Grades4 to 12
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tag(s): tutorials (46)
In the ClassroomUsers will need to know how to use whatever computer software, website, or skill they are demonstrating. Following basic directions and managing browser windows or tabs are a must, as well as the managing settings of the computer being used. The site demonstrates how to troubleshoot problems on both PC's and Mac's.
Click "create" to start. As the screencast is being created, files will need to be written temporarily to the desktop. A security screen will pop up that asks to run the application. You will be asked to "trust" or "not trust" the security certificate. Depending upon your school's Acceptable Use Policy and computer security settings, you may not be able to complete these steps. Choose the screen size when played and whether audio will be needed (audio can be tested here as well, which is recommended: settings may need to be adjusted for different microphones.) Open a new tab or browser window and enter the web address of the site (or software) that will be the subject of your screencast. Drag the black frame by clicking the line and dragging it in order to choose what will be recorded during the screencast. The microphone icon has a green bar that shows recording levels. A green arrow showing instead of a green bar denotes that sound is not being captured. The red button is used to start recording while the black "X" stops the recording. Once you stop recording, click on your screencast tab or browser window and preview your recording. You can then either upload or discard your screencast. At this point you can create an account easily. Save your screencast to a channel of your own. Use the embed code to place your screencast into a blog, wiki, or other site. You can also use a widget code to embed the screencast player into a website. Screencasts can then be made from your other site and will save directly to your screencast channel. Screencasts can be set to different levels of privacy and comments can be turned on or off.
Teachers who must request certificate approval by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value. Unless checked to turn off comments, this site will allow comments on your work. Many districts prohibit such interaction and steps should be taken to prohibit commenting from others. When using the widget, the tool does not attribute work to specific students. You may wish to have the students identify their work while creating the screencast. Screencasts will only be able to be viewed when using an embed code in a site, wiki, or blog. By marking the screencast "searchable," it can be available to the public. Recently created screencasts do not appear on the home page of screencast-o-matic. Students are able to self-register, but you may want to keep a record of logins and passwords for students who forget.
Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creation of classroom content. By narrating how you want students to navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to use the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Challenge your gifted students to create a screencast as a final project rather than a more traditional project. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a web site to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" their writing choices as the record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Requires download/installation of software
Grades4 to 12
Be aware: this site also has advertisements for books for sale. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): map skills (80)
In the ClassroomNavigating the site is fairly easy. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Simply click to read the articles, weather reports, and view the photos or video clips (teacher-previewed, of course). Use this fabulous site as an addition to your geography class or as a reference when looking up ANY world location from current events, literary settings, and more. Take your students virtually to a new location every day! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to write a blog as a native from the highlighted country. In world language classes, have students plot a trip or write an imaginary story of their dream trip to Spain, Mexico, France, China (or whatever country/language they are studying). Take your students on a virtual trip to the native countries where the language is spoken. Have your ESL or ELL students take the class on a virtual tour of their home country.
For a more extensive project, have your students work on "building up" the Mapdango resources available for your area using the various tools that Mapdango draws upon. Of course, you will need to work within school policies to access these tools. Add more pictures to Panoramio, contribute more detailed articles to wikipedia, etc. Be sure to include the link to YOUR town's Mapdango entry on your class web page!
Safety/Security Concerns: Registration is required to use the social features, but they are not necessary for "exploring" a location. Make sure you have a clear class policy and consequences regarding the social features of the site. This site is so rich in information that it is a good one to use to teach ethical and safe use of web resources, especially how to avoid non-essential portions of a good site.
Grades6 to 12
Warning: Be sure to PREVIEW each section before you show it to the class since there is some profanity in the speech of some characters.
In the ClassroomIn light of the increase of hurricane activity, this is a wonderful resource to introduce this weather topic. Use it also in art class, graphic design, and with ESL and ELL students learning to tell stories. Use this site to introduce the world of graphic novels to students who are reluctant readers. Have your class make their own graphic novel about another catastrophic or historical event, either in groups or individually. Check with your administration to be sure it's OK to use this site at student computers since there are spaces for students to respond and also to submit their own work. If that's a problem, use it with your classroom computer and project the novel on the whiteboard (avoiding scenes with questionable vocabulary). Extend the lesson by having students create their own collaborative graphic account of a local history event or fictional tale in small groups.
Grades4 to 12
A link to a "Hurricane Hunters Gift shop" is found on the main page and students should be advised to avoid such an advertisement. The site requires Flash for storm updates. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomCompare numbers of hurricanes of various years. Plot locations, and storm paths on the same chart (or in Google Earth) to determine the origination point and landfall or end point of the hurricanes to draw conclusions. Use the information to determine the physical characteristics of the hurricanes (instead of looking them up in an encyclopedia). Determine the areas of the world where hurricanes occur in order to understand factors responsible for hurricane formation. Have students track a current hurricane and use information learned on this site to predict the spot where it will make landfall and provide reasoning for their choice.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): australia (35)
In the ClassroomTeacher ed institutions and graduate classes you are taking on contemporary issues in education may want to explore these scenarios for discussion. Even high school classes exploring careers or trends in current events may discuss the reshaping of education over the next 20+ years as today's high schoolers become tomorrow's teachers. Teachers of Gifted working with forecasting and futures will find this an interesting model.
Any teacher planing to remain in the profession will want to think about how these scenarios might affect YOUR classroom in some way in the near future.
