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Flowgram

  What it is: Flowgram is a website that makes it easier to teach your students online.  Flowgram has a simple platform that makes is easy for anyone to package and share anything on the web.  Flowgram can combine slideshows, documents, pictures, screencasts, websites, audio, video etc. with your voice narration.  This makes it simple to teach any concept using the web.  Flowgram requires no download, it runs directly from your Internet browser.  Recipients of the Flowgram can fully interact with anything that is on the Flowgram (webpage links, video, etc.).  Flowgrams can be sent via email, linked to, or embedded in a blog or website for viewing.      How to integrate Flowgram into the classroom:  Flowgram is a wonderful way to create interactive tutorials for students learning any technology concept.  Beyond that, Flowgram makes it easy for you to take your students on virtual field trips on any subject.  What I love about Flowgram, is that it meets individual student needs.  Students can work at their own pace and interact with any part of the Flowgram as many times as they need.  It would also be a great place to create reviews for tests, and perfect for students who have missed school.  Teach your students to make Flowgrams and start your own library of student created tutorials on any subject.  Students teaching students is powerful!  Because you can narrate Flowgrams, they are wonderful to use with students who struggle with reading and navigating the Internet on their own…it is like having you sit right next to them, leading with your undivided attention.     Tips:  I have started creating a weekly Flowgram for teachers at my school called Tenkely’s Tips.  I will be creating a new page with a collection of the weekly Flowgrams.  Feel free to check them out!    Leave a comment and share how you are using Flowgram in your classroom.    

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NASA’s Be a Martian

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 22-02-2010

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What it is: I have always been intrigued by space exploration.  NASA’s Be a Martian feeds this intrigue by giving an up close view of Mars exploration.  Here students can virtually explore and learn about the human-robotic partnership that makes virtual exploration possible.  Students can become citizens (this requires them to create an account) or explore with an “Anonymous Tourist Visa”, which is how I explored.  Students can send virtual postcard messages to the Spirit Rover in her new home.  After composing their own message, students are taken to a virtual Mars where postcards with messages rain down.  Students can click on a postcard to read what others around the world have written.  In the map room, students can watch a video detailing the history of mapping and learn how NASA scientists map today.  Students can become virtual map makers by matching up map image fragments, and counting craters.  In Two Moons Theater, students can watch videos starring NASA scientists, explorers, and Mars.    Students can ask and vote on questions that they would like to see answered in the Polling Place.  In Tourist Mars Atlas, students can explore the surface of Mars and learn that there is more to Mars than a giant expanse of tan.   

How to integrate NASA’s Be a Martian into the classroom: Feed your students curiosity about space exploration and Mars with this great interactive environment.  Students have the opportunity to learn about the work that NASA scientists do, practice their observation skills in map making, and learn some great history about space exploration, and map making.  I really like that NASA has included a place for students to ask and vote on questions that they would like answered.  What a neat way to help students understand that we don’t have all the answers and that scientists ask questions, explore, and experiment to learn more.  I think that younger students (primary elementary) would really enjoy the crater counting activity.  Do this activity as a class using an interactive whiteboard/projector or individually as a center.  This will help students to look for detail and practice counting together.  Older students will enjoy trying their hand at mapping Mars and learning more about the history.  Have students learn about the Spirit Rover and her job on Mars before sending a message.  Some of the postcards include location information, it might be fun to track the locations of the postcards in Google Earth with placemarkers.  Then, explore Mars using Google Earth or Google Space.  The Google tools complement this site nicely.

Tips: There is an impressive contest section on NASA’s Be a Martian site, the deadline for entries is April 16, 2010.  The contest challenges us to come up with videos about Mars, interactive software or games, or write an efficient image processing application.  NASA is including us all in the exploration of Mars.  These challenges would be outstanding for older students to take part in…talk about authentic learning!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using NASA’s Be a Martian in your classroom.

Comments (5)

What an excellent way of teaching and learning about space. Way cool!

This looks like a great site to use in the classroom or at home for kids who enjoy space. In my child’s school, they have a “Project Fair” each year and this would be a great idea to help with a project dealing with space.

Authentic learning indeed! It’s wonderful when entities like NASA encourage kids to become involved. AND acknowledge that we certainly don’t have all the answers.

This looks like so much fun. I’m so annoyed that these tools are available to these kids and I was stuck with poorly copied images from an out of date textbook. Great find and share.

I know, I am always bummed that I didn’t get to learn with these tools when I was a kid. That is probably why I geek out about them so much now…gives me a chance to learn like a kid!

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