1. Searching the Internet
The Internet has become one of the ‘basic tools of the trade’ and its content is growing at a rapid speed. It is vital that we are able to search and teach our pupils to search the internet in the most efficient way possible.
It is important to remember that Google is not the only search engine – although, in my opinion, it is still the best. You should however consider using other search engines, where appropriate. These should include:
Searchmash – Google traditional search + blog, wikipedia, news, image and video search in the right side bar (this is my current search engine of choice).
Quintura – I visual search, ideal for student project work.
Clusty – specialises in searching the deep web.
You can also find more detailed on-line notes here.
2. Using Images
Geography is all about images and using images are the best way to put a sense of place in the classroom. When looking for images, don’t forget to use the Google advanced image search and alternative photo sharing sites such as flickr.
Below is a screencast that I produced on using and finding images in the classroom:
You can also find more detailed on-line notes here.
3. Presentation Tools (PowerPoint)
For every thing that you need to know about PowerPoint and other presentation tools (including Captivate) visit SWict.com.
Death by PowerPoint is not an uncommon phrase in schools and conferences these days. PowerPoint is a powerful presentation tool but you need to be careful how you use it as a teaching resource.
Remember to involve pupils in the design and aesthetics of slides. What might look great to you might look awful to a 14 year old. After you have shown a presentation to a class gather some feedback on it (see idea 15 or idea 2). Ask pupils what they though of the presentation, not the topic. Was there to much text, what did they think of the pictures, what were the animations like etc...
In the past I have given students PowerPoint presentations to take home and edit for me.
Use flash animation in your presentation. As long as your computer is connected to the internet you can get flash to play directly from a web site to your PowerPoint presentation. Click here for tutorial telling you how you can do this. Now all you have to do if find some animations on the web, below is a summary of some good places to start looking.
- The Guardian’s Education website offers a whole range of excellent ‘Interactive Guides’ which include flash animation http://www.guardian.co.uk/interactive
- The BBC News also offers some good flash resources.
- For S1, S2 and beyond try Brainpop. You can get a free 14 day trial for this excellent resource.
You can search on for Shockwave Flash Files on the web by putting the subject you are looking for into the search box followed by a space then filetype:swf. For example try typing Hurricane Katrina filetype:swf into Google.
There are also a number of commercial resources available which include flash files. Check out Boardworks and order a free sample CD.
Include catch up slides (if getting students to copy things down from the board):
And think about using PowerPoint for differentiation:
Link difficult words and terminology to sites like wikitionary. This can also provide useful tangents and discussion points.
BBC Picture of the Day is a useful resource, ‘The Day in Pictures’
4. Using Video
Digital video is one of the most powerful tools we have as classroom teachers to increase motivation and it is also a powerful learning tool. Digital video cameras are now not very expensive you can buy a good one for under £200. But you can also make digital video by collecting footage from mobile phones, digital camera or even web cams. You can buy a web cam for about £10 and this can be used for smaller projects. Have a look at Noal’s trail idea over on the digital geography blog.
You can edit digital video on your computer in different ways. Have a look at Jump Cut, it’s a fairly new web site which allows you to share and edit videos for free on-line. By using jump cut it is possible for you to up-loads some footage at school and then each student edits it themselves at home. It’s a resource that has great potential.
I’ve not included all of the video that I showed at the conference due to permissions.
Use digital video as a motivation
tool. I showed
an example of how you can film students presenting the weather in front of a
whiteboard. A map of the UK
was drawn on the board. Students map weather symbols, write a script and then
present the weather. They stick the symbols on as they go along.
Use Digital video to re-enforce practice. I showed an example of a video was produced by some students to re-enforce their learning about cloud types. You can download a copy of this video here.
Use digital video to promote cross curricular links: Modern Languages. I showed an example of a weather forecast that had been produced in German. The software used to produce the maps and symbols was from Kudlian Soft. This is another example of how other departments should be consulted when developing courses. You can download a copy of this video here.
Use digital video to promote cross curricular links: Media Studies. I showed an example of a weather forecast that had been produced using a chroma key. The weather map was superimposed nest to the pupil. Again this was produced using Weather and Geography package from Kudlian Soft. Its only £20, but incredibly powerful.
Other points. If you want to find out more about digital video have a look at the Digital Imagery section of the Learning and Teaching Scotland ICT in Education Website.
Also don’t forget to check out Geography at the Movies.
Finally, don’t forget you can share PowerPoint presentations by using slideshare.net