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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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Nanoogo: Online ePortfolio solution

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 31-08-2012

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What it is:  Nanoogo is a place for students to create and share.  Nanoogo has a digital canvas that lets student share their knowledge and ideas with classmates.  Parents can easily login to view and comment on student work.  As a teacher, you can create a custom channel where you can provide secure access to parents and students and moderate or suggest changes to content before it gets posted.  Nanoogo is currently FREE to all schools, they mention on their information page that this may not be the case forever…I vote to sign up while it is free!

When students view each other’s work, they can rate it with a “like, genius, inspiring, cool, helpful, cute, funny or beautiful” badge.

Student can take screen shots of websites for their canvas.  Here they can add a sentence about what they learned/did.

How to integrate Nanoogo into your curriculum: At Anastasis Academy, we have a digital learning environment with 1 to 1 iPads.  We are largely paperless which has been WONDERFUL!  We don’t do worksheets…ever.  Bliss!  Most of what we do is digital, project based, design thinking, or discussions.  One of the problems this creates is a lack of bread crumbs of evidences of learning.  When you aren’t sending home a constant stream of graded worksheets, quizzes and tests, how can parents follow along and see what learning has been done?  What are the evidences?  Nanoogo could be a great place for students to create and keep an eportfolio.  Students can take screen shots and pictures of the projects and websites they have worked on and add a short reflection sentence about what was learned.  Everything can be shared with parents and classmates through the Nanoogo website.  Parents, students and parents can comment on student work and give it badges.  For everything that students upload on Nanoogo, they earn GoPoints.  These are displayed on a leader board.  Instead of ranking students based on grades, they are ranked based on how much of their learning they share.  I like this distinction…I’m not sure I love that we are still ranking students at all.  I think it might be more useful for students to compete against themselves in the points instead of against others.

Tips: At Anastasis, we use Evernote for our ePortfolio.  You can learn more about that here:

Evernote as an ePortfolio in a 1-to-1 iPad setting

 

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Nanogoo in your classroom!

Comments (2)

Kelly – Thanks for the post an wonderful review of our kids company! We’re very excited to be working with schools by providing our platform for free to teachers. At this early stage in our company, we’d love all the feedback we can get from teachers that are using Nanoogo or interested in using it. I can be contacted directly at daniel@nanoogo.com.

Thanks!
Daniel

I also use Nanoogo while teaching Scratch to 5th graders, and it’s been the best experience ever. Everyone is engaged in doing something meaningful, and students are learning with and from each other. I will be making Nanoogo part of everything I possibly can in the future.

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