Grades6 to 12
Be aware, although most of this site is free, there are a few items (for example, CDs) that are for a fee. This site opens slowly and requires a FAST Internet connection. This site requires Flash and Windows Media Viewer. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse this site as a way to teach point of view and bias in news reporting. Have students compare the Australian broadcast on topics that are also covered by U.S. media. How do the presentations of the main points differ? Have your students rewrite an American news story from what they think the Australian point of view might be. Use this site when teaching current events or world cultures, particularly Oceania. If you have technically-capable students, have them create annotated, side-by side comparisons using multimedia/video software and clips from these and American broadcasts (with appropriate citations, of course).
Grades9 to 12
To use many features of the site, you must create a membership (requires email). There are many "social" features within the site that make it a potential safety issue if all students are allowed to use it on their own. See ideas for handling these concerns below.
tag(s): news (260)
In the ClassroomTry this site as a regular part of your secondary discussions on current events or choose selected "games" that connect with your current curriculum topic. For example, explore stories from African nations as you study world cultures in Africa.
Classroom teachers will want to start by conducting this activity using a whole-class account (use your "extra" email account to create a single account, monitored by you). Use the game to facilitate discussion and build students' global citizenship by allowing them to make choices and see the results. Be sure to talk about the line between fantasy and reality: which parts of these games have actually happened and which are part of the "game" hypotheses. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class if you believe they are ready to handle it on their own. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online decision making and sharing, and obtain written parent permission before individual students are allowed to log on. As an alternative for students who may not have permission, you can pose some of the same questions and provide newspaper and news magazine articles for background. But you know which tool your students will prefer!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHave your ESL and ELL students listen and write their own summaries in groups or independently. Or ask them to write comprehension questions and answers to check their own understanding and challenge classmates. Have them compare information from the podcast to information on the same subject from other sources. Challenge students to present a one-minute summary. Have them prepare their own podcasts using the same format on subjects of their choice.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk intermediate to upper level ESL and ELL students to research, write, and record a podcast of similar news. Poll students to find out which words in the broadcast are difficult for them, and assign a few words to each student to look up and explain. Ask ESL and ELL students to share similar stories from their home cultures. Learning support teachers will want to share these easy-to-understand news stories for their students' weekly current events "articles."
GradesK to 12
Caution - although this website is appropriate for all ages, since users can submit photographs, please view the photos before sharing them with your class. Some of the activities at this website require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThere are countless ways to integrate this website into your lesson plans. Why not use your interactive whiteboard to visit a different location every week. Or simply share images of the "real world" setting of a story you are reading or current events article. This website also enables students to locate "real" pictures for research projects. Why not create a scavenger hunt (using PowerPoint or another program). Provide clues for the countries to "scavenge" and then have students research the information to figure out the correct country and use the Nations Illustrated website to copy/paste pictures from each of the locations. The students can create a picture scrapbook of their scavenger hunt.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents can update reports and research by accessing newspapers from around the world. Any of your favorite newspaper learning activities can transfer to a newspaper in another part of the USA or world. Foreign language teachers and students will enjoy using the foreign presses for authentic learning. Social Studies teachers can assign students to compare points of view on world issues or perceptions of the U.S. via various newspapers.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the activities presented on the site, such as Bioethics of Eugenics or the role of Propaganda during the Holocaust. You can use many of these resources to compare present day beliefs or thoughts about the holocaust, or to evaluate current websites/blogs for accuracy. Social responsibility and action from that period can be compared to current crises in the World today. Students can also use the information to determine the reasoning behind the actions of each of the groups and write an editorial about that group's beliefs or create a piece of artwork depicting their thoughts and emotions.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSurvey students about their online usage and behaviors. This can be done informally as a class discussion or as an online survey that is filled out by students. Create a quick poll using SurveyPlanet, reviewed here. Use a projector and or a whiteboard to display the results and discuss the results of the survey with the class. Emphasize the importance of online safety and introduce the OnGuard Online website as an important resource for accurate and current information. Why not have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the topic areas provided (such as identity theft). Then have the groups make a multimedia presentation to present their findings to the class. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Younger students can be introduced to the online games that teach appropriate and ethical online behavior. A scavenger hunt or questionnaire can be created for older students to explore the many issues that arise while online. As an extension activity students can role play different scenarios that they are confronted with when they are online and how they can respond in a safe ethical manner.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomOf course, civics and government teachers focus on Presidential elections past and present and will find this site quite useful. Other teachers who regularly do "current events" discussions can also find simple, direct, and up-to-date information that can be used to inform, debate, or share on an interactive whiteboard. Make this site a Favorite and share it on your teacher web page for students to use for research on individual candidate platforms. Encourage students to check the site regularly for updates. Use it to help students stage a mock debate or mock election.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous way to integrate math, government, and current events! Use this activity as an anticipatory set to an election unit or a statistics lesson. Once the lesson is completed, extend the activities by looking at current polls on elections in your area (or national elections). Have students work in small groups to analyze and find possible "loopholes" in the meaning and "spin" of poll data.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThe actual lesson plans can easily be varied to suit your needs for online sleuthing and discussion on contemporary issues. Remedial reading and ESL/ELL teachers will find these lessons helpful in providing non-fiction reading practice, as well. One of the extras on this site is the ability to go back for a year for more ideas. Using different media websites such as CNN News, MSNBC, ABC, Fox News, NY Times, etc. will keep students working and interested in the world around them. Try assigning students to different types of articles, i.e., a news story, an editorial agreeing with and one disagreeing with it, a cartoon about it, etc. Use this site as instant "blog fodder" to get students writing and interacting with the real world.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): demographics (19)