Friday, May 29, 2020

Return to Sender - Interactive Map of Postcards from WWI

Return to Sender provides an interesting way for students to find and read postcards sent to and from soldiers during World War I. Return to Sender is an interactive map on which students can see where postcards were sent in Europe during World War I. The postcards displayed through the map are part of the Europeana 1914-18 thematic archive.

There are a few ways that students can explore the Return to Sender map. Probably the easiest option for students is to just select a country from the drop-down menu on the left side of the map. Once a country has been chosen the map will be populated with interactive markers depicting from where the postcards were sent. Clicking on a marker will reveal the postcards. Students can then click on the postcards to read more about them and who archived them. In most cases students can read a little story about the postcard and or read the card itself.

Applications for Education
Return to Sender combines two of my favorite things to use in history lessons. Those things are maps and primary source documents. This combination lets students experience the primary sources in the context of where they were written.

It is possible to create your map in a similar style with Google's My Maps or Google Earth. You could import PDFs or PNGs of primary sources into placemarks on the map. Doing that could make for a nice local history project. I'll show you how to do that in my upcoming course, Teaching History With Technology.

H/T to Maps Mania for the map. 

How to Create Whiteboard Videos With Zoom

One of the things that I often mention in my webinars and workshops is the idea of getting to know an instructional technology tool well so that you can use it in many ways. A good example of that is found when dive into all of the ways that you can use Zoom. For example, last week on Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff Rushton and I mentioned using Zoom to record audio tracks with two narrators. Another way to use Zoom is to create whiteboard videos as I demonstrate in the following video.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Great Sets of Primary Source Documents for U.S. History Lessons

The Digital Public Library of America is a great place to find all kinds of neat digitized historical artifacts. I recently went down a rabbit hole looking at photographs in the baseball collection and the DPLA's Boston Sports Temples exhibit. That happened because I was revisiting the DPLA's Primary Source Sets for teachers and students.

The Digital Public Library of America's Primary Source Sets organized according to themes, eras, and events in United States history. The DPLA primary source sets include documents, drawings, maps, photographs, and film clips. Each set is accompanied by a teaching guide. All of the sets can be shared directly to Google Classroom. And each artifact that students view in the sets is accompanied by some questions or points to ponder while reviewing that artifact.

Applications for Education
The DPLA's primary source sets provide teachers and students with a convenient way to find primary source documents. For teachers it can be a good way to locate resources to use in a lesson plan. For students the sets can provide a good start to a research project.

On a related note, in Teaching History With Technology I'll show you some ways to use primary sources like those from DPLA in online lessons. 

How to Create Whiteboard Videos in Seesaw

Seesaw is my go-to tool for making digital portfolios. I like it because it's a versatile platform that can be used for more than just portfolio creation. You can use it as a blog, use it to share announcements with parents, use it to distribute assignments, and you can use it to create whiteboard videos. In fact, there are a couple of ways that you and your students can create whiteboard videos in Seesaw. Both of those methods are outlined in my new video that is embedded below.

Applications for Education
There are a lot of ways that you might use the whiteboard tool in Seesaw. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • You can use it to make math instruction videos for your students to watch. 
  • You could upload an image to the whiteboard and use the drawing tools to highlight various parts of the image. That's a good option when explaining a diagram or explaining the presence of different elements in an artwork. 
  • You might also have students use the whiteboard tools to explain and show their work on solving a math problem.

Five Screencastify Settings You Should Know How to Use

Screencastify is an excellent tool for creating instructional videos on your Chromebook, Mac, or Windows computer. You can use it to create a screencast video to demonstrate how a program works, use it to record yourself narrating over some slides, or use it to simply record a short video with your computer's built-in webcam. And if you turn on the drawing tools in Screencastify you can use it to make a whiteboard video. In fact, it's the drawing tools that inspired me to make a short video to illustrate five settings in Screencastify that you should know how to use.

Five Screencastify Settings You Should Know How to Use
1. Microphone settings
2. Enabling/ disabling system audio.
3. Enabling drawing tools and how to use them.
4. Highlighting cursor on click.
5. Integrating more sharing options like EDpuzzle and Wakelet.