Technology Tips For Integration February 2010 Week 4 Jayne Anne Heath



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Technology Tips For Integration


February 2010

Week 4

Jayne Anne Heath

Jayne.heath@mccracken.kyschools.us

Ext. 5032

(270) 538-4039

Time for Time - Teaching How to Tell Time



Posted: 19 Feb 2010 04:52 AM PST

If I remember correctly I was in Kindergarten when I learned how to tell time. The concepts of time haven't changed at all since then, but the resources for teaching how to tell time may have changed a little since then. Time for Time is a website providing teachers with lesson plans and worksheets for teaching how to tell time. Time for Time also provides online games and interactive quizzes for students to use to practice their clock reading skills.

Applications for Education
Time for Time is a handy little website for anyone that teaches students how to tell time. The online games are easy for students to access. And if you don't have enough computers for all students to play the games at once, you can take advantage of the offline game suggestions in the teacher section of Time for Time.

Excellent Infographics About the Earthquake in Haiti


GOOD recently announced the winner of their Haiti Earthquake Infographic Contest. The winning infographic was Aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake. Aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake, created by Emily Schwartzman, clearly depicts the impact of the earthquake in terms of impact on the population and the areas of Haiti that were hit the hardest. After looking at all of the entries, I don't know how GOOD's editors were able to pick just one winner. All of the entries did a great job of illustrating the impact of the earthquake, the recovery needs, and the recovery efforts made. I particularly liked Claire Kohler's Earthquakes: Depth and Destruction which made an illustrated comparison of the size and impact of various earthquakes around the world in the last eleven years.

Applications for Education


The Haiti Earthquake Infographics submitted for the GOOD contest provide an easy way for students to see the impact of the earthquake on Haiti. The posters also enable students to compare the charitable giving of organizations and countries.

The GOOD contest posters also provide a model for students to create their own infographics about Haiti and or other significant world events.


Create Simple Animated Movies with Zimmer Twins


Posted: 20 Feb 2010 07:00 AM PST

The Zimmer Twins is a neat site for introducing elementary school students to making simple animated video stories. On the Zimmer Twins site students can create a story from scratch or complete one of the "cliff hanger" story starters. Students do not need to have any drawing skills in order to create a story as all elements are added to the video through a simple drag and drop interface. Students select settings, characters, character actions, emotions, and text styles then drag those elements into the storyboard. Students then arrange those elements and type words into the conversation bubbles where appropriate.

Applications for Education


The Zimmer Twins provides teachers with some sample lesson plans for creating movies in elementary school classrooms and ELL/ESL classrooms. If you're students are having trouble starting a story from scratch, the Zimmer Twins "cliff hanger" story starters could help your students get started.

The Zimmer Twins is similar to Xtra Normal and Memoov which are included in my list of Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online.




NASA eClips - Educational Videos for K-12 Students


Posted: 21 Feb 2010 04:35 AM PST

NASA offers numerous educational resources for students and teachers. One of those resources that I recently rediscovered is NASA's eClips videos. eClips videos are arranged by grade level; K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There is also a section labeled for the general public. The videos are short clips designed to show students the work NASA is doing and how that work impacts space science as well as its potential impact on everyday life. All of the videos can be viewed online or downloaded for use on your local computer.

Applications for Education


NASA provides viewing guides and project ideas that teachers can use in their classrooms. The videos for K-5 students are designed to show students how NASA's research helps us learn about our world and our solar system. The videos for 6-8 students are centered around the theme of real-world problem solving. The videos for 9-12 students are focused on problem solving. The project suggestion for 9-12 students is to design a cooling system for astronauts in space.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:


Explore Google Sky
View the Moon in Google Earth
Solar Eclipse Simulation in Google Earth




Flixtime - Quickly Create Short Videos

Posted: 22 Feb 2010 05:43 PM PST


Flixtime is a new video creation service that is quite similar to Animoto and Stupeflix. Flixtime gives users the ability to create 60 second videos by mixing together images, video clips, and music tracks. You can use your own images, video clips, and music tracks or you can choose media from the Flixtime galleries. One the things that I like about Flixtime over Animoto is Flixtime's editing tool. Unlike Animoto, Flixtime allows you to drag and drop images into the sequence in which you would like them to appear.

Flixtime videos can be downloaded for use on your local computer, shared via email or social networks, or posted to YouTube. Below you will see my sample video.


TechCrunch has more information about Flixtime that you may be interested in reading.

