Friday, March 13, 2015

Take a Tour or Create your Own!

Google Tour Builder Header

Google Earth Tour Builder, while not a new tool is one that came to mind after sharing yesterday's post about the resource myHistro.  Both tools are similar and make use of maps and visuals.  Google Tour Builder combines Google Earth and a slideshow in which you can incorporate images, videos and text to connect locations all across the globe to tell a story.  While the first thought that comes to mind might be history, there are plenty other ideas for use including biographies, tours of locations, field trip summaries and literature studies.
Google Tour Builder is a tool that requires a computer (not a Chromebook or iPad).  On the computer it does require the Google Earth Plugin.

Creating a Tour is not challenging!  Check it out!

1.  Begin at  Sign in to your Google Account and  click "Create New Tour".
2.  Complete the "let's get started" image
3.  The Next page is where you begin to introduce you Tour.  Complete the highlighted items and use the available tools to manage the view.
4.  Click add a location on the left side panel
5.  Type your location into the search or drop a placemark in a location you see on the map.  Click "add to tour".
6.  Once you Add to tour you then open a window in which you can personalize this location.  You can add up to 25 photos and videos, dates, a story about the location, and even change the icon that represents the location on the map.  One area not to neglect is the Pan/Tilt/and Zoom of the view in which the location on the map is viewed.  Once you have it set, don't forget to "lock the view".
7.  Continue to add your locations and they will build on the tour timeline on the left.  Once you are done, click "Save Now".  
8.  Then, just as you would share another Google Doc, you will see a "share" button in the top right hand corner.  Click on the share button and change the visibility to your desired settings.  Click "done" and you have created your first tour! 

If this step-by-step does not help you out, give this tutorial a try!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visual Timelines with Discussions

The ability for students to create and explore is a large part of the benefit to technology use in the classroom.  Teaching history is one of the areas in the curriculum where we often tell kids about events when we could be showing, exploring and interacting with the events that have taken place over time.  The resource MyHistro allows students to collaborate over a digital timeline that includes maps, graphics, discussions, and written information. This resource is one that a teacher could create and share or better yet, turn the creation over to the students to explore a historical period and create the timeline on their own.  As indicated in the video below, there is a built in element for a quiz within the tool, but the comment feature might provide deeper learning overall.  The free resources not only include a tutorial on the main page to learn from, but the following video summarizes the tool in a brief yet concise way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Targeting Gramar Instruction with No Red Ink

I recently had the pleasure of attending my high school aged daughter's parent teacher conferences.  She's a really good student and so I always enjoy going as I know it will be positive and fun educational conversations.  This term was not really much different although I got to hear her Honors English 10 teacher rave about a website she has discovered.  I sat back and took in her excitement, recognizing that moment when a teacher is "on fire" with a new tool for their classroom toolbox.  She excitedly told me about No Red Ink.  I decided to check it out and this is what I learned:

This website is built to help kids learn to be better writers through the use of grammar instruction.  The site polls students about their interests, favorite books, movies, peers, etc. and then uses those results to build grammar questions about those things in which they are interested.  The work kids do is adaptive and keeps records for teachers all while scoring the work for them.  The site is free for parents, students and teachers.  There is unlimited practice so that the class time is not taken up with grammar practice.  A great introductory video is included below.  Winder if this might fit in your classroom?  Me too?