Monday, December 17, 2018

Kids World Atlas - An iPad App for Learning About Animals Around the World

Last week I wrote a review of the Kids U.S. Atlas iPad app. That app offers an interactive map of the United States that kids can tap on to learn about 25 animals that are indigenous to the United States. Kids World Atlas is the companion app to the Kids U.S. Atlas. Kids World Atlas uses the same format as Kids U.S. Atlas.

Kids World Atlas features a map of the world that students can tap on to learn about forty animals around the world. Students simply tap an animal on the map and new window pops-up with a picture of that animal and brief text passage about it. The app has videos about some of the animals on the map. Unfortunately, unlike Kids U.S. Atlas, Kids World Atlas doesn't offer narration of the text passages.

Like the Kids US Atlas app, the Kids World Atlas app is a freemium app. The animal map is free. There are other maps available through in-app purchases at $1.99 a piece.

Applications for Education
Just like the Kids US Atlas app the Kids World Atlas iPad app to learn some basic facts about animals. A follow-up activity to students exploring the app would be to have them chose a favorite animal on the map and then research the characteristics of that animal that make it suited to its habitat.

21 Places to Find Media for Classroom Projects

Yesterday, people who subscribe to the Practical Ed Tech newsletter received a copy of my guide to finding copyright-friendly media for use in classroom projects. The guide includes explanations of Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Fair Use. In the section on using self-created media I included an example of how I unintentionally committed a copyright violation when making a screencast video a few years ago. Finally, the guide includes 21 places to find copyright-friendly media to use in classroom projects. You can access the guide here as a Google Doc or here as a PDF.

Some of the resources featured in this guide are integral to my upcoming course Video Projects for Every Classroom.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Trash, Math, and Expeditions - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where it was a balmy 43F today. It was a perfect day for a hike in western Maine. There's something about the fresh air that invigorates my body and mind. A walk in the woods almost always inspires new blog post ideas in my mind. Today, was not an exception to that pattern. Look for an exciting new guide to download in PDF format next week.

This week I hosted the fourth session of my Teaching History With Technology course. I offered the course twice this fall because of demand for it. I'm also going to be offering it in January along with two other professional development courses. You can learn more about them here.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 250 Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers
2. Reminder - Empty Your Google Drive Trash Bin
3. Speakd - Listen to Your Google Docs
4. Math is Visual - Videos Demonstrations and Illustrations
5. Try Pexels Videos to Find Green Screen Backgrounds
6. Free Math Lesson Plans from NASA
7. Introduction to Using Google Expeditions in Your Classroom

Three Online PD Courses Starting in January
I'm offering three professional development courses to start 2019. Discounted early registration is now open for:
Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.

Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students. 

Kids US Atlas - Learn About Animals of the United States

Kids US Atlas is an iPad app that features an interactive map of the United States. On the interactive map you will find twenty-five animals that are indigenous to the United States. Tap on the animals to read about them, to hear about them, and to watch videos about them. The text passages about the animals are accompanied by a picture and a narrator who reads the text aloud. The videos show the animals in their natural habitats. Each video is roughly thirty to ninety seconds long.

Kids US Atlas is a freemium app. The map that features animals of the United States is completely free to use. As you can see in the screenshot below, there are some interactive maps in the app that are only available through in-app purchase.

Applications for Education
Kids US Atlas provides a nice way for elementary school students to learn about animals indigenous to the United States. A follow-up activity to students exploring the app would be to have them create their own maps of other places in the United States that their favorite animals live. For example, if a student chooses the Moose that is depicted as being in Maine he or she could then make a map that shows the other states in which Moose are regularly found.

On a related note, if you have been thinking about updating your iPad, Amazon still has brand new, current generation iPads on sale for only $249!

Five Things That Help Me Develop Blog Post Ideas

I write a lot of blog posts. Over the last decade I've written more than 15,000 of them. That's 1,500 per year for an average of 4.1 per day for ten years. Naturally, I am frequently asked, "how do you come up with blog post ideas?" Here's an overview of where my ideas for blog posts originate.

Questions from Readers
Every week I receive a few dozen emails from readers who have questions about a wide array of ed tech topics. I also get a lot of questions sent to my on Twitter and Facebook. I develop blog posts based on the questions that I think could appeal to other readers.

Press Releases
I am inundated with press releases. About 95% are total rubbish. The 5% that aren't rubbish will inspire a blog post or two. (If you want to get on the mailing list for a PR firm, just send them a note. They always want more email addresses in their databases).

Reading Books
There's something about reading a physical book that helps me develop blog posts. I don't read books about blogging. I mostly read history books and biographies. I'm re-reading Theodore Rex right now. Somehow as I'm reading thoughts about blog posts creep into my head. This morning I was reading Theodore Rex and when I read a passage about railroad travel I got the idea for a blog post about making a virtual tour of a railroad journey.

Writing in a Paper Notebook
In the past I've talked about this on my YouTube channel. I take time every week to sit down with a coffee and my paper notebook to brainstorm blog post ideas. I make lists and webs of ideas for blog posts.  I refer to that notebook on those days that I can't think of anything to write about.

Scrolling Through Feedly
When I was getting started in blogging I spent a lot of time reading RSS feeds via Google Reader. I switched to Feedly when Google Reader was shut down. I don't spend as much time as I did five years ago scrolling through RSS feeds, but I still spend 20-30 minutes a day scrolling through the sites that I like the most. When I find something on blog that inspires a blog post of my own, I mention that either in the body of the post or as a hat tip at the end.

You can learn more strategies for developing blog content in my online course, From Blog to Job. It's a self-paced course that is currently on sale at 25% off!