Google Sites is going away. The new version does have some great features that the old version lacked.

Five Ways to Create Mind Maps and Flowcharts Online

Earlier this week Tony Vincent Tweeted an excellent graphic that he made to show the process of creating a flowchart in Google Drawings. Tony's graphics are always top notch and this one was not an exception to that rule. Check it out.

For those who would like a video overview of how to make a flowchart or mind map in Google Drawings, I have one for you.

You can do a similar thing in Google Slides and in PowerPoint.

Connected Mind is a free mind mapping tool that you can use in your web browser and is also available as an iOS app and as an Android app.

Finally, Padlet offers a nice feature that will let you collaboratively create flowcharts.

Exciting New Features Coming to Scratch Later This Year

Thanks to a Tweet from Helen Maddox I found an announcement from the MIT Scratch Team about the new features that will be available in Scratch starting in August. Scratch 3.0 will roll-out as a beta product in August.

Scratch 3.0 will offer some exciting new features including:
  • A new extension system for programming physical devices.
  • New characters, sounds, and backgrounds.
  • Updated editors for characters and sounds.
  • Improved support for use on tablets. 
The desktop versions of Scratch will continue to be available and be supported. Any existing projects that you have in the current version of Scratch will continue to exist even after Scratch 3.0 leaves the beta phase. And ScratchJr will still be available for younger students. 

Finding Old Maps Online

On Wednesday morning I shared a neat geography quiz that asks students to identify cities by looking at historic maps. In that blog post I suggested having students compare the historic maps shown in the quiz with other historic maps in order to come up with accurate responses on the quiz. Old Maps Online is a good site that your students can use to find historic maps. Old Maps Online is a map that you can browse and search to find historical maps to view online, to download, and to print. You can search the map by entering a location or you can just pan and zoom around the world to find historical maps. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Old Maps Online.