I was lucky enough to be invited to deliver some training at the International School of Geneva this week. One of the Keynote speakers was Steve Crossan, Head of the Google Cultural Institute who was talking about some of their recent developments. I had heard of some of their early projects such as the Google Art Project or World Wonders, but I hadn’t seen some of their newer resources. And they looked stunning!
With a team of dedicated engineers, Google is building tools that make it simple to tell the stories of our diverse cultural heritage and make them accessible worldwide. Google have created a visually rich and interactive online experience for telling cultural stories in new ways. Visitors to the site can discover exhibits by expert curators, find artifacts, view photographs, read original manuscripts, watch videos, and more.
The site contains over 40 online exhibits which tell the stories behind major events in the 20th and 21st centuries including The Holocaust, Apartheid and D-Day. They’ve worked with 17 different institutions around the world including the Imperial War Museums, the Steve Biko Foundation and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
It’s a fantastic resource, containing some very powerful images and stories.
Apparently future developments will allow anyone to create their own exhibitions – so you could create local history resources for your own area.
History teachers should definitely take a look, but there’s resources here for other subject areas too. You can find the institute at www.google.com/culturalinstitute/
Let me know what you think in the comments.
SketchLot is an interesting free website that allows teachers and students to share whiteboard sketches made on their tablet computers.
The application provides teachers and students with an online environment in which they can create sketches on their tablets easily and then share them with one another. The system works through a browser, so can be used on any web-enabled device. It doesn’t use Flash, so works fine on an iPad.
To use it, first the teacher creates an account and a class name. They can then set up each child as a user with a different password.
Sketching tools includes freehand drawing, straight lines, rectangles, color selection, erasing, and magnification.The teacher can then share these sketches with the children in the class. Children can log into their SketchLot accounts using the class code and the assigned passwords.
They can also create sketches of their own, and then share them with the teacher and / or other class members selectively. In this way a teacher could set a task for the children to complete, such as show their working on a maths problem, and then have all the images submitted to their dashboard to check/mark.
As well as using it to submit answers to questions it could be used for collecting ideas and brainstorming or collaborative mindmapping.
It’s an interesting idea, and if you have a class set of iPads or other tablets, I can see some useful ways that it could be used with a class.
The site is free to use, so it’s well worth setting yourself up with a teacher account and trying it out with a laptop or two.
Check out Sketchlot at : www.sketchlot.comRead More
Here’s a different way to present your lesson objectives. The Star Wars Crawl Creator lets you turn any piece of text into the scrolling text seen at the opening of the Star Wars movies.
Simply enter your text, then hit preview to see your text, complete with the famous theme tune.
The site provides an embed code and a direct link so you can access your crawl in the future, or embed it into a blog or other website.
It’s great fun.
It would be a great way to provide a story opener, or to give the introduction to a science or maths investigation. Children could use it to write summaries to their own stories.
Check it out now via the Star Wars website here.Read More
I’m sure there can’t be many teachers who haven’t heard of Scratch, the free modular programming language for kids that makes it easy to create powerful simulations and games. Even very young children can make simple programs with it.
Well, if you have been using it, you will be interested to know that MIT have just released version 2.0 of Scratch, and the interesting news is that this new version runs right in a browser with no downloads or installs required).
The programming environment is embedded in a sharing and shareable community, with millions of Scratch projects ready to be downloaded and remixed.
With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.
Sadly it does need Flash, so this does mean it won’t work on an iPad. You’ll have to stick with Daisy the Dinosaur for now.
This is especially important in UK schools, where programming is becoming a lot more important in the new ICT/Computing curriculum.
You can get onto Scratch here : http://scratch.mit.eduRead More
Fancy a quick class trip to see the Pyramids without all the paperwork? Giza 3D is a historically accurate, in-depth recreation of the great pyramids which you can access from your classroom on your Interactive Whiteboard.
Built by Dassault Systemes, the people who created the 3D Paris Tour, the site lets you go on guided, interactive tours through ten different areas of the Giza plateau — allowing you to wander the necropolis, explore shafts and burial chambers, and enter four of the site’s ancient temples, including Khufu’s and Menkaure’s pyramids. With full control over the camera, you can fly in and out of different regions at will, and click on objects for more info.
Each area also contains an object gallery and photo gallery, as well as a link to a database of relevant documents.
The site’s creators have worked with real archaeologists to ensure that the models are as accurate as possible.
If you are teaching Ancient Egypt, then this is well worth a look. Visit Giza 3D Here.Read More
Let me introduce you to Whimsy. He’s my new SmartBoard pointer from a company called SmartMoves. A SmartMove pointer is a cute, cartoon character on the end of a coloured stick. I wrote about them a few weeks ago, and have now got my hands on a SmartMove of my own to try out.
Whimsy has been very popular at the training sessions I’ve taken him to. He works well on the Smartboard. I was worried that the end would feel too heavy, but it’s not really an issue. The soft back slides across the whiteboard very well.
I was also a little worried about durability, but he’s spent a few weeks in my laptop bag and nothing has fallen off yet. He seems to be pretty robust.
Teachers in primary or special schools have often come up with ingenious ways of helping their children to reach items on the SmartBoard. I have seen drum beaters being used, paint brushes and wooden hands. In special schools I have also seen tennis balls being used with children who can’t hold a regular pen.
Take a look at the Smart Moves website and see what you think.
The Marks & Spencer Company Archive has just launched a new online learning resource for UK schools to make elements of the company’s collection of over 70,000 historical objects, photos and documents accessible to students and teachers for the first time.
In partnership with My Learning, the M&S Company Archive eLearning Hub will be available to schools and educational establishments free of charge.
These themed classroom resources are inspired by objects, photos and documents held at the M&S Company Archive in Leeds. They offer a cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning by…
The eLearning Hub is an online portal comprising imagery, videos, documents and games that will allow children to engage with and understand the company’s rich history.
The materials have been selected to be applicable to a broad range of school subjects including business studies, history, science, design and technology, maths and English. Resources are suitable for KS2-4. All content on the site can be incorporated into interactive whiteboard resources.
It’s an interesting resource, and even better, it’s free!
You can access the M&S Company Archive eLearning hub here. Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments.Read More