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CoffeeEdu, personal professional growth, and large amounts of caffeine

Mary Frazier is so smart. Seriously. She’s been a classroom teacher. A technology coach. And now a teacher again. She’s had the chance to work with lots of people. Read a lot of books and try a lot of different instructional strategies. Mary has also had all sorts of opportunities to explore technology tools.

So when she talks, I listen.

And today she said Read more

3D multimedia storytelling with Story Spheres

I’ve been head over heels for virtual and augmented reality for the last year or so.

There just seems like there is so many different ways to use VR to connect students with content. There are emotional connections, the ability to build empathy, a chance to immerse kids into specific places, to connect past and present, to link geography with events.

This ability to build connections make the use of virtual reality tools such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear a no-brainer for social studies teachers. I posted a ton of VR and AR resources a few months ago that highlights some basic steps, resources, and tools that you can use to get started.

But one of the things several of us have been hashing around is that much of the VR and AR tools are consume only. The end user of most tools simply looks at or experiences something. The app does all the work.

A perfect example is the very cool Google Expeditions app. I love the tool and its ability to take your kids to lots of places. But it is very teacher driven and the content is pushed out to and consumed by the students.

The good news is that more tools are being developed that allow students to not just consume VR content but to create it as well. The Google StreetView mobile app has always had the capacity to capture 360 degree images but few educators knew about the feature and fewer took advantage of that option. And the Google Cardboard Camera app is designed to easily create 360 photospheres.

But one of my new favorite tools that encourage kids to create rather than just consume is a website called Read more

Tip of the week: New Google Earth. Great! And . . . meh.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you that I am a huge Google Earth nerd. I love geography. I love maps. I love Google.

It’s a simple formula. A + B = C. Maps + Google = Google Earth nerd.

So when Google pushed out an online version of GE this week, all was right with the world. At least until I started digging into it a little bit. Don’t get me wrong. Any time I can play with an online Google tool, it’s a good day.

The new version does have a few cool features. But I’m just a little disappointed that  Read more

World War One Museum = educational resource goodness

It’s been a while. Between spring break, family visits, emergency home repairs, college basketball March Madness, work related travel, and late night viewing of latest NetFlix fave Frontier, I’ve fallen behind a bit on the updates here.

It feels good to be back.

One of the things I missed over the last few weeks was the April 6 ceremony in Kansas City at the World War One Museum. The event commemorated the centennial of America’s entry into World War One. In case you missed it too, you can view the archived live stream online. And when you’re finished with browsing through the ceremony video, head back to the main section of the Museum site for other very useful resources. But be sure to budget some time – you quickly get sucked into the

The mission of the museum is pretty simple. National World War I Museum president Dr. Matthew Naylor outlines its purpose:

The National World War I Museum and Memorial is committed to remembering, understanding and interpreting the Great War and its enduring impact and this event underscores how this calamitous conflict continues to significantly affect everyone to this day.

The Museum was designated by Congress as the official WWI museum in 2004. And it is incredible. Soon after World War I ended,  the Liberty Memorial Association formed to create a memorial to those who had served in the war and collected more than $2.5 million in less than two weeks. A tower was constructed along with displays. Later, in 2006, additional museum space was added.

What are some of the tools available? Read more

Need some EdTech Gear advice?

I’ve always enjoyed Jonathan Wylie’s stuff. He’s got fingers in lots of pies spending time at the Grant Woods AEA Digital Learning Team, on Twitter, and his own incredibly useful site. He always has great ideas, I especially like his How To posts.

Late last year, he developed something new called EdTech Gear Guides. We’re all looking for the best ways to integrate technology into our instructional designs. And there’s always a ton of great ideas out there but it can be difficult getting all of the details and gadgets and tools and gear to actually pull off that great idea.

That’s where EdTech Gear Guides can help. The guides are: Read more

National Women’s History Month lessons and resources

In 1975, the United Nations declared March to be International Women’s History Month and March 8 International Women’s Day. Later, in 1981, several women’s groups convinced Congress to declare a national Women’s History Week in the United States. In 1987, after lobbying by the National Women’s History Project, Congress expanded the week to a month.

The point is pretty obvious. March gives us a chance to take a very intentional look at the impact of women in history. It’s also a great time to examine how we can all work together to improve the rights and living conditions of women and girls around the world. But like other history months, don’t let March fool you. This is not a one time thing. Like I said back in February:

Too many of us still use February to have kids memorize random black history facts and call it good. (We also seem to have a habit of doing the same thing with women’s history and Latino history and Asian American history and Native American history and . . . well, you get the idea.)

Integrating the beliefs, values, actions, and impact of women into our content is an ongoing, year long process. But it’s a habit we need to get into and it can sometimes be difficult finding resources to plan lessons and units around.

Need a few starters? Kick off your research here Read more