Tag Archives: resources

12 Mega Web Site – Exploring National and International Wonders Of Free Resources For 21st Century Learning

Here are twelve of the biggest educational sites you will ever find filled with free resources and content to promote 21st century learning. As this Mega Site Series comes to a close, be on the lookout for my upcoming Advanced Google Post, an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series, and a series of posts dedicated to some Awesome Competitions That Promote Real Learning. Please be sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share this site and its information with others !  I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans), so be sure to follow. Now, here are the Big Twelve Mega Sites and please leave comments on Mega Sites you want me to cover in the future!– Mike

Mega Sites are sites that are not only great web catches, they are sites that include vast resources filled with standards and many times crossing curricular areas. Each site in-it-self could be a full day workshop. Most of all they are what I call super stores of learning. Below you will find the sites and their links with a quick description. Descriptions include a link called Check Out Blog Post at 21centuryedtech leading to a complete article elsewhere in my 21centuryedtech Blog.  Enjoy, but don’t get lost in the vastness of resources or in their world of unlimited creativity! – Mike

Why these Mega sites?

Many include national and state standards
Engaging lessons, simulations,videos, and resources
NETS, PBL and 21st Century skills are included
Great professional development
Extend classroom walls into the real world
Connect with community and experts

Links – No particular order since many cross the curricular areas. I post them as I find them!

Jason Science – Wow, not just science but runs the spectrum of STEM education! Curriculum, professional development, games, digital labs, and live events just to name a few. You better set some time aside. I especially like some of the games since I have served on a committee for feedback. Best described The JASON Project connects students with great explorers and great events to inspire and motivate them to learn science. If you are a science or STEM related teacher, this is a must click! Check out this blog post at 21centuryedtech.

Kids.gov – A country of resources stating each state! Explore resources on GovernmentAmerican HistoryEarth Science – EnvironmentGames and Activities ,State WebsitesCareersSocial Studies , and Money . Data? yes, information? yes, lessons and activities? yes, podcasts? yes! Jump in and find great information and ideas to build activities that will connect to your standards! Check out this blog post at 21centuryedtech.

ArtsEdge – Don’t forget to put the A in STEM in order to STEAM it in to full power! An all encompassing resource from the Kennedy Art Center! Check out a powerful data base of lessonsstandardsweblinks , and how-to’s. All searchable by art content, other core curricular content, and grad bands. Connect with articles/reports, contacts, and advocacy essentials. Explore by visiting Explore by visiting Look-Listen-Learn FeatureMeeting Artists , and checking out the Artists of the Week . Speaking of Art, this site is much more then painting, it covers all of the Arts! A true site in appreciation and integration for those things that make all curriculum and life so rich! Check out this blog post at 21centuryedtech.

ReadWriteThink – This langauge arts based web site states its mission “to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in Reading and Language Arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.” Its sponsors include the International Reading Association, The National Council of Teachers of English, and Thinkfinity. It is evident that the site is built on professionalism. The site clearly states that every lesson plan has been aligned not only to the IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts but also to each individual state’s standards. Two main areas of the site include Classroom Resources and Professional Development. With close to 700 searchable lessons it goes beyond traditional language arts providing digital resources such as podcats, web literacy, and multimedia. Check out the blog post at 21centuryedtech

NOAA Educational Ocean Service – NOAA joins hundreds of organizations and agencies in a celebration of science to make science more accessible, personally meaningful, and locally relevant. Be sure to check their lesson plan library. Students will be thrilled to engage in activities and games in the Planet ArcadeCheck out the blog at 21centuryedtech

Smithsonian Education – How about finding yourself in resources as large as the Smithsonian? That is exactly what you will do as you explore data bases of lessons and activities in Art and DesignScience and TechnologyHistory and CultureLanguage Arts, and an amazing collection of Idea Labs. There are unique professional development opportunities even a unit on podcasting. Another great feature is the ability to search resources, lessons, and activities by keyword. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech

