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Archive for July, 2007

I love these two sites! Both will add another dimension to learning for students.  World Mapper allows anyone to visualize data around the world. Daylife is the coolest news site I have found, love the images.

http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/index.html – Great visual mapping tool, collection of world maps where territories are resized according to subject of interest. 336 total maps, also available as PDF’s to download. Here is an example of from the web site. Worldmapper posters depicting nuclear waste, carbon emissions and HIV/AIDS were displayed at the recent Glastonbury festival. They were used as part of the ‘Give Geography its Place’ campaign. The photos were taken by Daniel Raven-Ellison, one of the campaign members.

glastonbury2_resized.jpg

http://www.daylife.com/highlights – Daylife is a multimedia news site which highligts news stories from around the world. Top of the page has tabs for content, main page is an image and along the bottom are thumbnails representing stories that are covered

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Recently I have been doing some searching for web sites to post to the district web site as resources for teachers and students. These are a few I have come across that I believe are worth a look.

http://www.presidentialtimeline.org– Presidential timeline of the 20th century. This multimedia timeline marks key decisions of 20th century presidents, created by the Learning Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education. It provides single point of access to a growing selection of digitized assets from the collections of the 12 Presidential Libraries of the National Archive. Among the assests are documents, photographs, audio recordings, and video segments featuring key challenges and decisions each faced.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/imaging_station/index.php – This is a microscope facility created for use by the general public, the Microscope Imaging Station. This gives you the ability to view living specimens, as well as control the microscopes themselves to change the magnification, focus and the lighting.

http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound– Professors at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an online audio archive of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. The recordings are available free of charge through PennSound which features about 200 writers and more than 10,000 recordings contributes by poets, fans and scholars worldwide.

http://www.newteacherhotline.com–  New to teaching? This is a site which produces a twice monthly podcast that tackles the classroom management challenges facing educators and new teachers in particular in an entertaining and engaging way. Each episode contains helpful strategies and advice.

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How do we teach 21st century skills? How many in our districts know what those skills are? There are many conversations taking place filled with talk of these skills and how important they are for our students to learn, but who will teach them and where does the knowledge come from? Have you had those conversations in your districts and do you feel your students are learning what 21st century skills are and why they need them? 21st century learning takes place in part through constant communication with others,  understanding how to distinguish right from wrong/truth from fiction in the vast knowledge base of the internet. We must be able to decode what we read, hear, and see, evaluate information, organize it, make sense of it, in terms of our learning frameworks. Who does this in your district? I know this is an area I struggle with in mine. I believe we miss the mark in teaching students what being a digital citizen means, and also in understanding what skills digital literacy encompass.  I believe we have an obligation to students to prepare them for their future and their future includes all of these things. Teachers still have students search google for information, mind you nothing against google, but what about trying to scaffold information for them as Joyce Valenza talks about with creating wikipaths, what a great idea! I have teachers say they are tired of students just regurgitating in a paper what they have been told in class, yet there are no conversations about changing assessments away from paper and pen into something the students may find more engaging such as podcasts, or videos, or using wikis or blogs to express themselves and through the use of these tools develop authentic learning in the classroom. As Marco Torres has said we need to allow student work to have wings. How do you allow students work to have wings in your districts? Who teaches 21st century skills in your schools? Are there conversations taking place where you teach about what skills students today need to be successful in a future we cannot predict? Their world will be vastly different than the one we have grown up in, are we preparing them well?

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