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The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults

What it is:   Digital Vaults reminds me of Museum Box that I wrote about a few weeks ago.  The National Archives has put together an amazing site where students can create digital content with primary resources.  Students can search photographs, documents, and other records and collect them.  Students can use collected items to create their own digital poster or to make a movie.  Students can also create a Pathway Challenge.  In a challenge, students create a series of clues that show relationships between photographs, documents and other records.  Others can take part in these Pathways Challenges.  There are also ready made challenges that students can take part in, I just took the Lincoln challenge.  Clues are given and students have to find a record that matches the clue.  Very cool! How to integrate Digital Vaults into the classroom:  This is a truly incredible way for students to interact with history.    While the site may be too hard for primary elementary students to use on their own, the Lincoln Pathway Challenge could be used with an interactive whiteboard with the teacher guiding the challenge.  Teachers could also create a unique challenge that directly matches your curriculum for students to complete.  The poster, movie, and create your own Pathway Challenge are an engaging way for students to learn about history in a hands on approach.  Give students a direction to go and then give them time to collect resources, and create their digital history vault.  This is not history as I remember it…in fact, I’m sure I would know much, much more about history if I were involved in my learning this way!  This is so much better than learning history from an outdated text book, the Pathway Challenges are like virtual field trips through history.   Tips:  I learned about this awesome website from Free Technology for Teachers, a great blog!   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Digital Vaults in your classroom.

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Photo Booth/ Seenly

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Open Source, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 25-10-2007

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What it is: If you are lucky enough to have a newer Mac in your classroom, you are familiar with Photo Booth. Photo Booth is reminiscent of its name sake, it allows students to take pictures with the built-in iSight camera. If you have a pre-Photo Booth Mac or a PC you can now use a free Browser application called Seenly. Seenly lets students take pictures of themselves (even applying different effects like sepia tone or x-ray). Seenly can be used on older Mac’s or PC’s. The only requirement is a web cam. These are coming way down in price, $15-$25.

How to integrate Photo Booth or Seenly into the classroom: Photo Booth and Seenly can be used for a multitude of projects throughout the school year. My favorite project for using Photo Booth/Seenly is for character education development. I create a “How are you feeling today?” grid in Pages or Word and save as a template. Students take pictures of themselves displaying the different emotions and drag and drop onto the template. When they are finished we print them out and create a class book of emotions. This is a wonderful way to teach students empathy. Photo Booth/Seenly can also be used at the beginning of the year for a getting-to-know you project. Create a bulletin board with student pictures. Students could use Photo Booth/Seenly to star in their own stories. Teachers, take pictures of students throughout the year as you podcast students reading. The photos with the podcasts make an excellent end of the year gift for students and parents as they can see and hear students growth throughout the year. Create a classroom “dictionary” where students create definitions for themselves along with their pictures. When teaching action verbs, have students take pictures of themselves actually doing an action verb. You will find a hundred and one uses that you never expected when you bring a web cam into the classroom and pair it with Photo Booth/Seenly!

Tips: See the image below for an example of the “How are you feeling today?” templates I created in Pages. One template was created for kindergarten through second grades and the second template was created for third through fifth grades.

Comments (2)

What a great idea! You said it best. Photo Booth does have a 101 uses and then some. I really like the idea of using it for character education. Also, seeing the maturation of a reader doesn’t get any better than capturing it over the course of a year. Good stuff!

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