EDSITEment – Is provided by the people at The National Endowment For The Humanities. This site is loaded with cross-curricular information. Areas include lessons in Art and CultureLiterature and Language ArtsForeign Language, and History and Social Studies. In fact, you may wish to see what the ASA said about EDSITEment’s Advanced Placement US History Lessons. They also sponsor in cooperation with NCTE, The National Gallery of Writing. This collection of student interactives is pretty exciting along with these lessons on America through its Art. Last, check out these NEH funded PBS resources for education. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

SAS Curriculum Pathways – Fully funded by SAS and offered at no cost to US educators and students, SAS Curriculum Pathways is designed to enhance student achievement and teacher effectiveness by providing Web-based curriculum resources in all the core disciplines: English, math, science, social studies/history and Spanish, to educators and students in grades 8-14 in virtual schools, home schools, high schools and community colleges. This free resource includes over 200 InterActivities, 200 Web Inquiries, 600 Lessons and 4,000 Web Resources. My favorite is the Writing Reviser , a great tool for students when editing their work. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech .

USGS Education – The U.S. Geological Survey provides scientific information intended to help educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues that affect our quality of life. Discover selected online resources, including lessons for K-6 and 7-12 , data, maps , and more, to support teaching, learning, education (K-12), and university-level inquiry and research. Check out this new USGS Updated Brochure for education. Check out blog post at 21stcenturyedtech.

TeacherDomain – from PBS station WGBH in Boston. As described on the website it really is “an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television. These classroom resources, featuring media from NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience, and other public broadcasting and content partners are easy to use and correlate to state and national standards.” Resources include video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, documents, lesson plans for teachers, and student-oriented activities. Teachers can personalize the site using “My Folders” and “My Groups” to save resources into a folder and share them with your other teachers or their students. Some of the resources even allow downloading and remixing for teacher mash up presentations. There is a strong effort at integrating lessons with technology to engage student learning. Check out this video to learn more, then sign up for your free account! Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

eGFI – eGFI is proudly brought to you by the the American Society For Engineering Education (ASEE). They are committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. As you can see the sight is student centered and engaging. Not only that, there are a lot of videos, resources, and activities. Be sure to take a look at the magazine . Also, click on the teacher link (not always easy to find). Here you will discover hundreds of lesson plans, class activities that promote PBL, great STEM outreach programsawesome web resources, interesting news features, and some great K12 education news. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

ARKive – ARKive is truly a wonderful place where students can both learn and create. While it may be especially useful to Science Teachers, others have used the ARKive wildlife videos and photos to develop literacy and ICT skills, for creative writing exercises, and to inspire poetry or art assignments. It is time you jumped on the boat, or ark if you prefer, while facilitating real learning through encouraging student creation, remix and reinvention in the 21st century at ARKive! Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

Take some time to investigate and possibly implement resources found in these twelve Mega Sites in your classroom this school year,  or tomorrow! Coming soon… my upcoming Advanced Google Post, an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series, and a series of posts dedicated to some Awesome Competitions That Promote Real Learning.  Please share these Mega Sites  with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki,  follow me on twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you know of a Mega Site I should cover please leave a reply. I want to learn from all of you. Until that next post; enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Thanks…  Mike

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Free Quality Multimedia Resources … Learn and Create In The Teachers’ Domain!

Welcome to the fourth in a series of summer posts dedicated to bringing you the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. Summer is a  perfect time to examine what you just might want to include in next year’s lesson plans that will engage your students. I plan to share resources that will cover all the curricular areas. Each article will give an in-depth and informative visit to one of these sites. Make sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share! If it is not summer where you are, then you can jump right in and facilitate learning with some new material  tomorrow. I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans) so be sure to follow. – Mike

Teachers’ Domain definitley qualifies as a mega site from the people at PBS station WGBH in Boston. As described on the website it really is “an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television. These classroom resources, featuring media from NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience, and other public broadcasting and content partners are easy to use and correlate to state and national standards.” Resources include video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, documents, lesson plans for teachers, and student-oriented activities. Teachers can personalize the site using “My Folders” and “My Groups” to save resources into a folder and share them with your other teachers or their students. Some of the resources even allow downloading and remixing for teacher mash up presentations. There is a strong effort at integrating lessons with technology to engage student learning.

