History Lesson : School Computing in 1969
Jul19

History Lesson : School Computing in 1969

For those of you that complain that their laptops take a long time to boot up. Just be grateful you never have to phone the engine room or check the oil levels… Here’s a little more about this amazing early computer, the Elliot 405....

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Explore World War 1 and 2 Images with History Pin
Jun04

Explore World War 1 and 2 Images with History Pin

Seventy years ago this week, Allied forces were preparing for the D-Day Landings in Normandy that would eventually turn the tide of World War 2 . This year we are also commemorating the start of the First World War in 1914. Many schools are covering one or both of these events in their lessons and there are some good online resources to help teach them. One site I’ve written about before is called HistoryPin and it’s well worth a look. HistoryPin is a global community collaborating around history. It’s main focus is to superimpose historical pictures over a Google Map so you can compare the image to how things look today. There are a few World War collections that are worth exploring with a class. There’s a First World War Collection, a   VE Day Collection or you can just browse the map of Normandy. Another very useful resource is the Photography Then and Now photo gallery from the Guardian newspaper. There’s some great photographs here. (Thanks to my good friend Laura O’Halloran for the tip!) You could also take a look at some of the excellent Normandy Landing resources on the Google Cultural Institute. If you have other great World War 1 and 2 resources, please share them in the comments below!...

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Explore Mount Everest Virtually with Glacierworks.
May29

Explore Mount Everest Virtually with Glacierworks.

As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Edmund Hilary’s expedition to the top of Mount Everest, here’s an excellent website that lets you and your class explore the mountain without leaving the classroom. Everest: Rivers of Ice is a new project that features legendary documentary filmmaker and explorer David Breashears joining with Microsoft to produce a multimedia tour of the mountain. Visitors to the site will be able to take a virtual trek to the Everest Base Camp, visiting many well known places along the way like Lukla, Namche Bazaar and Gorak Shep. The route is accompanied by wonderful panoramic shots as well as video clips. The website is written in HTML so it should work on iPads as well as on regular computers (and would look lovely on an Interactive Whiteboard) GlacierWorks’ mission is to document, educate and raise awareness about changes to the glaciers in the Greater Himalaya through art, science and exploration. We seek to incite curiosity about the region and spark dialogues regarding the changes to these glaciers. In addition to its website, GlacierWorks raises awareness through worldwide exhibitions and by providing content for use in classrooms to educate students not only about climate change but also broader earth and environmental science themes. It’s an excellent resource. Geography and Science teachers could use it to explore climate change and how the glaciers have melted. It’s also an excellent historical record of an amazing human achievement. Go take a look now at : http://explore.glacierworks.org/...

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The Google Cultural Institute : Archive of Historic Resources
May22

The Google Cultural Institute : Archive of Historic Resources

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.  ...

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Visit the Pyramids of Giza on your Interactive Whiteboard
May10

Visit the Pyramids of Giza on your Interactive Whiteboard

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....

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Explore Paris in 3D on your Whiteboard or iPad
Apr11

Explore Paris in 3D on your Whiteboard or iPad

Billed as “A time-travel through more than 2000 years of history: discover Paris’ most famous monuments” Paris 3D provides a virtual tour of many of the landmarks of Paris, and lets you see how the city has developed since its Roman conquest in 52 BC right up to the present day. Users can take guided tours from the 3D Paris website here or on the accompanying iPad app. A small plugin is needed for your web browser, but installing it should be relatively simple. The site and the app are both completely free. Through the website you can witness the construction of the Bastille and Notre Dame, navigate through winding stone streets in the middle ages and visit the 1889 World’s Fair to see the appearance of the Eiffel Tower. The Paris 3D website has been painstakingly built over 2 years by a team at Dassault Systemes, and they will continue to add more buildings and items over the coming years, again all free. Many of the monuments – such as the Bastille – no longer exist in the real world, so this site offers a great way to explore them as they would have looked. This site would definitely be of interest for History or Modern Language teachers. The site can be explored in both English and French language versions. It could also be of interest for Literacy lessons as a stimulus for storytelling and descriptive writing in the same way that apps such as Epic Citadel has been used by some teachers. You can view the 3D Paris website here and get hold of the free Paris 3d iPad app here. Both are free to use. Let me know what you think in the comments. Disclosure : I was taken to Paris yesterday to visit Dassault Systemes HQ and to receive a demonstration of the Paris 3D website....

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English Heritage Interactive Whiteboard Resources
Feb27

English Heritage Interactive Whiteboard Resources

Yesterday I spent a rather fun day delivering Interactive Whiteboard training to some of the Education staff from English Heritage in the rather impressive surroundings of Wrest Park Estate. While there I was reminded about their range of IWB resources that they’ve put onto Promethean Planet, and I thought I’d share here in case you haven’t seen them. English Heritage National Monuments Record (NMR) have produced a range of interactive resources taken from their Heritage Explorer website. If you haven’t seen their Heritage Explorer site, it lets you search their database of over 9,000 images and find curriculum related resources, for all key stages, to use or adapt for their pupils. The resources are in .flp format so should open in ActivStudio/Primary as well as ActivInspire. The resources will be of interest to KS2 and Ks3 teachers looking for History resources. As well as the flipcharts, English Heritage NMR have also supplied a sample of free images relating to the same topic areas. The remainder of the images can be downloaded direct from the Heritage Explorer site. The following resources are available : Promethean Flipcharts Women’s work in WWI Past Homes Roman Remains The Victorian Classroom Children at Work The Toy Shop Promethean Resource Packs Edwardian Life Childhood Snapshot – 1900 Roman Remains Women at Work Past Shopping You can access the English Heritage resources here, and all the other partner resources on Promethean Planet can be found here....

