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Two unfortunate economic downturns…

The economy is definitely touching everyone.  Unfortunately in the past week it has negatively impacted two of my favorite web tools for the classroom. :(   Lookybook announced this week that due in part to the failing economy they have had to call it quits.  You can read more about the reasons behind their shutting down here.   Gcast also announced a need to go to a paid subscription for their phone podcasting service.  It will now cost $99 to use Gcast.  Lookybook was an incredible resource for classrooms because it offered a classroom library of picture books for free.  Hopefully another company will come along and work on bringing this idea back to life. Gcast is a loss for sure, I loved using it as a place where students, teachers, and parents could create podcasts  without a computer.  It was very easy to use for those teachers and parents who were apprehensive to podcast via computer but willing to do it by phone. There is another service that offers free phone podcasting.  Gabcast is a podcast over the phone service.  Gabcast is free to use and allows you to upload your audio files to a blog, website, or publish to iTunes. Read my original posts on all of these websites below: Lookybook Gcast Gabcast

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NASA @ Home and City space is everywhere you look

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 27-04-2011

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What it is: NASA has such cool exploratory websites for kids. NASA @ Home and City is no exception.  On this site, students get to explore 3D environments where they discover common household and city items that have roots in space exploration.  Students can click on various objects in the house or city to learn more about how space travel impacted the items creation or use.  Each item has a brief description and a short video included.  If students are particularly interested in an item, they can click to learn more about it on NASA’s Spinoff database site.  Students can take part in a Spinoff challenge where they explore technologies and answer questions; when all have been answered, students will unlock special downloads.

How to integrate NASA @ Home and City into the classroom: NASA @ Home and City is a great place for students to learn more about space as well as how the science and discoveries made in space impact their daily lives.  I love the way this site encourages students to discover and uncover learning.   NASA @ Home and City would be a great website for students to visit in partners or small groups on classroom computers.  Each student can take a turn exploring for the group and acting as guide.

If you don’t have access to classroom computers, explore the site as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  There is enough content for each student to have a turn directing the exploration.  The  3D feel of the house and city would be fun on the big screen!

I like that this site is appropriate for a wide range of age and developmental levels.  Young students will enjoy exploring and viewing the videos for information, while older students can really dig deeper with the Spinoff challenge and additional information links.

Tips: Make sure to rotate around the home and city, there is more to explore!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  NASA @ Home and City in your classroom!

 

Comments (3)

Thank you for locating such great resources. I really appreciate your suggestions for how one might use them in the classroom.
I plan to direct small groups of students to this site, have them do some guided exploration and reading, then complete response tasks. Response tasks will be matched to the abilities of the groups.

Kelly, here is the NASA’syoutube video that goes along with the NASA @ Home and City site: http://youtu.be/S2QyMybXioc.

This video explains in a little more detail many of the space technologies from the @ Home and City website. I use the parts of video as both an introduction to the lesson, and as an extension for those students who want to know more.

Thank you Ryan, outstanding!

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