An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘science

Unite Social Justice, Digital Storytelling, and Content with Google Earth Outreach

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I’m always on the lookout for ways to integrate social justice and activism into my content. @vanessacarter gave me a tip about Google Earth Outreach.

In Google’s words:

Google Earth Outreach gives non-profits and public benefit organizations like yours the knowledge and resources you need to reach their minds and their hearts: See how other organizations have benefited from Google Earth Outreach, then learn how to create maps and virtual visits to your projects that get users engaged and passionate about your work.

How can you use this in your classroom? First, go to the showcase. Google gives many examples of dynamic outreach maps by topic: education and culture, environment and science, global development, public health, and social services. You can click on the links and open the KML files in Google Earth. Case studies are examples of how organizations use Google Earth Outreach in their day to day operations.


Look around the showcase – maybe you can use some of the KMLs in your classroom or you can create a project where students make their own Google Earth KMLs.

Here are a few ideas to bridge Google Earth, social justice, and content:

– Math: Are students exploring inequities around the world or in their communities? Use Google Earth, Google Spreadsheet, and other tools to create a dynamic KML about these inequities.

– Language arts and social studies: Write narratives from the perspective of historically oppressed peoples (or from multiple perspectives….). Students can tell use Google Earth as a digital storytelling medium.

– Science: There are many KMLs about environmental issues. Your students can present their research about this timely topic in Google Earth.

– Have a community service project? Whether it is in the community or involves raising money and sending it abroad, students can use Google Earth Outreach to educate people (and themselves) about their cause.

Have you used Google Earth Outreach to link activism and content? Leave comments and share your ideas with us.


Are We There Yet?

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I ran into the City of Memory project via Gothamist:

An organization called City Lore has created an interactive map that fuses NYC cartography with its residents’ oral histories. Whether on the news, the subway, or even online, New Yorkers see mapped representations of their town several times a day. City Lore’s City of Memory map has deepened that visual familiarity by creating an interactive environment where users can hear vignettes from other New Yorkers about their lives. The organization, which is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation among other groups, has produced a number of the stories itself, but the general online public is free to submit their own stories for placement on the map.

This amazing project got me thinking about lesson plans involving oral histories and interactive maps. Google has easy to follow video and text tutorials that show users how to personalized Google maps including place-markers, videos, shapes, pictures, and other annotations.

I found examples for how interactive maps and oral histories can be used across the curriculum:

Stay tuned for a more complete lesson plan.

On Edupunkism

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Edupunk.Isn’t.Dead (“That works…” – an EducatorBlog Comic)

“A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’. So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’. So he kicks over the garbage can and says ‘That’s Punk?’, and I say ‘No that’s trendy!'”

Billie Joe Armstrong

“Punk to me was a form of free speech. It was a moment when suddenly all kinds of strange voices that no reasonable person could ever have expected to hear in public were being heard all over the place.”

Greil Marcus

I have a friend who is extols the virtues of direct vocabulary instruction. My word of the day today is edupunk. My friend would say that my use of the word edupunk is “so 2000” – but better late than never (this doesn’t apply to use of the phrases “whoop there it is”, “that’s whack”, and “fo ‘shizzle”).

Here are resources for the aspiring edupunk:

TechLEARNING Blog: Daily web 2.0 tools and tips for teachers.

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling: A primer for educators who want to use digital storytelling in the classroom.

Hypertextopia: An innovative online project that aims to change the way people write and tell stories.

The Library of Congress: Teachers should integrate photographs, sound clips, copies of old pamphlets, and many other primary sources into students’ learning.

A great lesson plan that integrates Library of Congress materials into a Civil War lesson.

Google Reader: The easiest way to subscribe to and view blogs. Educators should try to read blogs a few times per week and search for eduhacks (kind of like lifehacks, but for teachers).

ToonDoo: A free and easy to use comic strip creator that teachers and students can use to communicate ideas in new ways.

WordPress and Blogger: Blog it out.

Fo’ Shizzle my Edufizzles.