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TED-Ed Clubs. Yup. TED-Ed just got better.

I’m convinced that the TED-Ed tool is one of the most under-utilized online tools ever. Where else can you incorporate sweet TED videos, YouTube videos, a variety of assessment tools, automatic scoring, flipped classroom theory, online collaboration, instant feedback to teacher and student, the power of crowds, and get it all for free?

That’s right. Nowhere else.

So.

Step one:
Head over to TED-Ed and start using it.

Step two:
Check out their latest feature. TED-Ed Clubs. Read more

Tip of the Week: 100+ map and chart visuals that jump-start discussion

It’s no secret. I love maps. I’m pretty sure maps love me. Big. Small. Old. New. Treasure.

I love ‘em all.

And the cool thing about the InterWebs is that someone is always making new maps that I can fall in love with. Recently it’s been the Washington Post.

We’re all visual people and the brain loves to look at stuff. So all of the maps and charts listed below would work great as writing prompts, hook activities to introduce units and lessons, resources for research, basic geography skills, part of PBL projects, or to simply act as a sweet way to jump-start a current events discussion.

But I’m also sure that you’ll come up with all sorts of things that I haven’t thought about. (Don’t forget to use the links associated with each map to help your kids explore deeper.)

Here we go:

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Using evidence and primary analysis worksheets

There’s a cool buzz running through the history education world.

Primary sources. Documents. Using evidence. Solving problems. Historical thinking. And that’s a good thing. But I know that it can be difficult sometimes trying to figure out how to use primary sources.

First piece of advice?

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Everyslide = SlideShare+Socrative

Disclaimer right from the get go. I haven’t played with EverySlide a lot. So  . . . head over, try it yourself, and let me know what you think. But based on the amount of time that I’ve had to mess with it, EverySlide seems like a handy tool to have hanging off your tool belt.

At its most basic level, EverySlide is a web-based tool that lets you share your presentation slides with whomever you want. So it’s a lot like SlideShare or Issuu. Upload your slides, share a link, people can view the slides anywhere/anytime.

But there is a difference.

EverySlide also has a little bit of Socrative or Kahoot embedded in it. It’s designed to be a live presentation tool so that whenever you’re talking, your participants follow along on their own devices. You can still project your slides but the idea is that you control the flow of the preso from your device. Kids do have the option to go back and review slides you’ve already covered but they can’t go forward.

And here’s the kicker.

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Smithsonian X 3D and using artifacts in your classroom

A few weeks ago, the folks over at Educational Technology and Mobile Learning posted a very cool article about the equally cool Smithsonian X3D site. The Smithsonian has over 137 million objects in its collection and is able to display 1% of that to the public. The X3D project is designed to find a way to digitize in 2D and 3D at least part of the remaining 99%.

The cool part? You can begin using the site right now to bring artifacts directly into your classroom.

We’ve always known the power of primary sources and artifacts to help our students make sense of the past. Things become much more real to kids when they can touch and hold stuff. And while the Smithsonian X3D tool doesn’t actually let them hold artifacts, it’s as real as you can get without traveling to Washington D.C.

The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.

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Twitter in the Classroom: Green, Blue, and Black

I’m not that good at it but I still love to snow ski. My family does too. And we try to go at least once a year.

But we always run into trouble. Son wants harder slopes than the old man wants to mess with. Daughter wants steep but no bumps. Wife looks for groomed runs that let her avoid the more difficult moguls.

This is where the handy-dandy ski trail classification system becomes very useful. Green circles designate beginner level runs, blue squares equal intermediate difficulty, and black diamonds identify advanced trails.

FYI. I avoid most black diamonds. I value my knees.

But I like the system. Even on unfamiliar slopes, we all know what we’re getting into. Green. Blue. Black. Everybody can pick the level that best fits their ability and interest.

Last week, I had the opportunity to work with a great K-12 staff as they explored the possibility of using Twitter in their classrooms and as a professional development tool.

And we used the idea of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced as a way to help teachers pick their level of engagement. Teachers new to Twitter explored the basics and advanced users felt free to began messing with things like live chats and third party apps. It worked pretty well so I figured I’d share some of those goodies here. Read more

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