Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Classic Geography Tool - Overlap Maps

As I mentioned on the latest episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast, last week I was reminded of a great little geography site called Overlap Maps. I hadn't used it in a long time so I went to see if it was still functioning as it did when I was regularly using it seven years ago. I was pleased to find that Overlap Maps still works as well as it did when I first started using it in 2012.

Overlap Maps can be used to quickly create visual comparisons of the size of countries, states, provinces, and some bodies of water. To create a comparison of two countries select one country from the "overlap this" menu and select one country from the "onto this" menu. The comparisons you make are displayed on a map. You can make comparisons from different categories. For example, you can overlap Lake Ontario onto the state of Rhode Island. Or, as is pictured in my screenshot, you can compare the size of a state in one country to that of a province in another. 

Applications for Education
Overlap Maps is a handy little tool to help students gain perspective of the relative size of places that they study in their geography lessons.

Thanksgiving Chemistry

The Thanksgiving Turkey Compilation from the Reactions YouTube channel explains two concepts related to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. First, it explains how the deep-frying process works and how it helps to make a turkey more flavorful. Second, the video explains why turkey isn't the primary culprit in making you drowsy after devouring your Thanksgiving meal.

Applications for Education
This video could be a good introduction to a science lesson or a culinary arts lesson (I'm looking at you Erik & Norma). Of course, if you're worried that your students might not pay attention all the way through the video, you could use a tool like EDpuzzle to build questions into the video. In the following video I demonstrate how to use EDpuzzle for that purpose.

Friday, November 8, 2019

The History of Thermometers and Barometers

Many moons ago when I was an undergrad I took a meteorology course. It was my favorite course outside of my major. I'm still fascinated by weather and weather forecasting. In fact, for my next career I might become a meteorologist. All that to say, I was naturally interested when I came across a Met Office (the UK's national weather service) video about the history of the thermometer and then a YouTube-suggested TED-Ed video The History of the Barometer.

Fahrenheit to Celsius: History of the Thermometer is an eight minute overview of the evolution of thermometers and their units of measurement. The video begins with an introduction to the earliest attempts to measure temperature before progressing into the work of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and Anders Celsius. The video explains how Fahrenheit settled on his standards for the freezing and boiling points of water. The video also explains how Anders Celsius did the same and why his original scale is the opposite of what we read on Celsius thermometers today.

The History of the Barometer is a TED-ED lesson that explains how a barometer works and how it was developed. The majority of the video is spent on explaining how the work of Galileo and Evangelista Torricelli contributed to how we measure barometric pressure today.

Mapping Thanksgiving

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? is an interactive storymap that displays where eight popular Thanksgiving foods are grown and harvested in the United States. The storymap includes a map for each ingredient. Each map shows the locations of commercial producers. Fun facts are included in the storymap too. For example, did you know that Illinois has at least twice as many acres of pumpkins as any state?

Applications for Education
When I shared it last year I suggested using it as a way to spark students' curiosity to investigate questions about the origins of traditional Thanksgiving foods. This year I'd like to suggest that students can create their own storymaps about Thanksgiving. Students could do that with tools provided by ESRI. An easy way to do it is to use StoryMap JS. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a storymap with StoryMap JS.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Get Instant Feedback on Your Presentations With Presenter Coach

Presenter Coach is one of best features to be added to PowerPoint in a long time. Presenter Coach is found in the online version of PowerPoint that anyone can use with a free Microsoft account. Presenter Coach will give you feedback on the pacing of your presentations, your use of filler words, and your use of sensitive phrases. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Presenter Coach in PowerPoint.

Applications for Education
Presenter Coach has the potential to be a great tool for students to use a few times before presenting in front of their classmates. Even students who don't normally get nervous about giving presentations or think that they're good at giving presentations may be surprised at how many filler words they use or how quickly they speak.