Wednesday, October 27, 2021

How to Share Specific Google Earth Views and Turn Them Into Assignments

Google Earth has a lot of great little features that sometimes get overlooked. One of those features is the ability to share a specific location and view of that location. In fact, you can share a specific location and view directly into your Google Classroom. When you share it you can share it as an announcement or as an assignment.

In this short video I demonstrate how to share a specific Google Earth location and view in Google Classroom. The second half of the video demonstrates how to create an assignment based on the view that you're sharing. 

My self-paced course, A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies covers many more great ways to use Google Earth in your classroom.

Unfolding History - A New Library of Congress Blog


The Library of Congress has started a new blog called Unfolding History. The blog is written by the staff of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The purpose is to highlight interesting manuscripts and their backstories or greater historical context.

The first Unfolding History blog post features a couple of 1972 documents from Nixon's CREEP (Committee to Re-elect the President). In the blog post you can read the orginal documents (you can also download them for free) and learn a bit of the context of them. In this case we learn how the CREEP responded to Vice-Presidential candidate Sargent Shriver's comments unfavorably likening President Nixon and his allies to a football team.  

Applications for Education

Reading the first entry in Unfolding History sent me down a rabbit hole of reading about some of the people mentioned in the manuscripts. It also got me thinking about how I might incorporate the manuscripts into a classroom discussion. In this case, there were two things that I'd focus on with my students. First, I'd ask them if the stereotype of the "big, dumb" football player would be employed in political campaigns today. Second, I'd have them look at the security notes on the second document and have them discuss how similar information is protected today (readers who are my age or older may notice the note about "no carbons" and have memories of using carbon paper they'll have to explain to students).

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Accessible Online Physics Simulations

PhET is a service that provides free interactive math and science simulations covering topics in physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and mathematics. It has been popular with science and math teachers for many years. Recently, I learned that PhET has been developing some simulations that offer online accessibility features including alternative inputs for navigation and interactive descriptions. 

There are only nineteen accessibility enabled PhET simulations available at the moment and they are all still prototypes. You can try them here

PhET's full library has nearly one hundred simulations. Those simulations can be included in PowerPoint presentations and embedded into Google Sites

Practical Ed Tech Tips on Instagram

If you're an Instagram user who likes to find new ideas for using technology in your classroom, I have a new Instagram account for you to follow. It's mine! I created a new account that is simply titled Practical Ed Tech. This will be where I share some short video tips like this one containing five exit ticket questions and this one about using the I'm Feeling Lucky feature in Google Earth

There are a few reasons for this change. 
  • I've wanted to do something like this for quite a while but it was always a hassle to edit the video on my desktop then upload it via the Instagram mobile app. Now that Instagram allows you to post from a computer it's a lot easier to edit and post as part of my normal workflow.

  • I've always had a personal Instagram account, but I like to keep business and pleasure separate as much as I can. Creating the new Practical Ed Tech Instagram account accomplishes that. 

  • I went with Practical Ed Tech rather than Free Technology for Teachers because it's slightly shorter and because it better aligns with my feelings about where the educational technology market is headed over the next decade. 

Free Webinar on Thursday - Two EdTech Guys Take Questions

This Thursday at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I are hosting the second episode of the second season of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff! We'd love to have you join us! You can register for the session right here

In every episode we answer questions from readers and viewers like you. We also share some cool and interesting things that we've found around the Web. Rushton tends to share cool videos and pictures while I tend to share cool tech tools. And we both try our best to give helpful answers to your questions about all things educational technology. 

Please join us! And feel free to email me in advance with your questions or send them in live during the webinar. 

Recordings and resources from our previous episodes are available on this Next Vista for Learning page.