Sites of the Week [Week 8]

14 10 2011

Washington Post Civil War 150

Whether you teach history or not, take a moment to step back in time by exploring the Civil War interactive site created by the Washington Post. This site is rich with information and interactive graphics helping to bring this period of our history to life. While a perfect fit for those teaching history, it provides a great starting point for discussions on social issues that link to our past, lively characters of history, along with famous documents, letters and speeches. This site could be used in language arts classes, science and math as well as civics. For those looking to develop novel learning environments around PBL and game based learning, this site has a wealth of material that could be used when developing narrative based learning games. Below are a few highlighted features of the site.

  • Tweeting the Civil War: “Tweeted events of the war in the words of the people who lived them 150 years to the day after they happened.”
  • Battles and Casualties Interactive Map: Press play and watch the battle casualties unfold before you or click on any of the battle to get more information.
  • The Road to Civil War: Interactive timeline that takes you from before Lincoln’s election to the first shot then beyond.

The Symphony of Science

Do you want a quick lesson in quantum mechanics delivered in song? How about Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking singing about “A Glorious Dawn”? The Symphony of Science takes existing audio and video footage and through the marvels of auto-tuning, remixing and editing magic, creates short music videos that share the philosophy and ideas from some of our greatest minds in science. If you are not a science teacher, you will still enjoy this short (most less than 4 minutes) videos. These can also serve as great examples of remixing to present a short video that teaches an idea. While these are very well done, our students have many of the tools available to edit and remix content making this a creative option to share what they understand. I have provided two links from this site to introduce you to this genre. First, a Carl Sagan you have never seen with “A Glorious Dawn” followed by “We’ve Got to Be That Light- A Gift to America’s Teachers”. Enjoy the complete set of videos at The Symphony of Science.


Do you remember the Rubik’s Cube? Well, this is a play on the past…presenting Geocube. With six faces, 9 squares per face, Geocube presents a fun way to explore your world. Geocube presents 6 themes with 54 topics related to geography. The site is free and easy to use. Simply use your mouse to click and move the cube around. Find a face that look interesting and click to open the 9 associated topics. You can then click on a topic to read more about that aspect of geography as well as view video and images. This site is not just for those who teach and study geography. Spanish teachers may want to check out the Spanish language version of the site. The site also provides versions German and Italian. So, give the cube a spin and brush up on your geography. However, with the poor performance by our Nation’s youth on the most recent version of the Geography Report card being released last July, perhaps it would be good to introduce this site to students as a way to increase their basic knowledge the many facets of geography and the world around them. After all, geography is about much more than maps.

Wall Wisher

Welcome to Wall Wisher. This is a very easy tool to use and has many possibilities within any learning community. You can use Wall Wisher to gather questions and ideas during a lecture or workshop. Wall Wisher can be used to help plan an event or project. It can be form of easy brainstorming. The best part-It is really easy to use. Simply create an account at Wall Wisher and create a wall. You will receive an email with the URL for your wall then post it through e-mail, LMS, Portal or website and start collecting ideas. This is one of several different types of web-based software in this genre but this one is one of the easiest to use.

I have set up a sample wall and encourage all of you to give this a try as a participant. I have created a wall that is asking the question: What should we be reading as teachers? Just click on the link, post your response by double clicking anywhere on the wall and posting your response. As educators, we are always reading. What are you reading today? What did you read last month? Let’s see if we can fill our book shelf.

Demo Wall
What should we be reading as teachers?




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