Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Animated Bayeaux Tapestry

Ok, I admit it, I love history and always have.  That's probably why I was a history teacher until I got this job.  I'll admit it, I love educational technology, too, and when you can find the two together, it's bliss.  Today's offering is the Bayeaux Tapestry, animated, from Open Culture's YouTube Channel.  The story picks up about half way through the tapestry at the appearance of Halley's Comet and just before the Norman Invasion.  My family went to Hastings several years ago, which gives the whole thing a totally different perspective. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Death to Dull Powerpoints!

A colleague came to the lab yesterday to tell me about this really fantastic presentation he had seen another of our colleague give in class.  The presenter had used a tool I'd read about, called Prezi.  Prezi lets you create slides, zoom in on key points, emphasize ideas, and animate your text.  Here's one I did.  To run it, click the left and right arrows or hover over the word "More" and select "Autoplay."

Frequently, people complain about having to sit through PowerPoints presentations.  None of us likes to have a presenter read, word for word, the text on the slide.  Yawn.  Just let me read it--I can read faster than you can speak! 

I always use the 6-6 rule.  No more than 6 bullet points per slide, and no more than 6 words per point.  This forces me to summarize succinctly and it requires me to know my material well.  Guy Kawasaki, a venture capitalist, has the 10-20-30 rule.  I'll let him tell you about it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Origami in Math


Any one who knows me know that Mr. Math and I are not very good friends.  In fact, we barely have an acquiantance, which is why it seems odd to be posting a video about math.  This beautiful, 2-minute film is about the mathematics of origami and is worth the time just to see the fantastic creations that can be constructed out of paper!  I may need to go home and pull the origami books out of the kids closets!

(To view this full screen, right click on the video and select "Full Screen.")

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Learning on the Sly

I spent a fair amount of time this week working on my Online Activities page.  The kids at my school aren't allowed to play computer games, but there are some really, really good learning activities online that I think students should be allowed to do.  Besides, we don't really have a playground for the younger students to use after lunch, so they flock to the lab to "play" games.  The reason I spent so much time working on the page this week is that several students had suggested new activities, so I wanted to look at them and then update my page.

One of the new activities was suggested by a colleague.  It's the game page from the US Supreme Court.  I know.  It sounds like a major yawn, but the 6th grade is crazy about these games.  They are fun and very educational, although I suspect some of the kids like to be able to go home to their lawyer parents and correct them. :)

Another new addition to the page is a library of physics activities.  Physics Games has dozens of activities that are fun, and teach the principles of physics at the same time.  Some of the older middle-schoolers love these activities, not realizing the great lessons they are learning about the physics of a trebuchet!

Finally, this set of activities comes from one of my Twitterpeeps, samorra. Edheads has several beautifully designed games that teach all sorts of lessons:  learn how to resurface a hip and learn human anatomy, help the state police investigate a serious car accident and learn all about the physics of high speed crashes, or, build a cell phone and learn all about where the materials used come from and their impact on the environment. 

I love the internet!