Applications for Education


Creating videos with Flixtime could be a good alternative to slideshow presentations. In the past I've had students use Animoto to create videos as mini-biographies of famous people in US History. I've found that assignment to be a good way to get some of my special education students interested historical figures. The students start out by looking for images and reading image captions before progressing to more in-depth reading. The same type of project could be done with Flixtime.

For other video creation tools you may want to read Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online.

Ten Interactive Geography Games and Maps


Interactive games and maps can be good tools for students to use in developing their knowledge of geography. The following ten websites are good places to find a variety of interactive geography games and interactive maps that will help students develop their knowledge of geography. The last item in the list is a resource for creating your own geography game.

National Geographic Kids has a wide variety of games, puzzles, and activities for students of elementary school age. National Geographic Kids has nine games specifically for developing geography skills.

Placefy is a fun and challenging geography game that uses pictures as questions. Placefy presents players with an image of a city square, buildings, and other famous landmarks. Players then have to choose the correct answer from four answer choices. Playing the game is simple, but the images as questions make it a challenging game.

GeoNet is a geography quiz game from Houghton Mifflin that offers students more than just the state or country identification questions typical of geography games. GeoNet has a category of games based on a world map and games based on a map of the United States. Within each category are six types of quiz game questions. Each quiz game has two levels.

Place Spotting is a website of geographic riddles. Place Spotting is based on the Google Earth platform. Place Spotting users can create their own geographic riddles or try to solve riddles created by others. The search feature on Place Spotting lets users search for riddles based on level of difficulty, language, region, or creation date.


Learning Together offers four activities for learning about the geography of the United States. Learning Together also offers a game about world geography and a game about European geography.

Owl and Mouse Educational Software offers sixteen, free, interactive maps for students. The maps cover every continent except Antarctica.

Lizard Point gives students 37 interactive maps to study. The maps cover basic world geography as well as specific geography questions for various regions and countries around the world.

Reach the World produces great online games for Geography students. The GeoGames from Reach the World feature an interactive map which students drag and drop onto different elements. The beginner level games asks has student place continents and the poles in the correct position. As the games levels progress students have to place countries and capitals in their proper positions. In the Build Planet Earth section students have to place continents, oceans, mountains, and rivers in their proper positions.

Traveler IQ Challenge has 14 interactive geography activities. The activities can be embedded in a blog or website. If it is an option for you, I recommend embedding the activities into your class blog or website to cut down on the number of advertisements that your students see.

UMapper offers a platform for creating your own geography game. UMapper GeoDart is a simple game in which players have to locate the places the you specify. The directions for creating your own GeoDart game are contained in the video below.

Neat Chat - Quickly Create an Ad-free Chatroom

Posted: 22 Feb 2010 01:45 PM PST

Neat Chat is a free chatroom service that could be a very good alternative to Chatzy and Tiny Chat. Neat Chat allows anyone to create a chatroom in seconds. To create a Neat Chat chatroom simply enter a nickname on the Neat Chat homepage, click "start group," and your room is created. Your chatroom is assigned its own unique url. You can invite people to your chatroom via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

Applications for Education


Neat Chat is an ad-free chatroom service that you could use for hosting backchannel discussions in your classroom. You could also use Neat Chat to offer "online office hours" to your students.

I've previously written about using backchannel discussions in my classroom during the viewing of a movie as well as during a note-taking exercise. You can read those posts here and here. In short, I've found that hosting backchannel chats enables me to give more attention to each student's individual questions.

You may also be interested in reading Five Platforms for Classroom Back-channel Chat.

NY Times - Inside the Olympic Action



Posted: 22 Feb 2010 04:14 AM PST

The New York Times has good collection of videos and audio slideshows designed to take you "inside the action" of Winter Olympic events. The videos will take you down a luge run at 90mph, through a snowboard half pipe, and down the men's downhill ski course. Along the way athletes and coaches explain intricacies of each event and how the athletes maneuver through their events.

Applications for Education

Inside the Action could be a good resource for learning about Olympic events from an "insider's perspective." You might want to use these videos in conjunction with a Google Maps Street View tour of the Winter Olympics.



SortFix - Visually Sort and Modify Search Terms

Posted: 23 Feb 2010 05:02 PM PST

SortFix is a neat tool for sorting and modifying the key terms in your Internet searches. To use SortFix enter your search just as you would in any search engine. At the top of the results page, SortFix provides a graphic interface comprised of four boxes to help you alter your search terms and, in turn, the search results. In one box SortFix lists "power words" related to your original search. You can drag each of the "power words" into one of three boxes. The three boxes are "add to search," "remove from search," and "dictionary." Dragging a "power word" into the "add to search" or "remove from search" boxes will alter your search terms and your search results. Dragging a "power word" into the "dictionary" box will provide you with a definition.