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Explore the World on your IWB with the Google World Wonders Project
Jun01

Explore the World on your IWB with the Google World Wonders Project

Your classroom interactive whiteboard can provide a window on the world, and that’s definitely true when used alongside this new project from Google. The Google World Wonders Project is a platform which brings world heritage sites of the modern and ancient world online and into your classroom. Using Street View, 3D modeling and other Google technologies, Google have made these amazing sites accessible to everyone across the globe. With videos, photos and in-depth information, you can now explore the world wonders from your armchair just as if you were there. Located in 18 different countries, the 132 famous destinations in the World Wonders Project include such classics as Stonehenge, Pompeii, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Yosemite National Park. It’s similar to the Google Art Project in that handheld and trike-based cameras were used to get to places you wouldn’t be able to take a Street View car. You can start exploring world heritage sites by either flicking through the picture carousel on the homepage or play with the globe to discover random sites from all over the world. You can also find places by themes or locations chosen over the drop-down panel on the top of the homepage. The project website also provides a window to 3D models, YouTube videos and photography of the famous heritage sites. For teachers who are doing a class project on some of these cultures, bring places like a buddhist temple or Pompeii into your classroom and interact with it on the whiteboard. You can’t beat a real school trip, but in terms of ease, cost and accessibility this is the next best thing. Google World Wonders also comes with some very useful Teacher’s Guides for Primary and Secondary schools, plus also specific history and geography guides. Go take a look now at : http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/worldwonders/ Let me know what you think in the comments!...

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Smarthistory – a multimedia art textbook
Aug22

Smarthistory – a multimedia art textbook

Smarthistory.org is a free, not-for-profit, multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement for the traditional art history textbook. It “uses multimedia to deliver unscripted conversations between art historians about the history of art.” The site contains audios and videos about works of art found in standard art history survey texts, organized the files stylistically and chronologically, and added text and still images. It’s a very impressive resource – and I am sure Art teachers will find some very useful stuff here.   Check out Smart history at http://www.smarthistory.org and let me know what you think of it in the comments section. Thanks to Lisa Dubernard (@onboardlearning) for the link  ...

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TwHistory – historical tweeting
Aug10

TwHistory – historical tweeting

There have been several great time shifted (in real time) twitter feeds like British War Cabinet or the Apollo Moon Landings (from a few years ago). Or even Such Tweet Sorrow which recreated Romeo and Juliet in tweets. Also not forgetting Gunpowder Tweeting and Plot. TwHistory provides another platform to do this. Students or volunteers pick a well-documented historical event. They pick real historical figures who were at that event, and create tweets based on those events. These tweets are then scheduled to be broadcast in real time. The end result is a virtual reenactment of a historical event, broadcast in real time. For example the Battle of Waterloo: Past broadcasts can be downloaded as a CSV file, so they can be accessed again in the future. It’s an interesting idea, that would make for an interesting class project. Go take a look at : http://beta.twhistory.org/ Thanks to Keri-Lee Beasley for the link.  ...

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BBC Domesday Reloaded
May13

BBC Domesday Reloaded

25 years ago the BBC launched an ambitious project to record a snapshot of everyday life across the UK for future generations. Launched in 1986 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, the first BBC Domesday project was one of the most pioneering interactive campaigns of its time. In an attempt to capture the essence of the UK in one place, the BBC asked the public to submit details about their local area to help compile a digital snapshot of the country. Over a million people, mainly school children, took part in the groundbreaking initiative surveying over 108,000 square km of the UK and submitting more than 147,819 pages articles and 23,225 photos. All the data – pictures, maps, video, surveys, statistics, essays and personal testimonies – were digitally etched into two high-tech laser discs. However, due to costs and the rapid development of technology the system rapidly fell into obscurity and obsolescence, and very few people ever got to see the finished results or their contributions. Now 25 years on, the archive has been republished onto a dedicated website giving people of all ages an opportunity to explore the images and articles from the past. It’s called Domesday Reloaded. Use in Class The site provides a very interesting glimpse into life in the UK 25 years ago. Teachers might want to use the resources as part of a class or school project to compare how we live today to life 25 years ago – ancient history as far as most primary school children are concerned. In 1985 the most high-tech device out there was the Sinclair Spectrum or BBC B computer! Use the site to inspire your school to make their own Domesday Book (or Blog, or Wiki) about your own local area. Visitors will also be able to get involved and help bring the project into the present day by sending in their current stories, comments and photographs, via the website, blogs and Twitter, to compare how life in Britain has changed, and how some things have stayed the same. This could be something that your classes could get involved in. Take a look here : http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday  ...

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What Was There – Historical Google Maps
Feb27

What Was There – Historical Google Maps

What Was There is an interesting site that looks like an alternative to History Pin which I’ve written about in the past. History teachers in particular should take a look! It allows visitors to upload historical photographs of an area and tag them with a location and year. These are then displayed on a Google Map. From the Explore Photos page you can move around the world to find places you’re interested in and then view photographs of what they looked like many decades ago. You can even overlay the old photograph onto Street View to compare today’s scene with the past. The plan is that if enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, it will weave together a photographic history of the world. The coverage of the UK is a little thin at the moment, but like all these sites it is dependent on content being uploaded by its users. I’m sure it’ll grow into a very useful resource. As an alternative – don’t forget to take a look at History Pin.  ...

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