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: Facilitating Web Research Using Web 2.0 Tools


David D. Huston, presenter

Co-director, Kenyon Academic Partnership (KAP) and History Teacher at Laurel School

Presenter introducing himself and suggesting that research can be much more these day than just looking up information and putting it on index cards.  Today, we’ll look at lots of Web 2.0 apps that can help this process.  He hopes that today we will take away one or two different tools to help us each.

Claims that copy/paste has taken over student research and we, as educators, need to help them to overcome these temptation.

Students have access to 21st century information using 20th century tools.  We need to bring them both together.

Today’s Gold Ring metaphor:

prospecting: Google

staking a claim: iCyte

collecting resources: Noodle Tools: Reference Managr

refining the dross: Noodle Tools Notes

pouring the mold: Noodle Tools Outliner

presenting the ring:  ______________ MISSED IT, SORRY

“Successful research is a process requiring the integration of all six steps and all four tools.”

“research means: information literacy”

Information Literacy means what to look for, where to look for it, and how to look for it – especially collaborating and sharing.  Logically organizing what you find.  I THINK THE LAST LINE IS IMPORTANT – STUDENTS DON’T THINK ABOUT WAYS TO STEP AWAY FROM THEIR MATERIAL AND ORGANIZE IT IN AN ACCEPTABLE, PLEASING MANNER.

How do students research?  They google it.  “The first answer they find – that’s the answer!”  HAHA…AGREE.

Presenter is going through data on how often students are on computers, what social networking they do, etc.

Challenge in modern computing: they work on multiple computers during a typical day.  We must create a work process that keeps this in mind.  Another challenge: platforms.  The beauty of Web 2.0 tools is that they are platform neutral.  AN OBVIOUS POINT, BUT ONE THAT I HADN’T RECOGNIZED.  Same with browser-netural.  Data must be stored in a cloud.  Cloud computing: still some concern about file security.  SURE, IT’S AN ISSUE, BUT IF SOMEONE WANTS TO STEAL MY WORKSHEETS AND DOCUMENTS…HAVE AT IT! 🙂

Now (FINALLY) getting to some of the tools.

Google: A simple search of “world hunger” gives 9,320,000 hits.  Not effective!  Thus everyone needs trained on how to Google.  Users need to be able to effectevly use Google’s Advance Search.  Also, users should use the newer “Show Options” expansion bar on the left side of the main Google view.  Now introducing Google’s “Wonder Wheel” where Google will link ideas together.wheel Also showed Google’s custom search features.  GOOD FEATURES THAT I NEED TO PLAY WITH A LITTLE MORE.  I’M EXCITED TO SHOW THESE TO MY STUDENTS.

Now discussing some bookmarking tools.  Problems: bookmarks are stuck on one machine.  Social bookmarking is the answer.  He has had a hard time getting students to wrap their minds around this.  Now showing iCyte.  Great advantage is that it will socially bookmark it as well as archive the page as it looked when you visited.  Free, account required.  Add-ons available for popular browsers.  Showing the add-on in the Firefox window which allows for archive snapshot to be taken and to view your archives.  Tagging available.  THIS LOOKS COOL – I’M EXCITED TO PLAY WITH IT.  iCyte has unlimited number of saved “projects”.  Showing the sidebar and its options.  Also able to go to “live” view of the page instead of the archive you originally took.  Sharing is easy: via email or URL link.  Recipients don’t have to have iCyte account to view your collection.  Embedding available.  I THINK EMBEDDING COULD BE COOL FOR THIS FOR USE IN A WIKI.

Moving on to how and where to organize information.  Funny picture of a table full of index cards organized for a paper.  Another funny picture of a huge pile of printed out webpages.  YES – STUDENTS ARE TERRIBLE AT DOING THIS!  Alternative: copy/paste into a MS Word doc.  Problem: stuck on one computer; emailing makes confusing versions.  Same issue with thumb drives.

Now showing Noodle Tools.  Small fee (used to be free, too many users overwhelmed the servers), account required.  Pros: available anywhere.  Creates a database of all of your digital/print resources.  Makes an ongoing list of citations.  I BELIVE THIS PART OF THE SITE IS CALLED “NOODLEBIB”.  It produces the popular citation lists (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)  Claims that it does a great job of following citation records.  Also helps you to take notes as you write from each source and keeps the notes linked to the source.

NoodleTools Overview:

– Create your own notes in three stage process:  1) copy and paste, 2) re-word in your own language, 3) add further questions and thoughts

NoodleTools is the answer for teaching students the ethics behind citations and research.

NoodleTools helps you sort information on a “table top” to create piles of “cards” or tags.  Creates and editable outline of paper, all while keeping citations organized.  Export outline as an .rtf file.  Take that file and polish it into a final paper.

Finishing up with Springnote Wiki.  It can be private, shared, etc.  Much easier than DreamWeaver.  Great place for sharing the research information.