Media Matters

April 2013

Turn Your iPad into a Document Camera!

Document cameras are expensive, but you can turn your iPad into one! Simply connect the device to the projector (using your dongle) and balance it on something in camera mode. You don't need any fancy or extra equipment. Very cool!

If It Were My Home

If it Were My Home is a fascinating website that asks students to consider what their life would be like if they were born in a different country. When students select a country, there is a visual overlay comparison of maps. Students will also see a breakdown of death rates, HIV/AIDS, birth rate, electricity availability, oil consumption, economic comparison, health care, and class divide. Students have the ability to compare the country they selected with another country of interest. Students can learn additional information about the country and vote to show if they would rather live in the chosen country. Additionally, most countries offer a recommended reading list with books about the selected country. When students click on the mini-facts, they get a full description of the fact along with the original source. This site could be used a springboard for more discussion, research projects, and mathematical and statistical comparisons.

History Animated

History Animated offers animated online tours of notable battles and strategies and the outcomes of each battle in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the American Civil War, and WWII. History Animated's maps show troop movements throughout the wars. Students can advance through the tour at their own paces using the fast forward, pause, and rewind buttons. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good animation is worth ten thousand!

Operation Ruby Throat

Operation Ruby Throat is a program designed by John Hilton, Jr., of York, SC, for K-12 teachers and students as a focal point for integrated studies of meteorology, environmental science, animal behavior, botany, and the physical sciences--as well as math, language arts, geography, and other disciplines--all aided by modern telecommunications and computer technology. Mr. Hilton is a science educator and consultant, ecologist, and federally-licensed hummingbird bander. He focuses on one species, the Ruby-throated hummingbird, and provides tons of information, including student activities, on his website.

The Poetry App

April is National Poetry Month. The Josephine Hart Poetry App is a free iPad app that students can use to discover and read works of sixteen famous poets including Yeats, Byron, and Frost. Students can browse through the app to find a poet. When they find a poet students can click on that poet’s portrait to open a small biography and a selection of poems written by that poet. Students can read the poems and listen to narrations of the poems. Many of the poems are narrated by famous actors. Students can download the poems and audio recordings to use offline. Very engaging!

Go Social Studies Go

Go Social Studies Go is a nice site developed by Kenneth Udhe, a social studies teacher in Michigan, for his students and the world. Go Social Studies Go is essentially a series of multimedia books about common social studies topics. The site is divided into four main sections; World Geography, World Religions, Ancient History, and Colonial America. Within each section is a series of booklets containing text, pictures, videos, and links to additional resources.

Darwin, A Naturalist's Voyage

Darwin, A Naturalist's Voyage is an outstanding virtual tour of Charles Darwin's nearly five year journey on the Beagle. The site has fourteen segments chronicling Darwin's voyage from start to finish. Throughout the tour viewers will see sketches from the journey, hear readings from Darwin's journals, and learn about the journey as a whole. The virtual tour is not limited to just Darwin's work as a naturalist. The site also explores social issues of the time such as slavery.

Nature (PBS)

Nature (PBS) has 16 games and interactive videos about animals and other features of nature. Through the games and videos students can learn about penguins, sea turtles, and eleven other animals. Through the games students can also learn about glaciers, ocean waves, and forensics. You could use some of the Nature games as a follow-up to watching some of the video clips you could use some of the Nature games. Here's Nature's latest online video, An Original DUCKumentary.

101 Questions

101 Questions is a site designed by math educator Dan Meyer which has images and videos as prompts for developing math questions. Each image and video has a 140 character field in which you can enter your question. Click the "Search" link to find images by grade level. Take a look at the top 10 to get a feel for what you will find on 101 Questions. You can read his blog post to see how the site works. Click here to see a video from the site titled "The Incredible Shrinking Dollar."

Fun Stuff - Who Pooped?

Who Pooped? is an interactive game in which students learn about various animals by guessing which animal created which pile of poop. Believe it or not, there is actually some good information about the animals that follows each round of guessing who created which poop. It's a little bit elementary, but I thought it was fun! Maybe I've been in middle school too long!