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Google World Wonders Project

What it is:  Google has a way-cool new project called the World Wonders Project.  Thanks to Google, you can now wander the Earth with your students virtually to discover some of the most famous sites on earth.  The site makes a great addition to the history and geography classroom and opens your classroom to the wider world.  Not only are wonders of the modern world available, students can also explore wonders of the ancient world.  Using the street-view technology from Google maps, Google has made wonders of the world available to all of us at any time.  Themes include archaeological sites, architecture, cities and towns, historic sites, monuments and memorials, palaces and castles, parks and gardens, places of worship, regions and landscapes, and wonders of nature. When you explore a site, you get Google’s street view of the site, information about the site, YouTube videos related to the site and Getty images of the site.  The result is a truly rich experience that will make your students feel like they have jet-setted around the world. How to integrate Google World Wonders Project into the classroom: Google World Wonders Project is a fantastic way to help make your students more globally aware.  The World Wonders Project lets students really explore and discover the world from the comfort of their classroom.  Aside from actually getting to visit these places in person with your students, this is the next best thing!  Understanding the world and features of the world that we live in is the first step in becoming more globally minded.  Seeing different architecture and landmarks from around the world helps students to better understand the cultures and people who call those places home. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Google World Wonders Project is worth a hundred times more.  Students can envision geography and history because they have a picture (that they can interact with), video, a story and a slideshow of Getty images.  History comes to life when students can “put themselves” in the shoes of those who lived it.  Geography is so much more tangible when it isn’t just a label on a map. Building up global citizens is crucial.  Below are three steps that can’t be skipped if students are truly to be globally minded: Step 1: Encourage students to be global minded Educational globe trotting is impossible without this important step.  Students have to understand the overlaps in humanity. They have to be willing and open to learn not only about their own cultures, but also the perspectives, values, traditions and cultures of others. Being global minded means that students know how to show empathy and compassion for others. It means that they know how to respect others ideas.  Building global mindedness can feel like a chicken and egg scenario. Connecting your students with others globally is a great way to build global mindedness.Global mindedness truly begins in your classroom.  Build a culture of caring, compassion, empathy and respect and it is easier to transfer to the wider world.  Reflect often with students about feelings and attitudes.  When students recognized the shared humanity in their own classroom, it is easier to understand that shared humanity in light of a larger world. Step 2: Encourage students to be inquirers Students who are inquirers are curious, they are willing and open to discover new learning.  Kids are naturally curious, unfortunately in school we tend to “undo” this natural curiosity.  We allow students only one line of inquiry (the one they have been given). We keep kids from asking additional questions (we don’t have time for that).  We teach kids that there is one right answer (the one the teacher has).  Without an inquisitive nature, being global minded becomes just another assignment to do.  Deep connections with others aren’t made. Step 3: Teach students to communicate effectively It baffles me that this isn’t a larger focus in our schools.  Communication makes everything else we do in life possible.  Students have to learn how to represent their ideas and learning clearly with confidence.  They must learn how to work with others, pausing long enough to hear the ideas of others. There are two extremes that I often see in communication: 1. The student doesn’t believe that their ideas are worthy of words.  They are shy or afraid of how they will be received.  2.  The student finally gets the floor and doesn’t want to give it up.  They want to talk and will go around and around with their ideas without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise.  There is a balance here. Google World Wonders is one way to help students understand other cultures, ideas and times.  It can be explored by students individually on classroom or computer lab computers, or explored as a class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  If you teach young students, make this an experience.  Set up your classroom like an airplane. Take tickets, have students “pack”, serve an inflight meal, watch an inflight video about the place being visited, create a Flight Day.  When you land in your destination, students can explore the Google World Wonder assigned. Google has some great teacher guides and educational packages to use with the World Wonders project.  Check them out on the Education page! Tips: I am leading a session in Adams 12 tomorrow about Global education.  You can see the website I created with links I am sharing here. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google World Wonders Project in  your classroom!

