The Post in Which I Remember Google Earth is Awesome!

Mar 28, 2012 by

I’m a HUGE fan of Google Earth. Ever since the terribly buggy and laggy days of its first incarnations, I’ve used the resources provided by it, oogled monumental structures from space, and found ways to encourage teachers to use it more in their classroom. Sometimes I get pushback from teachers wanting a resource that’s more accessible to students, doesn’t require the internet, and will always be there even if the power goes out (I believe they call these things maps, and they’re printed on paper). Other times I get teachers looking for ways to provide the sort of visuals that wouldn’t be possible with any form of conventional maps, and love all of the layers and information that the infinitely extensible Google Earth can provide. Whichever is the case, I find that if I’m not actually teaching, I forget about how amazingly and ridiculously awesome Google Earth is, which...

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Hunting Trolls in History

Oct 5, 2011 by

At the great risk of people thinking that I am either a very poor student of history, or a closet racist (both of which I can strongly assure you I am not), I created this digital artifact as an example of how you could stir a debate, a discussion, or prompt a deeper exploration of an issue in a history course, specifically one dealing with Antebellum America. In the interest of full disclosure, I created this work based on a Design Assignment for ds106 entitled “Triple Troll Attack”, in which an image of a character or individual (Lincoln) is juxtaposed with a quote from a related individual (Douglas), and provided credit to a third individual (Jefferson) who may or may not be loosely related. The idea of being a troll on the internet is simple; post and/or create something so¬†inflammatory¬†that it evokes some emotion from others (either good or...

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3 Ways to Use Wordle for More Than Fluff

Feb 8, 2011 by

The visual word clouds created by Wordle and other word cloud services on the web aren’t anything new, they’ve been around for a few years. However, like a great many newer web 2.0 tools, I quite often see a lot of ineffective use of these tools in the classroom. That’s not to say I think the teachers themselves are ineffective, in fact it’s usually the most tech savvy and educational effective teachers that are using tools like Wordle. However, as even these tech savvy teachers keep up with the changing landscape of educational tools, not enough time is often available to closely examine a new website to carefully dissect what the tool is capable of, and how it might be used most effectively. Too often a larger number of teachers get caught up in the “wow” factor of some great new ability of the read/write web (does anyone still...

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The Evolution of Classroom Technology

Feb 1, 2011 by

Found via the Twitter stream today is a link to The New York Times visual timeline of classroom technology and how it has evolved over the last few centuries. Starting in 1650 with a simple Horn-Book (the finest schoolroom technology of the American Colonial Era), the interactive time line covers 26 of some of the most significant changes in classroom tech, all the way through the 2010 introduction of Apple’s hugely popular tablet computing device, the iPad. Each new invention is displayed with a brief description of the learning tool, and either it’s year of invention, or roughly the years it was used widely. For example, the “Magic Lantern” was once all the rage in Chicago Public Schools between 1870 and World War 1. However, that’s just about where the usefulness of the time line runs out. While it’s interesting to see the progression of instructional technology, or rather...

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