Monday, December 31, 2012

The Problem w. Education...

This is now two years old, but it is nonetheless very interesting.  Sir Ken Robinson's basic thesis is that our schools are organized on an industrial model that assumes that age is very important to our students and that everyone must move at the same speed.  One of the biggest changes I am making is trying to create a classroom where I am the facilitator and the students move more at their own pace.  I still believe I need someone to write some algorithms for me so my students can get data reinforcement and learn in time segments that are best for them (Knewton is a company that does this, but only for math) but until that happens (and I am working on this) the video above is a very thoughtful piece that will make you ask why you do what you do when you are doing it.  Technology is the answer to improve our educational model. 

How the Egytpians Built the Pyramids

/> Open Culture posted this video clip about the work of French architect, Jean-Pierre Houdin on the Great Pyramid at Giza. Using 3-D software, Houdin argues that  the Egyptians used an external ramp for the lower part of the pyramids and an internal ramp for the higher parts. Egyptologist Bob Brier summarizes Houdin's theory in this short article.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wallwisher - Going Mobile

Wallwisher With Mobile Devices

(This link will NOT work on  mobile devices, so here is one that will if you are interested.) 

Wallwisher is a flexible web based collaborative tool that has been presented on an associated blog before.

In January some food for thought was provided on using Wallwisher to encourage questioning, and give voice to reluctant students. January Post

In early December there was a post advancing the idea of using the tool to encourage collaboration between students anywhere, including around the World. December Post

There is also another blog that appears helpful in coming up with ideas to use Wallwisher meaningfully.

NOW, take it Mobile:
Don't worry about Mobile apps (They don't seem to exist for Wallwisher yet.)

What is an educator to do??? GO SIMPLE!!!

Get a fully functional BOOKMARK for Wallwisher onto your ipad, and maybe onto other mobile devices (Sorry, I don’t have any Android devices to test the idea.)

Here is what you can do:
Step One: Open whichever web browser you use on your mobile device.

Step Two: Open the Wallwisher web site.

Step Three: Bookmark it.  

If you have a g-mail account you can use it to log into your Wallwisher account.

Then start collaborating from.......anywhere your Mobile device will take you.

U.S.H.M.M.- Holocaust Encyclopedia: “The World Must Know”

Why use the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum “Holocaust Encyclopedia”:
  • There are more resources than can be imagined on most any specific topic you or your students may want to research for learning purposes.
  • We all know there are some “elements” in our world that would argue that what we know as “The Holocaust” never happened. The resources accessible through the encyclopedia can put your students, and you, in the position to follow the call that “The World Must Know” the truth of  “The Shoah.”
How to locate The USHMM Encyclopedia
Go to the USHMM Web Site Then go to the History tab at the top of the page > Then go to the selection “Holocaust Encyclopedia”

Types of resources available through the encyclopedia articles
1. Explanatory text with hyperlinks to other related ; 2. Photographs; 3. Videos of Survivor stories; 4. Images of artifacts; 5. Maps; 6. Historical film footage; 7. Suggested further readings; 8. Links to related Podcasts; 9. Links to the article in various other languages: Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French, Farsi, Chinese, Korean, and several others.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Google+ Hangouts In Action - World History

As the December 23rd post from Ken about Google + states, there is more and more collaboration happening between teachers using this Google tool.  (See the example  embedded in that post made by Wallace of Wallace and Gromit.)

One such example of collaboration was when a “Civil War Soldier” was whisked through time from December 13th, 1862 to December 13th, 2012, where he met with a class of High School students after his time travel, answered their questions, and added to their content understanding

Sometimes students pay more attention to a “Show.” They hear more when occasionally someone else shares information. Think of the benefit to students of:  
  • Having  a member of a hunter-gatherer society visit with your classes
  • Ask a Phoenician about their culture, and how they came up with the Alphabet
  • Talk with someone from the early culture of Greece, China, Rome, or any other place being studied.
  • Hear from a feudal lord or serf about what life is like for them
  • Converse with Michelangelo and  Leonardo da Vinci
  • Listen to a trader working  the commerce routes linking Europe with Asia and Africa
  • Study the Reformation and Counter-reformation with John Wycliffe, John Calvin, Martin Luther, or an Inquisitor.......
  • Sit in a room where the  Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is discussed and signed
  • Hear from  a simple member of The Hitler Youth
  • Experience the story of a Holocaust Survivor, Liberator, Resistance Fighter, or even a Collaborationist
You get the idea. It IS necessary to “storyboard” this out, but you are capable, and we offer ourselves as “adjunct faculty” to help you develop a plan for this.  

ArcGIS Mobile App - FREE!!!

NO!!! Don’t skip over this because you have dealt in the past with a difficult to use ArcGIS product. This one really IS great!!!

I do not claim expert knowledge on this app, but you can get up and running effectively with just a bit of experimentation. Then, if you find the time to delve into the possibilities more deeply, share your findings with us.