Historical Scene Investigation

Posted: 23 Feb 2010 02:22 PM PST


Historical Scene Investigation is a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary.

Applications for Education
Sometimes I come across websites that immediately make me say, "why didn't I think of that?" Historical Scene Investigation is one example of that. HSI provides thirteen cases, but you could easily use the model to create your own Historical Scene Investigations.


An Awesome Free Guide to Digital Storytelling


Posted: 23 Feb 2010 08:14 AM PST

Silvia Tolisano, author of the excellent Langwitches blog, has an awesome free ebook about digital storytelling. Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators is a 120 page guide to using digital storytelling tools in your classroom. The guide offers clear directions for using tools like Audacity, Google Maps, Photo Story, VoiceThread, and other digital media creation tools. Silvia's directions are aided by clearly annotated screenshots of each digital storytelling tool.


Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators also provides a good explanation of digital storytelling in general and the benefits of using digital storytelling in your classroom. You can download the ebook for free on Lulu. You can also purchase a paperback copy of the book for $8.50. I think $8.50 is too low of a price because I bet most people would happily pay twice that price.



The Map as History - Animated Historical Maps


Posted: 24 Feb 2010 05:21 PM PST

The Map as History is a neat resource for history teachers. The Map as History provides teachers and students with animated, narrated historical maps. Most of the maps are only available through a subscription, but there are nine free maps you can view. The maps in the collections are narrated with animations synchronized to highlight the points made by the narrator. Each map also provides the option to view a transcript of the narration. Take a look at the History of Europe Since 1945 map.

Thanks to
Shelly Terrell for posting the link to The Map as History on Twitter.

Applications for Education


Timelines are good for studying sequence. Maps are good for geolocating events. The Map as History combines the best of those concepts into a good study resource for students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:



Interactive Maps and Timelines

US History Animated

World War I Video Map



The Awesome Highlighter is Awesome

Posted: 24 Feb 2010 10:33 AM PST

The Awesome Highlighter is an easy-to-use tool for highlighting, clipping, saving, and sharing interesting things you find on the web. Using The Awesome Highlighter you can highlight chunks of text from a website and save just that text, along with the url, to your Awesome Highlighter account. If you want to add some notes of your own to the text you can do that as well. Should you decide to share your findings with others, The Awesome Highlighter provides a shortened url that you can email, Tweet, or post on the web. The shortened url provided by The Awesome Highlighter will lead others to what you highlighted and the notes you wrote.

Back in your Awesome Highlighter account you can sort your clippings into groups for text, images, or videos. You can also sort your clippings by date or domain. If you've added tags to your clippings you can use those tags to sort your collection of clippings.

The easiest way to use The Awesome Highlighter is to install a bookmarklet which you can click while viewing any page. Installing the bookmarklet is a simple drag and drop process in Firefox. If you don't want to install the bookmarklet you can simply enter a url on The Awesome Highlighter homepage to take advantage of all of the highlighting and sharing options. The screen capture below shows the basic functions of The Awesome Highlighter bookmarklet. (click to view full size)


Applications for Education
The Awesome Highlighter could be a useful tool for students to use as they conduct online research. By highlighting and adding notes to the resources they find, students will be able to quickly remember what it was about a website that they thought would be helpful.

You could also try using The Awesome Highlighter to pose questions to your students about something you found on the Internet. In the screen capture above I created the example of highlighting a part of Wikipedia and posting about the paragraph in the sticky note. I can then post the shortened url provided by The Awesome Highlighter on my course blog.



Stat Planet - Data Visualization

Posted: 23 Feb 2010 06:13 PM PST

Stat Planet is a thematic mapping website. Stat Planet relies on data from UNESCO is a project of SACMEQ. Stat Planet can be used to create thematic maps based on a variety of development indicators from the fields of education, health care, and economics. Stat Planet can be used online in your browser or you can download Stat Planet. Downloading Stat Planet gives you the option to include your other data sets and create a custom map.


Applications for Education
Stat Planet is a good resource for students to use to create thematic maps. Stat Planet can also be used by students to make inferences as to the reason for inequities between countries and regions of the world. After making those inferences students can conduct research to investigate whether or not they were correct.


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