Google’s New Sun Map Indicates Whether Your Rooftop Needs a Solar Panel

“The initiative, which the Mountain View giant initially launched almost two years ago, essentially leverages visual data from Maps and Earth to generate 3D models of the total amount of sunlight that reaches your roof.” – The Next Web

Check out Google’s blog post for full details.

Integrating Virtual Reality with the Superman Roller Coaster

“The Superman Ride of Steel roller coaster has been remade as a VR experience as riders strap on Samsung Galaxy Gear headsets” (Source).

Superman Ride of Steel

Talking Ed.: FIRST Robotics

Talking Ed.: FIRST Robotics

Talking Ed. with Tod Traughber

Episode 004 (View entire series)

The mission of FIRST is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership” (Source). The organization seeks to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all.

Tod Traughber is one of my doctoral students and he coordinates the judges for one of the regional FIRST Robotics Competitions. In brief conversations here and there, Tod had been trying to convey to me just how amazing the organization is and how exciting the competitions are. I was blown away once we were able to dedicate some time to discuss nothing but FIRST. Their mission and activities are something that I believe many students, teachers, and schools would love to be a part of. Thus, I invited Tod to participate in the following interview in hopes that we could get this great information out to everyone.

Making Mathematics Visible

Math ConnectionsAs a math teacher I would sometimes hear students ask, “When are we going to use this in real life.” I worked hard to provide students with practical experiences and tangible answers to this question as I think doing so helps with transference and engagement. I relied on feedback from my father (an architect, contractor, and farmer) and my friends that work in the areas of engineering, accounting/finance/sales, and healthcare for ideas and real-world examples that I could use in my classroom. I think the students and I would have also enjoyed having examples similar to the ones included in the following video. Amazing!

BEAUTY OF MATHEMATICS from PARACHUTES.TV on Vimeo.

Image Source: alibris.com

hgsepzfol #hgsepzfol

Storybird: Encourage Creativity, Promote Writing, & Add Excitement to Reports, Presentations, & Tutorials – for #isummitconf

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories, presentations, reports, or tutorials you and your students make to share, read, and print. Storybird is a fun, collaborative website that can be integrated in all content areas. It can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. STEM and social studies teachers can use Storybird for engaging alternatives to traditional lessons, reports and presentations. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s work.

Participants will be guided in setting up accounts and helped as they begin using Storybird.com’s tools and services. Participants will learn how to use the teacher-specific tools.

Below are my slides from this workshop that I’m sharing today at iSummit in Atlanta, GA. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

View more presentations from Clif Mims
Example Storybirds

Halloween Brothers on Storybird

 

You’re Mootiful on Storybird

 

Interest in Math and Science Careers Sparked in Classes Where Learning Is Directed by Students & Supported by Technology

This post is a follow-up to an earlier blog entry about the findings in the Speak Up 2011 report. The following information provides additional insights and comes from a press release from Project Tomorrow.

— — — — —

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amber Taylor
703-201-4893, amber@sambertaylor.com

Just Nine Percent of Students Describe Their Most Recent Math and Science Classes This Way; More than 40 percent Still Describe Traditional Format

Washington, D.C. – Nearly one-third of high school students who experience math and science classrooms where instruction is led by teachers, learning is directed by students and where technology is used to support both, express a strong interest in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career, according to the latest findings from the 2011 Speak Up survey (View as: HTML, PDF). Nationally, just nine percent of students described their most recent math or science class this way.

Only 20 percent of students in traditional classrooms, where the instruction is teacher directed and the use of technology is limited, expressed the same interest in STEM careers.

“This is the first time we’ve noticed this correlation between the type of math and science instruction and the students’ interest in STEM careers,” said Julie Evans. “For a nation concerned with developing the next generations of scientists, engineers and innovators, this finding should raise some eyebrows.”

