Thursday, September 16, 2021

Great Reads from Great Places - An Interactive Map from the Library of Congress

Great Reads from Great Places is an interactive map produced by the Library of Congress for the National Book Festival. The purpose of the map is twofold. First, to help visitors find National Book Festival-related events in their states. Second, to help visitors find books that are connected to their states. Those connections could be that the author wrote the book in that state or the story takes place in that state. 


Applications for Education
Great Reads from Great Places could be a useful tool for students to use to find a new-to-them book to read. It's a good model for having students create their own interactive maps.

Following the model of Great Reads from Great Places students could use a tool like Padlet or Google's My Maps to create interactive maps featuring their favorite books aligned to states, provinces, cities, or countries. Here's a demo of how to create a multimedia map with Padlet.

An Idea for Using Padlet for Self Reflection in K-2

I get a lot of questions sent to me throughout the week. Some of them are very specific and the answers only apply to one person. Others have the potential for a broader appeal. One of those came to me earlier this week when a reader asked, 

"What’s the best interactive tool that we can use to help kids (K-2) to self-reflect on learning? We’d like them to be able to use the touch display to ‘pull’ their names into a column that reflects where they are in their learning."  

My suggestion was to try using Padlet with columns in the background. Students would have their own notes with their names on them to drag and drop into a column that reflects how they feel about the day's lesson or their overall progress. In this short video I go into a little more detail about how to create that kind of Padlet activity for your students. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

It's the Last Year for Weebly for Education

More than a decade ago Weebly was one of the first DIY website builders that recommended to teachers. I helped countless teachers and their students create classroom websites with Weebly for Education. This morning I got the news via email that Weebly (now owned by Square) has decided to shutter Weebly for Education in 2022. This will happen on August 1, 2022. If you're using Weebly for Education right now, you have plenty of time to plan for what you'll use as a replacement (I recommend Edublogs or Google Sites). 

Weebly for Education hasn't had any updates in a few years so it's not surprising that it is being closed down. I always liked the service and found it to be a good way for teachers to build their own websites. More importantly, it provided a good way for students to create their own websites that teachers could actively monitor. But all good things come to an end. Thanks for the good service for all the years, Weebly for Education. 

Now that Weebly for Education is closing and Google has officially excluded Blogger from Google Workspace for Education (for those under 18), the only good blogging option for students that I can recommend now is Edublogs unless you want to go the route of self-hosting. And if you were using Weebly for Education for digital portfolios I'd recommend taking a look at Google Sites, Spaces, or Seesaw.

Influenza Archives - A History Lesson

Monday's featured artifact on Today's Document from the National Archives was "Nurse wearing a mask as protection against influenza. September 13, 1918." As is often the case with items in the daily feed there was a link to additional information about the image. In this case the additional information was a National Archives collection of images and documents about the influenza epidemic of 1918

The Influenza Epidemic collection on the National Archives includes ten documents and six images including the one that I included in this blog post. As I looked through the images and documents I couldn't help but think of similarities between today's current pandemic situation and that of 103 years ago. 

Applications for Education
As I read the documents (they're all short) and viewed the images in The Influenza Epidemic I started to think of questions that I would ask students to think about while they reviewed the artifacts. Here's a short list of those questions:
  • How long do you think it took for people in Maine (where we live) to learn about the seriousness of the influenza epidemic?
  • How do think people living in 1918 felt about wearing masks
  • What are the similarities between the 1918 influenza epidemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How did the U.S. goverment respond to the 1918 influenza epidemic? How is that similar or different from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A Good Explanation of the Slippery Slope Fallacy

About a month ago I published a collection of resources for teaching students about logical fallacies and cognitive biases. Since then TED-Ed published another good video to add to that collection. The video is Can You Outsmart the Slippery Slope Fallacy?

Can You Outsmart the Slippery Slope Fallacy? centers around the Vietnam War and makes an analogy between the slippery slope fallacy and the domino theory as it was applied to the idea of stopping the spread of communism. Overall, the video does a decent job of explaining the concept of the slippery slope fallacy and how it is or can be used by politicians. My one criticism of the video is that the end of it shows a map that makes it appear as though communism went away on its own in many countries rather than explain how it happened. 


Applications for Education
After watching this video I would have history students try to identify other examples of slippery slope arguments used throughout history. In other settings I'd ask students to try to think of examples from their own lives of slippery slope arguments being used to justify an action or decision.