Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Environmental Intelligence Unit (Web Activity)

via EIU

Here is an example of British tax dollars hard at work for online resources. The Environmental Intelligence Unit website gives students the opportunity to practice their skills with recycling, reusing, reducing, and a mystery "R." It's a fun and educational activity the BBC developed for UK elementary students; however, the topic is equally relevant for students stateside.

via EIU

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lincoln Legacy Learning Kits

Here's an example of an amazing resource that's free for Illinois teachers, the Lincoln Legacy Learning Kits courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Any resident in Illinois with access to a local public library can simply check out a suitcase filled with resources such as artifacts, books, primary sources, and DVDs related to one of four topics (inter-library loan #s provided):
  1. Abraham Lincoln Biography Reading Kit(OCLC#244638162),
  2. Mary Todd Lincoln(OCLC#244638165),
  3. Civil War Soldiers Kit(OCLC#244637504), or
  4. Slavery in Illinois(OCLC#244638607).
Once ordered, these suitcases are delivered to your public library (where you also return it within 14 days).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Netflix Queues via GIS

Who's renting Twilight? via NY Times

Here's yet another fascinating use of GIS technology. (I blogged about free GIS applications in a previous post.) This technology is even more powerful when a teacher can reference popular culture for "educational purposes." For example, check out this NY Times article that provides interactive maps detailing Netflix users' DVD queues via GIS technology. Interactive city maps include New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Bay Area (e.g., San Francisco), L.A., Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami. A great use of these maps is having students compare rental patterns (e.g., Twilight, Milk, Taken, Doubt) to Census demographics presented through gCensus and Google Earth. That is, what variables seem to attribute to the high number of Twilight rentals in certain neighborhoods? Number of teenage children or number of single adults? Ok, kidding aside (I should actually see the movie before I criticize it), this article is a great example of how map analysis (with a pop culture spin) and GIS can be made even more accessible in the classroom.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A "Smart(er) Board" for less than $50 (Projector not included)

Last fall, I was introduced to this amazing use for a Nintendo Wii remote. Basically, for a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost of a Promethean Board or Smart Board, you can build your own. You just need software (free download), an LCD project, a Computer, a Wii remote, and an LED Pen (build your own with this link). Here's a video on TED.com that demonstrates this and other Wii remote hacks.