Thursday, October 27, 2022

Finding and Exploring 15 Minute Cities

City Access Map is an interactive map that anyone can use to find and explore the walkability of cities around the world. Specifically, City Access Map lets you explore cities in which residents can access needed services within a fifteen minute walk. City Access Map calls these cities 15 Minute Cities

You can explore City Access Map by browsing through the listing of cities or by simply panning, zooming, and clicking on an interactive globe. Once you've chosen a city to look at it in more detail you can adjust the display based on filters that you select. Those filters are things like schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, and public transportation centers. 

Watch this brief video for an overview of City Access Map



Applications for Education
As I explained in the video above, to be listed on City Access Map the city needs to have at least 500,000 people. That leaves a lot of towns and small cities off the map. That inspired me to think about having students use tools like Google Maps and Bing Maps to evaluate where they live to determine how many services are available to them within a fifteen minute walk and how "walkable" their communities are in general.

H/T to Maps Mania

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

How to Set Notifications for Individual Google Documents

Google Drive has long let you receive email and desktop notifications for edits and comments to your shared Google Docs. Unfortunately, it was an "all or nothing" setting. In other words, you could either receive notifications or not receive notifications for all documents. Recently, Google Docs was updated so that you can now set notification preferences for individual documents. Watch this short video that I recorded to see how to set individual notifications for your shared Google Documents



Applications for Education
Long ago I turned off all notifications for files in my Google Drive because I could get quickly overwhelmed by all of the notifications created from files that I shared with students and that they shared with me. That meant I'd occasionally miss an update to documents that I had shared with colleagues. Being able to turn on notifications for individual documents could be a great way to make sure that I get notifications for only the most important or time-sensitive documents in my account.

Five More Things Students Can Explain With Simple Animations

Last week I shared five suggestions for things that students can explain with simple animations. This week I have five more ideas to share with you. But first I'd like to remind you that creating simple animations to illustrate understanding of concepts can be done by just about anyone in just about any context. That’s kind of the idea behind Dan Roam’s book The Back of the Napkin and it’s the idea behind my upcoming Making and Teaching With Animated Explanations course.
  • What happens when water freezes? (A question from my five-year-old).
  • How the Internet works.
  • The stock market.
  • Fractions
  • Long and short vowel sounds (a suggestion from a Kindergarten teacher that I know).


Click here to learn more about and register for Animated Explanations.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Differences Between Crows and Ravens

Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven gets read a lot in schools at this time of year. Why you should read Poe's work is explained in one of the Halloween-themed TED-Ed lessons that I shared a few days ago. What's not explained in those lessons is the difference between a raven and a crow. To answer that question, turn to a couple of resources from The Cornell Lab's Bird Academy

Caw vs. Croak: Inside the Calls of Crows and Ravens is an interesting three minute explanation of the differences between the calls that crows and ravens make. The narrator of the video even explains what some of the different calls mean to the birds. 


American Crows and Common Ravens is a reference page that describes the physical differences between crows and ravens. At the bottom of the page there is a short and fun quiz to test your crow and raven identification skills. 

Applications for Education
If you're fortunate to live in an area that has both crows and ravens, take your class on a little walk to see if they can spot the each and identify them by sight and or sound. 

A Fun Tool for Creating Avatars

The internet is full of websites on which you can make little icons and avatars. What it's not full of is free sites for that purpose that aren't littered with pop-up ads and similar annoyances. That's why I was happy to find Mustachio. Mustachio is a free site that anyone can use to create a simple avatar. 

To create an avatar on Mustachio simply go to the site and click on the flashing avatar until you see one that you like. You can then customize the basic avatar you've chosen. Some of the many customization options include changing the jawline of your avatar, adding or removing wrinkles, changing ear shape, and changing hair, skin, and eye colors. Watch this brief video to see how easy it is to create and download a free avatar on Mustachio


Applications for Education
Using a custom avatar can be a good alternative to using the stock avatars that students are assigned by various sites that they use for your class. It's also a good alternative to using their actual pictures. And creating a custom avatar is a quick and fun process that can be used as a reward or incentive in for reaching a goal in your classroom. I know some elementary school teachers who start the year with students using standard avatars and then as the year goes on students will get to create their own avatars when they've reached a particular goal for the class.