Educators will excited to find that the site contains even more then countless amazing and engaging videos. On entering Teachers’s Domain there is an area set up for K12 curriculum. In this area teachers can find lessons devoted to Arts, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The Arts reveals multiple resources and lessons exploring dance, music, theater and the visual arts.  Investigate the power of language in the English Language Arts Section!  This collection of video segments, activities and engaging lesson plans focuses on literacy skills for early childhood readers through high school students. Best of all these resources correlate to state and national English Language Arts standards. Students can become a  math whiz with a wonderful collection of Mathematics resources! This new and expanding collection of media resources  explore main concepts in elementary mathematics and correlate to educational standards. Broaden you and your students  knowledge of science content and effective inquiry-based methodologies.  The Science area  offers over 1,500 media resources in science, engineering, and technology as well as standards-based professional development courses. This area is certainly worthy of its own blog posting by itself! The Social Studies area allows classrooms to journey back in time and around the globe! This ever growing collection of video segments, activities and lesson plans  brings alive selected topics in U.S. and world history and also correlates to state and national standards.

Teacher Domain also provides avenues towards professional development. Educators can even earn continuing education credits and college credit. Check out Teachers’ Domain Professional Development area that offers K-12 teachers new ways to inspire students, broaden content knowledge, and integrate technology into classrooms. Especially interesting is an area devoted to teaching strategies. This contains awesome videos covering English Language Arts,  Innovative StrategiesIntegrating TechnologyScienceMedia ResourcesGuides/Tutorials/ Workshops, and  Professional Development Activities.

I believe this next paragraph could be invaluable as a free resource. I want to introduce you to some of the awesome collection of public media series filled with great videos, lessons, and activities found at Teachers’ Doman. Explore the links I have included for some great resources. You will be amazed! NOVA on Teachers’ Domain is the most popular science series on public television while  podcasts about science are available from PRI’s The World . Discoverd epic stories about Americas past and present that will engage students at American Experience,  and check out a collection of adventures and history lessons from Antiques Roadshow that will provide some amazing adventures in history detective work. For early readers Between The Lions has twenty great clips or engage students with Cyberchase the Emmy-winning math mystery show. You may wish to study immigration using Faces Of America or meet America’s most extraordinary young musicians aged 8 to 18 at From The Top. Any course that includes current events and debate should include Frontline, and science classes will enjoy the powerful documentaries found at Nature, along with the fast-paced, innovative, and entertaining science program featuring timely science and technology stories entitled Nova Science Now. Students can also follow the life and contributions of Percy Julian, and explore the power of language while building reading and writing skills using video segments drawn from the Poetry Everywhere series. Your students can gain awareness and understanding of the diversity of religions and religious experiences by viewing Religion and Ethics and will appreciate the workings of the US judicial system from The Supreme Court. Last, enrich the study of Global History by using contemporary examples as jumping-off points to engage students with historical themes that were as relevant in the past as they are today through the integration of Wide Angle.

Just when you may think you have discovered all of the resources there are other amazing links which I know you will find valuable. Students can explore 21st Century careers at ATE or discover a unique Alaska’s Native perspective on earth and climate. There is also an area devoted to Native American perspective on global warming at Where Worlds Touch The Earth. There are resources on  Biotechnology, and students can explore Cool Careers in Science,   or study impacts of Global Climate Change and Warming. Watch participants in the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program, (ITEST), as they learn science by doing it. Check out some early age literacy at Literacy 360 or take a moment to inspire some Middle School Literacy. Explore themes in science, literacy and language arts, fine arts, and social studies through the perspective of culturally diverse communities in these resources from the Education Through Art, Culture, and History (ECHO) initiative. The Civil Rights Collection provides archival news footage, primary sources, and interview segments filmed for Eyes on the Prize, this collection captures the voices, images, and events of the Civil Rights movement and the ongoing struggle for racial equality in America. Learn about the Arctic, the Antarctic, and why scientists are so interested in studying Earth’s polar regions by visiting Polar Sciences Collection. Students can learn about personal finance with this collection of video resources, interactive games and lesson plans at the The Citi Collection for Financial Capability. My favorite, encourages students to create their own multimedia using Building Blocks,which are short downloadable video segments that students can edit and embed into their own presentations.