Main Points
  • Can use GPS tool to locate a bookmark pin where you are located.  Bookmark still saved after closing and reopening app
  • Has a centering tool that allows you to move around a map, and then move back to view the spot where you are located.
Measure Area Tool (has a shape above a ruler):Geometric tool that makes shapes on the map and provides the area of the shape. (Can you say integrate Mathematics with Geography?)

Measuring Distance Tool (has two arrows above a ruler):
You can place your location on the map with the GPS function. Then tap the map at the place to which you want to know the distance.

Maps available: Basic map, Imagery, Imagery with labels, Streets, Topographic, Terrain with Labels, Light Gray Canvas, National Geographic, Oceans, OpenStreetMap, Bing Maps Aerial, Bing Maps Hybrid, Bing Maps Road

Interested??? - Click on THIS LINK to go to the esri web site with information on where to get the app.  There are links for those with: Apple Devices, Android Devices, and Windows Phone Devices. )

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to make an RSS Animate video

Paul Bogus, in his blog, Blogush, guides us through the process of making an RSS Animate style video. Studying the Louisiana Purchase, his class was having trouble digesting the textbook and making important connections. He thought an RSS Animate video might allow the kids to visualize the information, make connections, and retell “their facts in a story that had a very tight story line that flowed.” Bogus’s post shows us how to make an RSS Animate style video step by step, including the simple tools you’ll need. The process doesn't look that difficult and may be worth trying.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Project Glass & Never Leaving Your Mobile Device

Project Glass is a cool project that Google is working on right now where you literally can wear glasses and see what is in the video above.  It will make it hard to drive, but with a Google car, you won't have to even do that.  Of course, walking still might be an issue, especially in a hallway between class.  How might you adjust your class if all of your students had it? 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hitler is Hot in India

Increased sales of Mein Kampf, Hitler biographies, and even the production of a Hitler soap opera are common in India, yet there is no anti-antisemitism and no outrage as there is in other countries. Frances Coffey at Fairfax High School sent me the link to this NPR story which you can listen to here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Google+ Hangouts

If you follow me on Google+, you will have noticed that I have been having a number of meetings recently on Google+ Hangouts.  You can have them from your laptop. tablet or phone.  One, they are great if you and a few other teachers want to get together virtually and see each other.  Secondly, you can share your screen and/or Google Drive documents and third you can record a Hangout and have it automatically uploaded into Youtube.  Think of how great it would be to have guests who can't visit your school hangout with multiple classes at once.  You can also stream the Hangouts live on Youtube and then record them and have it automatically uploaded into Youtube.

To record check the box in the first screen where it says "enable hangouts."
Then all you need to do is to click on "start broadcast" and you will be on your way. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Using Social Media in the Classroom

I am thinking about having my religions class participate in a live blog next semester and maybe tweeting about religious issues using a hash tag I create for the class. Here are the reflections of a graduate school teacher who had his kids use Twitter for that purpose last semester. He argues that these media allow students to write across different genres and to connect the material in class to the world around them.  Overall, he thought it went well and described twitter as a “third space” for his class but noted that he would do a number of things differently if he were to use twitter again. For example, instead of asking kids to tweet a number of times each week, he would ask them to tweet on specific days so students would not wait until the last day and simply do all three tweets at once.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Vatican Library

The only thing I watch on tv these days are Redskins' games.  But I do watch some 60 Minute videos on the computer.  The one above on the Vatican's library is amazing. It talks about this incredible depository which includes (and they show all of this) writings of Michelangelo, letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn (complete w. love hearts), Columbus' best selling book, many colorful books hand made before the printing press, a map of the world 50 years before Columbus sailed to the US and more. 

Cold War Simulation

Teacher David Harms has developed an interactive simulation on how to learn the Cold War by making decision on the world's survival.  Obviously the more students participate in their learning, the more they will learn.  Above is a video explaining how it is done.  Here is a link to his site. 

The Spanish Reconquista

This Spanish website allows you to trace the routes of Jews in Spain over more than a thousand years. You can explore the site through interactive maps and chronologies like the ones above. Click on July 1492,and a history of the expulsion of the Jews by Ferdinand and Isabella pops up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Googe Drive iPad App

Starting in mid January my freshmen and I will be starting a pilot for iPads and our e-book for our textbook company.  To that end I am trying to get everything ready.  One of the apps that will be loaded on the tablets will be Google Drive.  Above is a video I found on a new site iPads For School that is a tutorial on how to use Google Drive and one my students and I will watch when we get the devices. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Google Docs Assignment Tracker

If you have trouble keeping track of all your Google doc assignments, as I do, this Google Form, should solve our problems. Here's how it works: you create a short Google Form for your in box, students then complete the form with a link to their Google doc assignment. The form automatically populates a spreadsheet with all the assignments. If you click on the picture in the story, you can see the form you need to create.

