Wednesday, May 18, 2022

An Interactive Map of the Roman Empire

A few years ago I wrote about a must-bookmark resource from Stanford University for history teachers and students. That resource is called ORBIS and it has been updated since the last time that I wrote about it. ORBIS is Stanford University's Geospatial Network Model of the Roman Empire. 

On ORBIS students can calculate the distance and travel times between hundreds of settlements in the Roman Empire. The calculations happen according to the modes of travel that would have been used during the time of the Roman Empire's greatest height. For example, I calculated the time and cost to travel by foot, wagon, and boat between Roma and Londonium in the summer and winter. The calculations include the cost of feeding donkeys along the way. 

In this new video I provide an introduction to using ORBIS. 



Applications for Education
While you could certainly have students use Google Earth to map distances between settlements in the Roman Empire, ORBIS is a step above that because students can calculate travel times and distances according the modes of transportation that were available during the Roman Empire.

New Google Docs Features You Might Have Missed

This spring (fall for my friends in the southern hemisphere) Google has added some new features to Google Docs. I've written about a couple of them in the last month. There are others that I haven't covered until I published this new video

Watch Five New Google Docs Features You Might Have Missed to learn about the following:

  • Responding to documents and comments with emojis.
  • How to add a dropdown menu into a document.
  • How to use the new table formatting options. 
  • How to change page orientation for sections of documents. 
  • The new extensions dropdown menu. 



Watch this video to learn more about dropdown menus.

Watch this video to learn more about table formatting in Google Docs.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The National Archives to Host Online Professional Development This Summer

The National Archives offers many excellent resources for history teachers. For example, they recently published a new guide to understanding perspectives in primary sources. And this summer the National Archives will be hosting free online professional development events for teachers

The first event is on July 12th through the 14th. It is the Truman Library Teachers Conference. The theme of the conference is Presidential Character and Decision Making. The conference will include presentations from representatives of ten presidential libraries and museums. 

The second event is a series titled We Rule: Civics for All of US. This series has two sessions for elementary school teachers and two sessions for middle school/ high school teachers. Dates and details for each session are available here

The Three Branches Institute is the third of NARA's summer professional development opportunities for teachers. This event will focus on new ideas and resources for teaching about the three branches of government. The event will be held via Zoom on August 2nd through 4th. Registration is free, but you must register by July 17th. The registration form can be found here

Ziplet Now Integrates With Microsoft Teams

Ziplet was one of my favorite tools in 2021. Ziplet has a few features that make it an outstanding tool for conducting online exit ticket activities. First, there is a large library of premade exit ticket questions that you can use. Second, students can respond in a variety of ways including with a just an emoji. Third, you can respond to students' responses on an individual basis or group basis. Here's my tutorial on using Ziplet.

Ziplet has long had a Google Classroom integration. This week they announced a Microsoft Teams integration. Now you can import your Microsoft Teams class rosters to use in Ziplet. The complete directions for connecting Microsoft Teams to Ziplet can be seen here



Applications for Education
Ziplet fits in a gap between tools like Kahoot and Google Classroom. For that reason it could be a good tool for engaging students in discussions about assignments, course topics, or the general feeling of the class.

Monday, May 16, 2022

A Crash Course in Decisions About College

The folks at Crash Course have developed a new channel and series of courses called Study Hall. One of those courses is called How to College

How to College is a great series for high school students and first year college students. The course covers everything from deciding to go to college to picking a college to picking a major and how to pay for it all. It's a series that could be particularly useful to first generation college students who don't have anyone to rely on who has gone through the process before them.

I watched the How to Choose a Major video this morning. And while I can't say that it would have stopped me from changing majors a couple of times, it would have given me more ideas about what could be done with the degrees associated with those other majors I tried before getting a degree in history. 



If you're curious about the picture I selected for this blog post, it represents what drew me to Maine when I was a college student, fly fishing. For someone like me who didn't have the grades or the money to go to an elite university, picking a school based on my hobbies was about as good a selection criteria as any 25 years ago.