Our Spinning World

Behold, a quick tip for helping students with geography.

In seventh grade social studies in Ohio, there is a significant amount of curricular energy spent helping students wrap their geographically self-centered minds around foreign lands.  Since a lot of what I did with geography was based on different activities with Google Earth, my students were accustomed to manipulating the controls to pan and zoom into different locations.

Inverted globeI began each lesson, however, with a little trick.  Before class, I zoomed out to a world-view level and gave the globe a slow spin.  It was always a cool effect for when I finally pulled the Google Earth application to the front.  It gave it that national-nightly-news-corner-graphic-kind-of-feel.

Then, before I walked away and let the kids teach themselves, I’d give the “earth” a quick spin.  From a cognitive analysis, there is a lot of thinking that goes on for a student to bring a flying globe to a sudden stop, then to rotate, pan, and zoom to a perspective she or he is familiar with.  I loved watching the Social Studies Synapses firing in their brains or listening to the, “No, that’s the southern tip of the Persian Gulf!” heckles coming from the analyzing 12-year-old audience.

Sure, it’s nothing fancy.  But it is a step over Miss Bliss pulling down the wall maps and having Jessie point to Greece.

Click here to see what students see: Spinning Earth

eTech Session Notes: Ways to Mashup Google Earth

My first session to start off Ohio’s eTech conference is titled, “Ways to Mashup Google Earth” by Kathy Parker-Jones and Lauren Davis.

Here is their presentation material:

http://www.hilliardschools.org/classroom.cfm?id=77&TempID=9366&school=SSF/Technology%20Team&preview=

MY COMMENTS IN CAPS LOCK.

The session started with the presenter showing www.voki.com to demonstrate how to make a speaking avatar.  No account needed.  One drawback mentioned: the kids love it and won’t stop using it.  Let them play on it for awhile before productivity will begin.  LOOKS A LOT LIKE A WII MII.  One limit mentioned: there is a character limit so users may want to keep it at three sentences.  Cool feature: Have the avatar speak your voice OR have it change the voice.  LOOKS FUN TO PLAY WITH.

To embed into Google Earth, use the MySpace code to copy code.

COOL THAT OTHER CODES CAN BE USED FOR OTHER WEB 2.0 PLACES.

Put the code into the DESCRIPTION box after right-clicking on the placemark.  Delete the comment part of the code so the “welcome message” doesn’t show.

PRESENTATION MOVES A LITTLE QUICKLY.

Now showing Photo Peach.  Showing a slideshow made with Photo Peach.  Includes Ken Burns effects with music and ends with “replay” option as well as commenting feature.  Also embedded onto a placemark.  Note: Must bring in photos as jpeg.  Photo Peach requires making an account.  Presenters made a single account as a “tech team” for them all to share.  Nice, clean slide sorter for arranging the order of the photos.  Music available with site or you can import your own.  Easy to make slideshow with clean previewing features.  Embedding code available with easy copy feature.

On Google Earth, select a placemark, get info, and paste code into description box again.  Unfortunately, the presenters had errors and couldn’t get it to paste.

Now showing SlideBoom to show how to turn PowerPoint files into a Web 2.0 app.  Account required.  Fairly straight-forward uploading.  Options include turning a PP into a Quicktime video or just show it as slideshow.  Also makes embed code.  Again, paste code into description box.

I WONDER IF THE FILE HAS TO BE A CERTAIN POWERPOINT VERSION/FILE TYPE.  I NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE ABILITY TO PASTE HTML CODE INTO THE DESCRIPTION BOX.

Just answered my question on file types. Looks like it’s limited to many versions of PowerPoint and a few Open Office apps.

Showing how to right-click on a folder of placemarks to save the entire folder as a .kmz file to keep/share.

Now showing Time Toast, a timeline maker/sharer.  Many already-made timelines available on the site or you can make your own.  Pretty simple to add events and make a nice, custom timeline.

I DO A MULTI-TIER TIMELINE PROJECT WITH MY STUDENTS EARLY EACH FALL.  IT IS ALWAYS A STRUGGLE TO GET THEM TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO THE SPACINGS.  NEXT YEAR…TIME TOAST!

Drawback to Time Toast: date and month are required for each event.  When you finish the timeline, change the status of the timeline from “draft” to “publish.”  Embed code then available.  EXCITED TO SEE IF TIME TOAST ALLOWS FOR MULTI-TIER TIMELINES?  HAHA..SOMEONE JUST ASKED.  ANSWER: NOPE.

Now showing MyStudiyo, a neat online quiz maker.  Multiple choice quizzes with instant feedback  Account required for MyStudiyo.  Emphasizing the ease of creation.  Users can choose backgrounds, name for quiz, tag/category, etc.  LOOKS VERY EASY TO CREATE.  I LIKE THE EXPOSURE AND REINFORCEMENT A STUDENT WOULD BE RECEIVING WHILE MAKING AN QUIZ, THINKING OF THE RIGHT/WRONG ANSWERS, ETC.

Discussed making one single account for several of these technologies instead of having the students each make their own account.

Lastly, showing Yodio to record voice using cell/phone.  Account and phone registration required.  Now demonstrating how to record voice.  LOOKS PRETTY EASY and voice activated.  Again, recommending making a single class account.  NOTE SURE ON THE TIME LIMIT FOR A YODIO RECORDING.  Presenter is setting recordings for photos.

GREAT PRESENTATION AND A GOOD STARTING SESSION FOR ME AT ETECH.  LOTS OF TAKE-HOME LINKS, IDEAS, AND MATERIALS.  I’M IMPRESSED AND EXCITED!