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Posts from the ‘cool’ Category

Best posts 2017: BreakoutEDU and student engagement

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much Chex Mix, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read seven of the most popular History Tech posts from 2017. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


Escape rooms.

I’ve never tried it but people I know who have done the escape room thing say the experience is awesome. If you’re not familiar with the concept, head over and take a quick peek at one example from the TV show The Big Bang Theory.

The idea is that you are “locked” into a room with a time limit. There are clues scattered around that you must find and figure out. These clues eventually lead to a key or passcode that you can use to escape from the room and win the challenge.

Escape rooms are great examples of the research that suggests the brain loves solving problems and novelty. When we experience new and intriguing tasks, reward chemicals are released – cementing learning and retention.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a couple of teachers adapted the escape room idea to their classrooms. James Sanders and Mark Hammons developed an activity that they titled BreakoutEDU. But instead of escaping from an actual room, BreakoutEDU players solve clues to open a series of locks and boxes with the ultimate goal of getting into the final Breakout box.

And the cool thing? Read more

1000s of historical Sanborn insurance maps. Cause . . . the more maps the better

I spent yesterday in Topeka, working with KSDE social studies guru Don Gifford and a few others such as @MsKoriGreen and @NHTOYMc to develop the next state assessment. Still in alpha version with beta testing in 2018-2019 but lots of fun talking about what it should look like.

It’s gonna be very cool btw – student focused, locally measured, aligned to historical thinking / literacy skills, and problem based. Look for an update on latest test goodness soon.

So we were all over the place in our conversation. Part of our discussion centered on ways to integrate all of the social studies into the work students will be doing. Including geography. So my mind went to maps. Really cool historical maps. And what it might look like when we use really cool historical maps with kids. So I got a bit sidetracked and did a quick interwebs search for really cool historical maps.

Piece of advice. Don’t do this unless you’ve got more than a few minutes to kill. Cause you will end up in a rabbit hole of geography map goodness. Plus I saved you the trouble.

During my poking around, I ran across the Library of Congress Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps collection. It’s got all the cool historical mapness you’ll need today. Read more

1600 app: Experience the White House in Augmented Reality

I still have a ton of stuff to share from the #ncss16 History Nerdfest but I thought I’d share this post from the White House about a very cool augmented reality tool that I heard about over the weekend.

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What’s it like to attend a state dinner at the White House? Or see Marine One land on the South Lawn?

From hosting festivals on the South Lawn to allowing people to explore its rooms via Google Street View, President Obama has used traditional events and new technology to open up the doors of the White House to more Americans than ever before.

The White House is excited to share a new way for you to experience 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — and all you need is a smartphone and a dollar bill.

 

Check it out now: Download the app, point your smartphone camera at a dollar bill, and you’ll see an interactive, 3D video of White House pop up – with narration.

whitehousear2

As you experience a year at the White House – from the Easter Egg Roll to a State Arrival Ceremony – you’ll see that even as seasons and people change, the White House endures as an institution of American democracy. That’s why we teamed up with the White House Historical Association and Nexus Studios to create this augmented reality experience – to educate and inspire Americans to learn all about what the People’s House stands for.

Whether it’s seen on a teacher’s desk or around a dining room table, we hope you enjoy and share this new way of taking a peek inside the White House.

So, give it a try: If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download 1600 here. Or if you have an Android phone or Android tablet, you can get it here.

11 awesome places to visit with Google Cardboard

My current kick is virtual reality. I’m loving Google Cardboard and their new Expeditions app. And there are more and more tools showing up that take advantage of the VR buzz.

Some of the latest I’ve found are the Google Arts and Culture app and website, a very cool NPR tour of Rocky Mountain National Park, and some sweet pre-built tours at Nearpod. There will be more.

But if you’re still trying to figure out places to go and cool stuff to look at, the simple Google Street View app that goes quickly to 3D view and the basic Google Maps Street View button can take you all over the world. Seriously, Google has sent their pano cameras everywhere.

Start with these eleven very cool places: Read more

Your world is about to change. Cause . . . Smithsonian Learning Labs

You may have seen the TV commercial where the tops of peoples head blow off because of the amazing new tool the ad is trying to sell.

The brand new Smithsonian Learning Lab is like that. This will change how you and your kids collect, organize, share, and analyze primary evidence. It is seriously that good.

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access created the Smithsonian Learning Lab to inspire the discovery and creative use of its rich digital materials—more than 1.3 million images, recordings, and texts. And Darren Milligan, head of the Learning Lab, says that they are digitizing a new resource every six seconds.

It is easy to find something of interest because search results display pictures rather than lists. Whether you’ve found what you were looking for or just discovered something new, it’s easy to personalize it. Add your own notes and tags, incorporate discussion questions, and save and share. The Learning Lab makes it simple. By encouraging users to create and share personalized collections of Smithsonian assets and user-generated resources, the Learning Lab aspires to build a global community of learners who are passionate about adding to and bringing to light new knowledge, ideas, and insight.

There are three basic parts to Learning Lab: Read more

Doing the Cardboard

I first wrote about Google Cardboard last fall and have continued to fall in love with the tool. So full of educational potential. So cool. So engaging.

It’s like the James Bond of edtech tools. Seriously. If you’re not playing around with this already, you need to be.

In a nutshell, Google Cardboard is a way for you and your kids to experience 360 degree virtual reality in an inexpensive and relatively painless way. VR tools, apps, and software have been in the works for a few years now but it wasn’t something that could really be translated into the classroom.

You may have heard about something called the Oculus Rift. Very, very cool. But not very practical. I mean . . . at $600 per unit and with the need for a high end computer to boot, not something most schools will be ordering anytime soon.

But Google Cardboard provides Read more