I have researched and reviewed three AWESOME web tools to use in your classroom! Some of these I already use, some I can’t wait to implement with my students!
Mashpedia is like an encyclopedia but it combines several components in your search. The creators call it a “web application that aggregates content for millions of topics in real-time,” (Mashpedia, 2012). When you enter a term the search bar, the site takes you to a page with several different tabs. The first tab is Wikipedia, what you would’ve seen if you would have gone to Wikipedia and typed in the term to search. This includes pictures and a full explanation of the term you are researching. The second tab is News. Any current events that are relevant to the term you are searching from the past few months are displayed along with a link to their site. The next tab is Books. Any books relevant to the research are shown with a link to a summary, how and where to buy them, reviews, etc. The fourth tab is Videos. This is divided into two sections. The “top videos” are shown first and the “latest videos” are shown second. All the videos have the term you are researching in the title of your video. The fifth and sixth tabs are Images and Answers. Images displays pictures you might find if you search Google Images. Answers shows questions that were posted on message boards about the topic you are researching with links to those message boards. The last two tabs are Twitter and Facebook. The Twitter tab shows what people are saying/tweeting about the term you are researching. The Facebook tab displays any pages that you can “like” relevant to your topic. Pretty cool!
Have your students use Mashpedia for their next research or current events project!
Educators can use Twitter as a place to find ideas, organization tips, educational news, and lesson plans without going to a search engine. This can be done by using hashtags (#). In the search bar, simply type a # plus the subject you are looking for plus chat at the end (#sschat, #litchat, #mathchat, #sciencechat, #educhat). People who post information relating to these subjects on twitter will use these hashtags. For example, I would type in #sschat in the search bar and VOILA! Lesson plans, project ideas, articles, discussions all from fellow social studies educators at your fingertips!
There are also ways to use Twitter with your students. “K-12 teachers have taken advantage of Twitter’s format to keep their classes engaged and up-to-date on the latest technologies,” (Miller, 2012). One idea that Samantha Miller included on her blog post, 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom,” was the idea of Role Playing. You can take history lessons to a whole new level by having students create a Twitter account based on a historical or influential person throughout history or politics. They can pretend to be that person and tweet things that they would probably say. What a great way to connect the past with the present for your students! Samantha Miller lists 49 other ways to use Twitter in the classroom on her blog post.
Follow me on Twitter: @missklassen
Mindmeister would be a wonderful post-reading activity to sort out information from the text. It would also be a good tool to use at the beginning stages of a group project – that group and brainstorm ideas, insert links and images, and create their project from their mind map. Mindmeister also makes it easy to share your map with others on the internet. “You can share any creation easily by inviting users by email, or simply send them a unique and secure direct link,” (Hollauf & Vollmer, 2012). There are also mobile applications that can be used for iPads, iPhones, and Andriods. The iPhone app is FREE! Not sure about iPad or Android…
One thing that was disappointing from Mindmeister is that to become a registered user with no limitations you have to pay a monthly fee. Personal use is $4.99/month with some limitations. For “top notch” mind-mapping you can purchase the Pro subscription for $9.99/month. For businesses, you can pay $14.99/month. The good news though is that Mindmeister offers education pricing! Personal use is $2.49/month with some limitations. The Pro subscription is $4.99/month. OR if you can get your school on board, Edu Campus (20+ users) can be purchased for $1/month! (Hollauf & Vollmer, 2012)