It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I mean, it’s not Christmas or the first four days of the NCAA basketball tournament or the magical four consecutive days in Kansas when it’s 75 degrees and there’s no wind. But it’s pretty close.
It’s MACE. I really enjoy this annual Kansas tech conference ritual. Great sessions. Great people. Great venue. And the best part of MACE 2014 last week? I got the chance to lead a conversation with a full room of folks about using video games to teach social studies. We spent 45 minutes talking about reasons to use games, ways to use games, and different kinds of games – including the potential of MineCraftEDU, SimCityEDU, and serious games.
And no, 45 minutes is not enough time. It was definitely a tip of the iceberg sort of the thing.
But still a great time. My hope was that people would walk away open to the idea of looking into the idea of using video games and sims as part of their social studies instruction. In Kansas, we continue to push the idea of historical thinking skills and video games can be a huge part of that process.
My sticky idea for the presentation? Rewiring brains is a good thing. It’s how kids learn. And video games can help you rewire the brains of your kids.
Get a sense of our conversation by clicking through my short preso: Read more
I’ve been planning to talk about Thinglink for months. I had the chance to learn more about this last spring and, well . . . I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve been busy. The dog ate my homework. The internet was down. There was football to watch. There was basketball to watch.
Basically I pushed it to a back burner, told myself that I would play with it some more, and never did.
But I was reminded today at MACE 14 about how cool Thinglink is and all of the awesome stuff you can do with it. So today a quick review and sample.
Thinglink is an online tool that lets you and your students Read more
It’s that time of year. The MACE tech conference in Manhattan opened its doors this morning and I’m loving it. It is about as nerdy a place as you can find – in a good way, of course. Just a lot of smart people getting together and sharing tech ideas / resources. I always learn so much and meet so many cool folks.
(Cody, my marketing boss at ESSDACK, would want me to mention our own very nerdy tech conference called Podstock. He would want me to let you know that Podstock is July 16-18 at the Old Town Conference Center in Wichita. He would also want me to share that early registration with a $50 discount ends June 1 and that the pre-conference is already about 75% full.
But it seems a bit weird to share information about our tech conference while I’m attending another tech conference, so I’ll probably just tell Cody that I did talk about Podstock held in Wichita on July 16-18 and hope he buys it.)
So the focus here is on the great sessions I get to attend and the ideas that I run across. I’ll share as much as can. Have fun! Read more
Looking for some resources to help with class discussions on the crisis in Ukraine? Here’s a quick short list.
Teaching resources and lesson plans:
And don’t go anywhere without checking out what Larry Ferlazzo has to share both here and here.
Lisa from Maryland stopped by the other day to browse the Google Maps Gallery post and left a quick comment about the similarities of the Maps Gallery and a site called WhatWasThere.
(Lisa works as a Secondary Social Studies Mentor in the Howard County Public Schools and also made sure to pass on another great D-Day photo source and oral history archive.)
I had never heard of WhatWasThere. I’ve heard of HistoryPin. And Histografica. And I’ve even heard of Smithsonian’s interactive maps. But WhatWasThere?
Nope. And it’s so cool. How have I not run across this before?
The WhatWasThere folks say that their project
was inspired by the realization that we could leverage technology and the connections it facilitates to provide a new human experience of time and space – a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past.
The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world.
And for the last few years, they’ve been collecting old photos and pasting them onto Google Maps around the world.
Using the site couldn’t be much simpler. Read more