I’ve got a Google Wave account and have been diligently passing along as many invites as I can to educators who definitely need this incredible service. I know that many of my friends don’t exactly understand why they need the service. My pals have been using old-fashioned email for so long that they are still thinking of digital communication in a paradigm that Google Wave is washing away. Thank goodness two amazing individuals of Lifehacker renown, Gina Trapani and Adam Pash, have written The Complete Guide to Google Wave.
Here’s something to get your learners’ week off to an engaging start. Stimulate their creativity! Encourage your students to do some brainstorming and graphic design in one fell swoop. Mutapic is a free, intriguing online digital image generator that’s great for rapid design.
If you’re helping pupils navigate the confusing realm of politics, civics, law, and other issues related to government, consider asking your learners the following question: Is there a connection between campaign donations and legislative votes? Although the answer may seem laughably obvious, the implications of the response are anything but amusing. What might inform a neutral observer’s answer to the question? What evidence could a citizen use to seek clarification? Is there a beacon to guide a truly curious individual on such a quest?
MAPLight, uses a public database to shine a light on the links that exist between campaign donations made to political figures and legislative voting records. Not surprisingly, there are more than a few politicians who do not appreciate the glare of such attention on their behavior and decisions.
UPDATE: After writing this post, I came across a news item that seemed particularly relevant to the point I was trying to make. Robert Pear of the New York Times reports,
“In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident. Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.”
I’ve included a citation for any teacheror student who may be wish to refer to the article.
If you’re teaching students how to gain a better understanding of the government of the United States, you’ll want to get acquainted with the Sunlight Foundation because it also provides a great deal of clarity.
Visitors who accessCapitol Words are able to track and visualize the most used words in the Congressional Record. The words being tracked and visualized are displayed in more than one manner. They appear in a word cloud as well as in list view.
Kim Rees of Periscopic (an impressive interactive design firm specializing in information visualization), points out that curious educators, pupils, and citizens should also explore Congress Speaks as it’s a great way to review the words spoken by the 110th Congress.
Geocube is an engaging, FREE, online resource devoted to the exploration of geography. With an interface based on the appearance of a Rubik Cube, its six faces and 54 topics invite users to learn more about our planet.
It began with the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. Yes, today is Veterans Day. Do your students understand the significance of this day? Do they understand what it mean to truly pay respect to veterans? What are some of the ways veterans are (and should be) honored in our society today?
Though sad, this historical event presents an engrossing opportunity for students and teachers to collaborate and engage in interdisciplinary research. It’s a perfect storm of learning. Delving into what lead up to the tragedy allows pupils to explore elements of:
Diving into this and other historical events, using them as case-study investigations into why and how things happen, makes learning more rewarding and allows students to integrate technology resources in a more meaningful manner.