When asked to describe their most recent math or science class, the majority of middle and high school students chose one of these three classroom paradigms:

  1. Traditional class with teacher-directed instruction – lectures, textbook assignments, group projects and labs (43 percent)
  2. Traditional class with teacher-directed instruction as in #1, but with some technology used to support instruction (33 percent)
  3. Traditional class with a mix of teacher-directed instruction and student-directed learning and the use of technology tools to support both teachers and students (9 percent)

“For three-quarters of today’s students in grades 6-12, math and science class is still much like it was when we adults were in school: predominately teacher-centered with little or no opportunities for students to direct their own learning, at their own pace, with their own tools,” said Evans.

“Think about that in contrast to what is being called for by the new Common Core Standards for math. The Common Core approach is based on teachers laying out a specific task and inviting the students to dig in and solve the problem using appropriate tools and resources,” explain Evans. “If our schools are able to implement this type of teaching and learning, the potential for interest in math and science should grow.”

These findings can be found in a Speak Up 2012 report, Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connects the Dots with Digital Learning. That report and more can be accessed here: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/2012_PersonalizedLearning.html

This year’s survey findings also show:

  • Significant increase in students’ mobile Internet access outside of school with more than half of all students (urban, suburban and rural) reporting access through 3G/4G mobile devices.
  • Middle and high school students’ access to a personal tablet device doubled from 2010-2011 (26 percent of middle school and 21 percent of high school students now report personal access to a tablet).
  • Students are adopting technologies and then adapting them to support their own self-directed learning (tweeting about academic topics, tutoring other students online, using mobile apps to organize school work, used Facebook as a collaboration tool for classroom projects, etc.).

The 2011 online survey – completed by more than 416,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators – offers the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered input on education and technology from those ‘on the ground’ in the schools.

Now in its 9th year, the annual survey about education and technology is facilitated through public, private and charter schools all around the country; every school is eligible to participate. The results provide important insights about education, technology and student aspirations to individual schools, state departments of education and national leaders.

Since 2003, more than 2.6 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 35,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard, Inc., DreamBox, Hewlett-Packard, K12, Inc., Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative, Schoolwires and SMART Technologies.

Project Tomorrow partners with more than 75 different education associations, organizations and think-tanks for outreach to the schools and development of the survey questions including the American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National Science Digital Library, National Secondary School Principals Association, Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors’ Association.

About Project Tomorrow
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report use the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.

 

Class Activity: Take a Virtual Trip through Google’s Servers

Here’s a quick activity that you can do in your classroom to explore the topic of sustainable energy. It comes to us from Google.

Introduction

Ever wondered what happens when you send an email? How does an email travel from your computer to your friend’s smartphone across the country or around the world?

Take a journey with Gmail and find out. In this short video you will follow an email on its journey to see what happens once you send a message. Along the way, you will learn about some of Google’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment.

 

Exploration

Take a journey through Google’s data centers by following an email along its path. Along the way, explore Google’s data centers with videos, photos and more. It all begins when you click send. Click on the image below to begin the online module.


Google Green

Google claims it is creating a better web that’s better for the environment. Google states, “We’re greening our company by using resources efficiently and supporting renewable power. That means when you use Google products, you’re being better to the environment…At Google, we’ve worked hard to minimize the environmental impact of our services. In fact, to provide you with Google products for a month, our servers use less energy per user than leaving a light on for 3 hours. If you add in our renewable energy and offsets, our footprint is zero. And we continue to find new ways to reduce our impact even further.”

Learn more about about Google Green here.

Educational Connections

Science – environment, sustainable energy, renewable energy, green

Geography – locate the nearest Google data center using Google Maps

Math – calculations regarding distance, time, rate

Language arts – write a sample email, follow the writing process to edit and re-write your email

 

Developing Young Authors with Storybird

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. It is a fun, collaborative, storytelling website that can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s writing development.

Below are my slides from this workshop. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

View more Presentations from Clif Mims
Example Storybirds

Halloween Brothers on Storybird

 

You’re Mootiful on Storybird