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iCue

What it is: iCue is NBC’s newest venture into the realm of education. The sites aim is to create a collaborative 2.0 learning community that “incorporates gaming, discussion, and video resources in a safe, student-friendly online environment.” This is an excellent resource for getting your students interested in the world they live in through relevant news, videos, and a place to discuss them. The iCue video player is very robust and has the ability to take notes, leave comments, and create links for the video. The “Cue cards” can be saved in a student area for future reference. This site is a truly inventive way to teach with current events! How to integrate iCue into the classroom: iCue is a great way to keep your students interested and engaged with current events. The site will be excellent to use on a daily basis during this election year. Students can watch videos, start discussions and debates based on current events. This site has great potential for really making students use critical thinking and higher order thinking skills. The related games are entertaining and will help reinforce what students are learning. Tips: This site will eat up bandwidth. Make sure that your network can handle it before assigning the whole class to be on iCue at once! Learn more about what NBC is offering for the classroom at www.hotchalk.com. Please leave a comment and share how you are using iCue in your classroom. Technorati Tags: news, current events, social studies, video

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Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Comments (1)

Totally agree, Kelly. I hope more and more teachers embrace the role of guide on the side, as parents make it clear to the policy makers this is what they want for their kids. Maxwell sounds fascinating!

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