YouTube Without Ads

My colleague, Frances Coffey, sent me this link that allows you to show YouTube videos without the advertisements. Simply go to SafeShare and paste the link and click "Generate Safe Link". A new page will open with your video.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hunt for Genghis Khan's Tomb

Thanks to eagle eyes Rebecca Small for finding this article from Newsweek that discusses the hunt to find the tomb of the great Mongol leader Genghis Khan's tomb. It is a fascinating read that, among others, discusses the fight over whether he was Chinese or Mongolian in origin and if he is the father of the Y chromosome which has 16 million male descendants world wide. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Qwikis for Multi Level Summaries

View Industrial Revolution and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Qwiki came out two years ago and has become a way to quickly edit your personal videos.  But for me it was a way to create a sound video, show pictures and have written text for most historical items.  Now you can only find the videos by going to a search engine and typing " + whatever you are looking for."  So above is one on the Industrial Revolution as an example. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 in Review

Connect Your Class to Students Oversseas

 Face to Faith is a free website that lets you set up a video conference (in a safe online conference) with students speaking to one another about religion and living with it in their countries.   To be part of the program, you do have to go through an online training through the First Amendment Center.  You can do it during any time.  So for example you could partner with schools in India for a Hinduism unit and you could have a different class.  You need to do it at least ten days in advance to set up the logistics of the conference.   You also will be given a moderator for the conference who will run the class.  The center also has five lessons you can choose to use.   The only piece you must do is a 20 minute introductory module which helps in discussing issues with the students abroad.  If you are interested register on the site, register and get going.  

Remind101 for Homework Reminders

I have done a few posts on Remind101 which is a way to remind your students using texting about their homework.  It allows you to preset a time and it is blind texting in that the teachers never see the student cell phone numbers and it is one way so students cannot text you.  Above is a how to video and here are written instructions.  

Flipping the Classroom and How to Create Screencasts

Frank and I are presenting to the high school social studies chairs today on when you might want to use a flipped classroom and how to create the screencast for it.

Above are the easy directions on how to create a screencast using Screencastomatic which is free and does not require you to have a login/password.  You will need a Youtube account (comes with your gmail) into which you can place it.

The top video and the Prezi explains when, how and why to integrate the flipped classroom into your repertoire.   

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Google Forms for Teachers

If you are like me and have trouble with making Google forms, then you should check out this article with links to several pre-made forms for self-grading quizzes. You can find the article and forms here at "Educational Technology and Mobile Learning."

Who Was the Real Mona Lisa?

Researchers are digging graves in an area where they believe the woman behind Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is buried.  Based on forensic evidence they should be able to reconstruct a visual of the face and come within 2% of what she might have looked like 500 years ago. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Religion in Japan

We watch this after a short lecture on Japan. It is about how Shintoism and Buddhism co-exist there. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Screenr Makes Screencast for Link or to Publish on Youtube

I love Screencastomatic, butScreenr is an alternative that allows you to keep your videos on their site or on Youtube.  This would allow students to get a link they could share with a teacher Above is a video explaining how easy it is to do.  I have been looking for something this for a while as I want to easily make my students record "flip class videos."  I found this from a Google+ post by Anne Marie Rowley

Thursday, December 6, 2012

iPad Gestures or How to Toggle

So a textbook publisher for my students' e-books has asked me to try out their new iPad e-book to see what my students think of it.  To do so they are willing to give us 30 iPads for a month of use.  Actually other than completely changing the way I teach and my students have been learning this essentially is just an opportunity for us to learn since they aren't giving the school anything!! Initially I was hesitant, but since I love learning new things, I think I will accept the offer despite the shortcomings.  Already one nice thing I have figured out is that there are gestures you can do to more easily maneuver between documents.  So if that is you, then this might be helpful as well as this to turn on the gestures.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fakebook Gallery and Project Ideas

I've done a number of posts on Fakebook which allows you to create a historical discussion between many people, put in their pictures, have friends, etc.  In fact it looks very much like the real thing, but no login/password is required (can you tell it is actually made by a real teacher!).  But I just noticed via FreeTech4Teachers that the creator of Fakebook now has a gallery of historical figures which is updated each day. If you want to show your students examples before you start a project, it is tremendous.

If you want to see how I give the assignment to my students, go to it here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Albert Einstein Interview

We are so used to looking at pictures of Albert Einstein, but here is actual footage and you can even hear him (and his accent) talking.  I like to show kids items such as this to literally bring people alive. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Web Search Strategies in Plain English

Art Treasures of the Mughal Empire

The historian and writer, William Dalrymple, has an excellent article about the art of Mughal Empire in The Guardian. The British Library is showcasing their art in what Dalrymple calls a spectacular show. Dalymple notes Mughal art was unlike Persian art in that that it is much more liberal and much more colorful than traditional Islamic art. Persians disdained it because it did not conform to the geometric patterns characteristic of most Islamic art.  The exhibit is huge with 215 objects on display.

The article is full of history and I am thinking of printing it out and giving it to my AP World students as we begin our study of the Gunpowder empires this week. Dalrymple is an excellent writer. You might check out his books, the Last Mughal, or Nine Lives.