Sites of the Week [Week 11]

4 11 2011

If you are looking for the sites for week 10, they are not here. I had to take a break during that week as I had to focus completely on defending my dissertation. Now that I have passed that milestone, I can start to get back to reading and exploring powerful sites for teaching and learning.

11.1 Digital Quill

This is one of many resources available for those interested in digital storytelling. The site is comprehensive and provides examples along with tools and suggesting for helping you and your students document the stories that surrounds them. I have pulled a few sections to highlight from this site. This will give you a taste of what is available

Protecting Endangered, Indigenous Language through Digital Storytelling
(33 minute audio story)

What are ways our students can engage in powerful documentary digital storytelling? How can our students help document important stories of the humanity that surrounds them?

Seven Elements for a Good Story

Down and Dirty with Digital Storytelling

This is a collection of tips and tricks to help you get started quickly with digital storytelling.

There is so much to explore on this site. Start with the three links above to get into the site then start to explore this collection of ideas, tips, tricks and examples of digital stories.

11.2 Visualizing 7 Billion

Today’s site of the day is less about one site and more about passing a new milestone- Human population passes 7 billion individuals. There are many different and interesting aspects to this event that make for fascinating discussions. I have supplied several sites below that can help to visualize 7 billion and can serve as a starting point for discussions around this human milestone. I imagine these discussions involving the social and environmental implications of this event. However, I can also see them as interesting gateways to discussions of history, art, humanity, science and mathematics. What can you do with this milestone in your classes?

Visualizing how a population grows to 7 billion

This great video produced by NPR looks at the way the human population grew from 0.3 billion to 7 billion. It is shore, visual, provides thoughts about how the population increased based on human innovation and leaves you with ethical questions to consider for the future of humanity.

GapMinder- Health and Wealth of Nations

This is one that I have shared before but wanted to place it in the context of this moment in time. The graph that I have included here is a look at the wealth and health of nations covering the period from 1800 to 2009. This would make a great follow-up video to the one linked above from NPR. This is also an interactive video in that you can hover your mouse over any bubble to get the data. Click on any bubble to create a country callout. Click on multiple countries to make a picture that contrasts selected countries and regions. Connect this with the information presented in the video above.

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

This is another site that I have shared in the past but should be considered in context of this moment in human history. This is the same graph presented above but with contextualization provided by Hans Rosling. This is an amazing presentation but also a great explanation as the graph changes over time.

World Population Statistics

This interactive space provides another way to visualize the global data. You can Change aspects of the treemap to visualize the data in many different configurations. Again, when taken in context of the prior visualizations, what does this data add to the human story? What can you learn by manipulating the different ways of representing the data?

The World’s Population, Concentrated

This is an interesting infographic that looks at comparisons of known cities with their population densities and city size by area. Imagine the following: How large by area would the city be if the 6.9 billion people all lived in a city with the population density of (Paris, San Francisco, New York, Singapore, London, Houston). What does this say about current population distributions?

Our Aging World

This is an interesting look at population distributions between age bands and gender across eight different countries. Compare the graphs over time as they show change starting in 1950 and projecting population growth and demographic distributions to 2050. What does this mean indicate about past and current trends in the representative countries and how does that effect the future trends? Can you find correlations with information presented in the earlier graphics?

Country Population: Past, Present, Future

This is an interactive visualization created using data from the UN covering 1950 to 2010 and projecting forward to 2100. Click on the countries to select data representations that are indicated at the bottom of the image.

The World of Seven Billion

This site provides four different infographics looking at different aspects of the global population. It provides additional information that can help frame discussions surrounding this moment in human history.

11.3 Refraction: Teaching Fractions through Gameplay

Learning through gameplay is a growing teaching practice and field of research. Games for learning are not new. However, many games in the past were simply “drill and kill” in sheep clothing. Here is a game, Refraction, that appears to be part of a research project out of the University of Washington. Through Refraction, students learn about fractions through the experience of learning and playing the game. The actual learning of fractions is embedded in game play allowing students (players) to discover important concepts about fractions: equal partitioning, addition, multiplication, mixed numbers, improper fraction and common denominators. Students discover these concepts by manipulating lasers to power spaceships. I started to explore this game and found myself pulled deeper and deeper into the world of Refraction as new concepts and tasks were revealed. For those who teach math, have young children or simply want to see how games can teach, check this out and see what you kids can discover about the world of fractions through Refraction.

11.4 Documenting the American South

Are you looking for primary documents to teach American History? The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has created a resource specific to Documenting the American South. This appears to be a rich resource of primary documents related to the American South. It will not take long to get lost in the collection of images, photos, maps, manuscripts, collections and letters from the early 1800’s to current day. Here are a few samples to pique your interest. I can only imagine the wonderful experiences students and teachers could have exploring this rich archive of historical documents. I am imaging an artifact of understanding similar to Ken BurnsThe Civil War– that was written and produced by a class studying this period of history. Virtually everything you need is here and multiple stories could be told from this collection of artifacts.


Confederate States of America
An Act Relative to Prisoners of War
[Montgomery?: s.n., 1861]

© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Aunt Sally: or, The Cross the Way of Freedom.
A Narrative of the Slave-life and Purchase of the Mother of
Rev. Isaac Williams, of Detroit Michigan

© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

11.5 Academic Earth

This is an amazing collection of video lectures and online open-courses from some of the top thinkers and lecturers in the world. Here you will find lectures, presentations and courses in multiple subjects. This is part of the open-learning, DIYU (Do It Yourself University), Open-knowledge movement that is positioned to reshape formal teaching and learning in significant ways. I have pulled out a few for you to explore but dig into the site and see what catches your eye. Beyond the possibility of using some or parts of these in your classes, this is a fabulous resource for personal learning. Find a topic you have always wanted to explore and dig in. Form an informal learning group and discuss what you are exploring with your peers. This site is just one of many that are out there and I will feature others in the future. I just happen to really like how this one is setup and much of the content is very impressive. Take the content and place it in the social context of a learning group and you are entering the new renaissance of learning in today’s world.

Physics 1: Classical Mechanics (Walter Lewin-MIT)
Interested in physics? How about sitting in on the 35 lectures by Walter Lewin from MIT’s Physics 1: Classical Mechanics.

The Morality of Murder and Cannibalism (Michael Sandel- Harvard)
This is an amazing collection of powerful lectures exploring a fascinating topic. It has powerful implications in ethics, values, morality and humanity. Caution: If you start watching this series, you may find your productivity decrease as you get pulled into these amazing conversations. This is just one of several interactive lectures in the Harvard course- Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

What is it Like to Be a Baby: The Development of Thought (Paul Bloom- Yale)
This is lecture 5 in a series of 20 from Dr. Bloom’s Introduction to Psychology which he teaches at Yale. This lecture should be interesting to anyone with young children or works with young children. Paul Bloom takes you on a journey through cognitive development from the perspective of Piaget’s stages. You will briefly explore children as scientists, object permanence, A-not-B-task, theory of mind, conservation and more.




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