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Posts tagged ‘wiebe’

Need an awesome digital storytelling tool? Adobe Spark is the answer

I’ve been a fan of Adobe digital tools ever since I started playing with Voice several years ago. And have continued to fall in love as they added Slate and Post. All three provide incredibly powerful and easy to use tools for creating digital stories.

Post is designed to quickly create professional graphics. Slate focused on creating magazine style web-based stories letting you and students mix text and images in a highly visual way. Voice let you create animated videos by combining text, images, icons and themes on slides and then laid your own voice over the slides as a narrative for the finished video product.

I like that they provide both push and pull options – teachers can use them to create resources that they push out to students. Kids can use them to create products that teachers can pull in. All three tools are connected with the Adobe Creative Cloud, making it easy for users to find copyright free images to use in their projects. While not as powerful as Adobe’s pro tools such as Photoshop and InDesign, all three have some pretty amazing features making them accessible to teachers and students just by tapping buttons.

I also loved the fact that all three tools are free.

The problem was that all three were iOS only – available for iPhone and iPad users only. Eventually a web-based version of Slate did become available. But many were still locked out of the other tools.

Until this week. Read more

Federal Reserve has got the goods

Integrating economic concepts and big ideas into social studies lesson and unit design seems like it shouldn’t be a big deal. But if you’re like me, you probably don’t have a ton of econ background.

So it’s always nice to have a few handy resources rattling around in your tool kit when designing instruction. And the US Federal Reserve banking system has got you covered. With twelve regional banks around the country, each with their own education department, the Federal Reserve has an amazing storehouse of educational materials and lesson plan ideas.

To help organize their stash and to make it easier for you to find what you need, the Reserve created a dedicated site designed specifically for teachers. And you know it’s good because they names the site Federal Reserve Education. I mean, it’s right there in title.

fed res 2Start your search by selecting the link to Find Your Federal Reserve District. Then click on any one of the 12 districts, select View Resources, and narrow your results by using the filters along the left side. This allows you to browse through specific regional banks such as St. Louis or Boston. You can also search a specific region’s resources  by using the keyword search located at the top of the page. Read more

How to lie with maps

In one of my favorite map books, How to Lie With Maps, Mark Monmonier suggests that Americans are taught from an early age to analyze and understand the meaning and manipulation of words in areas such as advertising, political campaigns, and the news. He calls it being “cautious consumers of words.” I’m not entirely convinced that we actually do a very good job of this (though I think we are getting better at having kids close read text and recognize bias.)

But I do agree with his statement that we rarely teach the same skills about maps. Many social studies teachers seem unsure of what and how to teach geography thinking skills and so kids often leave our classrooms without the tools they need to be successful.

A recent article by Andrew Wiseman titled When Maps Lie: Tips from a Geographer on How to Avoid Being Fooled can help. Read more

Tip of the Week: DPLA primary source sets

Several years ago, I ran across the Digital Public Library of America, a very cool online archive of primary sources, teaching ideas, and depository of all sorts of history collections. I wrote a quick overview of the DLPA and highlighted some of the useful tools that were available. It continues to be a powerful resource and is one of those non-negotiable sites that all social studies teachers need to bookmark.

Recently, Samantha Gibson from the DPLA contacted me with an update on their latest project. The project, Read more

3 things you need to do before July

Seriously? It’s the middle of May? Already? There was snow just a few weeks ago and today kids all over are in final countdown mode. But before you close the door on 2016-2017, there are three things you need to do.

So in no particular order: Read more

All Over the Map needs to be your new geo fav

Most of you know I’m a sucker for maps.

As a ten year old, I ordered a $75 historical atlas of the United States to be delivered to my house – without any way to pay for it. There were maps on the walls in my childhood room. I read, and continue to read, books about maps. I grew up poring over the map inserts in the monthly National Geographic magazine.

So you can understand why I’m pumped about All Over the Map, National Geographic’s new geography focused blog. It’s so new that there are only two posts so far. But the potential is huge. How do I know? Read more

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