Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grade 5 Class Winners of Digital Earth Day Contest

The student's in Mrs. Halsall's grade 5 class in White Rock School were recognized as winners of the Glogster Edu Earth Day Contest. The contest required students/classes to develop digital posters that explore methods to go green in your community. The Glog they created contains text, images, video and audio.  Mrs. Halsall used a Flip Digital Video Camera to record her students. She worked with Mr. Walker to edit the videos and publish them on the Glog.The students were awarded a copy of the DVD Freedom by Sundance Film Festival Award Winners Josh & Rebecca Tickell.

Glogster EDU is a web 2.0 site that our district subscribes to. It provides our students with the opportunity to create digital posters. These digital posters allow for the addition of text, images, audio, video, drawings and file attachments. Students design and develop these posters and then present the content to their classmates. You can read more of my postings about the benefits of digital posters here.


Congratulations to Mrs. Halsall's class! You can view their Glog here. 



Monday, May 21, 2012

A Personal Interview With A Forensic Psychologist

On May 17, Miss Zegas's AP Psychology classes engaged in a Skype conference with Dr. Shari Berkowitz at Roosevelt University,  The conference was sparked by an overwhelming interest in memory and attention by the AP Psychology students.

Dr. Berkowitz is a forensic psychologist who specializes in memory, the creation of false memories, and was a former research assistant of Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a world-renowned expert in eyewitness testimony.  Dr. Berkowitz shared information about her background as well as research on planting false memories and investigations of the criminal justice system with the AP Psychology students and then began a Q&A session.

At the end of the session, Dr. Berkowitz shared more about her job as a forensic psychologist outside of teaching and gave the class some tips to prepare for college.  After the conference ended, a thank you e-mail was sent to Dr. Berkowitz who replied "Your students asked great questions, and I was impressed with their ability to think creatively and critically about the research." On May 18, all AP Psychology students wrote Dr. Berkowitz personalized thank you notes for her willingness to Skype with them and teach them more about rich false memories.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Middle School Spanish Class Takes a Virtual Field Trip to Mexico

The student's in Ms. Febres's 7'th grade Spanish classes video conferenced with students from a K-12 school located in Mexico City called Nuevo Continente. Ms. Febres coordinated the video conference session with 4 of her classes.  During each video conference session the students exchanged questions. The students from Mexico spoke in English and our students spoke in Spanish.

This was a very engaging and rewarding experience for all of the students involved. It provided an authentic experience for students to apply their knowledge of their target language. It also proved to be enlightening as the students learned about their similarities and differences. Ms. Febres is planning to continue with this connection moving forward. We are discussing plans for small group exchanges using or mobile devices.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Google Earth.. Not your typical classroom map!

Google Earth has been available as a free download for computers and mobile devices since 2005. The core feature set is a mapping of the earth using satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D Globe technology.

Google earth can be downloaded and installed for free. Click here to download.  Once opened you can start navigating the world.  Users can zoom in on a particular continent, country, state, city, landmark or house! You can fly around a location to view pertinent information foryour lesson. If you are discussing Mount Rushmore, why not fly to it on Google Earth and show it to your students. You can also pan the area as well as put the location of it compared to other locations in perspective for students.  

I would like to highlight some of the features available in Google Earth that would be valuable additions to the classroom.

Street Views

When you zoom into a city or landmark Google provides access to street level views. When in street view you can fly through the streets of a city or walk right up to a famous landmark. Do you want to show your students what the streets of Rome are like? Fly there on Google Earth and enter street view? Do you want a close-up of the Eiffel Tower? Street views are easy to use. This tutorial will help you get started. (Youtube access required to view the tutorial)



Once you navigate to a desired location there are numerous layers that can be activated. These include images, video clips, Wikipedia entries, roads, 3d buildings, geographic features, real-time weather and traffic, historical map overlays, roads, borders, water bodies and even U.S. Senators and Congressional Districts. The layers are accessed on the lower left side. Click the boxes to turn them on and off. You can learn more about the layers here.


Historical Imagery

Within the Google Earth Gallery and Layers are options to turn on and overlay historical maps onto Google Earth. The Rumsey Historical Maps collection is a great example of historical maps available in the layers that can be over-layed on Google Earth. There are also a number of historical maps available in the Google Earth Gallery. If you click on View—Historical Maps from the top toolbar you will be presented with a slider bar that allows you to view a particular area at a historical point in time. This is useful when viewing damage from a natural disaster or the effects of global warming.


Earth, Moon, Mars and Sky

Did you know that you can also view the Moon, Mars and the Solar System in the same way you fly around earth?  Open up Google Earth and click on VIEW—Explore and select the location you would like to visit .


Google Earth Tours

Google Earth allows users to place bookmarks at particular locations. When you apply a bookmark you are also provided with a bubble where you can add information about that location. That bubble may contain text, images, videos, hyperlinks or audio narration. A user may create an automated tour that will fly from bookmark to bookmark. When each location is reached the bubble will appear and the content may be viewed.

There are thousands of pre-made tours available in the Google Earth Gallery or online by simply searching for Google Earth Tours. Some sample student projects may include a tour of the battles of the civil war or the a guided tour of a novel. Google Lit Trips has some great literacy based tours available.

There are tours of states, countries, historical events, climbs of Mount Everest and much more. These can be engaging and informative classroom lessons. Students may create tours or teachers may create and share them.


Ruler, GPS and Flight Simulator

Under the tools menu in Google Earth you will find a ruler that can be used to measure exact distance between two location in miles or kilometers. There is also a full blown flight simulator!


Google Earth offers a variety of resources to make lessons interactive, engaging, informative and relevant. Why not take your students on a guided tour of the locations your are discussing. How about replacing a PowerPoint project with an option to create a Google Earth Tour. You can learn more about creating Google Earth Tours here. Visit my wiki page for more resources here.