Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Timelines...a great way to present

If you want your students to present a timeline to the class, what's a great intuitive way to do it? Sure, you could ask them to use Powerpoint, or some other kind of presentation software, but why not try something new? I came across Dipity the other day. I can see some very interesting possibilities. If you explore the Dipity site, you can view examples by others: some serious, some not. Not only can it be used to present a timeline to a class, students can create them and then make them available for others to review at any time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A "Novel" way to use Google Earth

So you're doing a novel with your class and you want your students to be more connected to the story and the places mentioned. How can you do this if your students have never been to the country where the action takes place? Not a problem if you use Google Earth.

Use GE to spice up your lesson. (A trip to GoogleLitTrips will show you some of the possibilities.) You can point out the major landmarks featured in the novel. You can calculate distances mentioned by the characters. You can even place "markers" with additional information useful to your readers. Just log in and create your placemarkers and then download the kmz or kml file to share or post on your teacher page. (This link takes you to an explanation of how to do this with the book "Hana's Suitcase". Click on the Quicktime icon to see the video podcast.)

If you are teaching Geography or History, why not use Google Earth to take your students on a virtual fieldtrip. (The Apple Learning Interchange has some great pointers.) Follow Hannibal or Gandhi's march or the Crusades or a WWII battle. Sometimes seeing makes all the difference.

Friday, September 12, 2008

RSS? Bookmarking? Twitter? Wikis?

If you work with computers, every so often you will get asked by a teacher or student to explain some aspect or feature of the Web 2.0 world. But what if you are not available, or if the person just needs a quick refresher? I've often thought of creating a "short & snappy" series of video clips that give a quick overview in clear, easy to understand terms, that I could then post for my students and colleagues to refer to.

Well, guess what...someone's already done it...and it's great. Check out "Common Craft": a website that provides, in plain English, with a snappy video clip and engaging patter, just what I was looking for.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Google me this Batman!

This past week, the Teacher-Librarian group that I belong to put on its annual "welcome-back-it's-September" mini-conference. Our keynote presenter (Maryam Moayeri) is doing her doctorate on how teens use the web. She had some very interesting things to say about how poor teen searching skills are and how little time is spent considering search terms, and evaluating the usefulness of sites. Teachers and TLs need to show students how to find what they're looking for!

Here's a page from "that search engine" that explains how to get what you want and need.