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Cost of NCLB Testing Info Graphic ($5.3 billion is TOO high)

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, education reform, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 21-09-2010

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Lately I have been wondering about how much state testing costs us.  There are a lot of costs involved in standardized testing.  In addition to the cost of administering, grading, and recording the test, there are other less tangible costs such as the impact on learning.  Curious, I sent out a tweet asking if anyone had info on how much testing cost (I was coming up empty in a Google search).  A few of my PLN sent me a link to Stateline.org where I found this:

I knew the numbers would be high, but this is shocking. All of that money per state for testing.  I started wondering what else that money could have been used for and sent out another tweet, this time asking what one thing teachers would want in their classrooms if money was no object.  The info graphic above holds the results.

The info graphic is based on the following numbers (links to data sources):

iPod Touch 4 $229

iPad $499

Average cost of children’s books $21

Soccer ball $10

64 Count Box of Crayola Crayons $5

Exercise ball (to use as chair replacements) $20

Price/square foot for school addition $222

Paraprofessional Salary/year $26,000

Violin $340

I don’t know about you, but every one of those items above feels like a better use of money.

Image links: Pencils, Exercise ball, iPod Touch 4, iPad, Soccer Ball, Crayons, Violin


Price: $
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Comments (16)

You should be able to get down to $200/sq ft on a school addition because I checked out some figures for the west coast and was able to get around $200/sq ft.

That is a very cool info graphic! Isn’t Pages brilliant? I love the way you unified it with frames, and added shadow to give it that stuck on the notice board look.

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Cost of NCLB Testing Info … […]

I love that info-graphic. Nicely done. Startlingly depressing but makes a great point.

It is depressing!

Yes, I love Pages (obviously!!)

Even better! I got my info from link below of averages.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JackieGerstein Ed.D., Shelly S Terrell, David, Jenna Ream, Kim Kadeem and others. Kim Kadeem said: http://bit.ly/dkFlTC on iLearn Technology. NCLB in it's true form… what a waste of $ […]

The figures you present and the available options for spending the money is quite amazing and rather scary really. Now that people can see how much money is allocated to testing yearly, there might be more of a fuss created about the spending?

$5.3 BILLION?! Whew! It certainly seems that we are requiring schools to administer more and more tests and laying off more and more teachers and turning out more and more students without basic skills. How can that be?! NCLB is certainly far from perfect but what is a better way to do fair performance reviews for teachers? My kids have been lucky, they have had some very good teachers, a handful of phenomenal educators and a few duds. How do we get rid of the duds? Face it, there are plenty of people doing jobs they don’t enjoy and/or do not do well. In the business world, they are given performance reviews and, if not doing their job, let go. In my state it is nearly impossible to get rid of a bad teacher, especially because it takes a few years to see if the person is “cut out” for teaching, by then they are in. How about using some of that money for development? And help “bad” teachers get better or let them go?
Was development time/training one of your options in your survey of ways to spend the money? There has to be accountability, there has to be some kind of performance review, but is testing students the way to do it? Seems like there must be a better way.

Contrary to what many believe, getting rid of bad teachers is not difficult – including ones that are “tenured.” To do this, administrators, mostly building principals, must make many observations and document their findings. This is usually what is not done on a regular basis. I’ve personally seen experienced teachers let go because of job performance. In addition, those “duds” you mentioned just might have been phenomenal teachers to other children. It’s ridiculous to judge a teacher on one standardized test. I certainly agree that students need to achieve, but there are just too many variables that impact how much and what the student learns. Many of these variables are out of the teacher’s control.

What makes a bad teacher? In my experience, every teacher I have worked with could be a bad teacher in one area, and a fantastic teacher in another. One could be good with parents, yet bad with kids. Another could be a fantastic coach, and a lacklustre participant in during staff meetings. A third may teach concise lessons, carefully planned, which no students care to engage in. What, in your estimation, besides presenting a danger to the students, makes a bad teacher?

I love your graphic so much I riffed on your idea and made my own graphic. It is ridiculous to judge a teacher OR a student by a statistic because you cannot measure knowledge with a number. NCLB depersonalizes learning and harms the teacher and the students and gives parents false information.

Thanks Tammy, saw your graphic and like the adaptation!

[…] Standardized (or other forms) of testing […]

[…] Standardized (or other forms) of testing […]

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