While you are at Teachers’ Domain check out some of their local links. You will find great resources such as Keystone eMedia, an outstanding KQED Science Media Collection, resources from the Ohio Collection Of Digital Media, and this Teacher’s Guide designed to help you make optimum use of video in your classroom. Teachers’ Domain is currently converting video to full screen. They also offer tutorials for teachers using  Teachers’ Domain in the classroom. They include topics such as Introduction to TDUsing TD in the Classroom,Technology Guide to Using TDUsing Folders and Groups, andCreating User-Generated Media. You may also wish to check out this promotional video to learn even more, then register for your free account! Be sure to read more about Teachers’ Domain including its mission, contributors, and usage policy. Possibly the best feature of Teachers’ Domain is that it has been constructed to integrate in and across curriculum while allowing teachers to use the important video segments for teachable moments. It incorporates lessons that are engaging and provides opportunities to not just consume the technology but to also create. It really is time for you to explore and incorporate Teachers’ Domain as part of your 21st Century Classroom!

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as Teachers’ Domain this summer! Take some time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! I will continue to bring thought, reflection, and amazing web apps along with this summer series. Please share with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki, follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike

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Free STEM & PBL Resources… eGFI Is Dreaming Up The Future!

Welcome the third in a series of summer posts dedicated to bringing you the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. Summer is a  perfect time to examine what you just might want to include in next year’s lesson plans that will engage your students. I plan to share resources that will cover all the curricular areas. Each article will give an in-depth and informative visit to one of these sites. Make sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share! If it is not summer where you are, then you can jump right in and facilitate learning with some new material  tomorrow. I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans) so be sure to follow. – Mike

If you have been trying to dream up some great STEM and PBL related material then eGFI, brought to you by the the American Society For Engineering Education (ASEE), is a great place for you to visit! This first class organization who’s mission is to dream up the future, is committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. At first glance it is apparent that this web site is a dream of student centered and actively engaging resources. It now time to go beyond that first glance. You will be amazed at the number of videos, resources, lessons, and activities that are ready for you to integrate.

Once you are done moving  the different pictures of resources around on the entry site, a great place to start is at What’s New.  In What’s New, you will beintroduced to some of the most amazing cutting edge inventions, or perhaps you will want to visit E-Tube filled with video titles like Engineers Are Cool, Stanford Researchers Make Paper Battery,  The Great Space Elevator, and Robot Football! In fact E-Tube contains over one hundred engaging videos covering the major topics of competitions, cool stuff, TV shows, in the field, and in the classroom. Perhaps you want to connect instruction with careers. Then dream on with Trailblazers, a place to connect studies with people in the field. Here you will find interesting people and the interesting things they do related to STEM careers.  If that doesn’t get you dreaming then be sure to check out the lower right hand corner of the page that will take you to 15 different STEM related industries through a funky, yet fun interface. Dream on with eGFI’s amazing Student Blog! This highly engaging blog assists upper elementary, middle and high school students as they explore the various fields of engineering and STEM related fields, plan their own projects, and get the information they need to decide whether an engineering or STEM related career is right for them.

Engineer Your Path provides a great place for students to dream about a possible STEM related future. Here you can meet a student, discover 10 essential steps toward getting in a STEM field, discover what it is like to be on the job, and just get great advice. Great information for schools interested in exploring career pathways! Be sure to read the magazine, filled with cool topics and linked to great videos. You may wish to join the thousands of teachers receiving fresh lesson plans and activities, news, feature articles and web resources every week by email. Check out this archive of teacher newsletters and then sign up here. Do your students want to learn more about The Making of Avatar, 3D Printing, and the The Kepler telescope. Each week, the eGFI student newsletter presents fun and interesting engineering innovations, STEM related topics, and great discussion topics for class. Sign up for the student newsletter and encourage your students to do so, as well. You can check out past newsletters here.

If I have you are dreaming of future possibilities for your classroom then be sure to check out the for teachers link!  This will turn your dreams into a reality! This hard to spot link in the upper right corner of the What’s New Page is one you do not want to miss. You will find close to 100 amazing lesson plans for K12, another large selection of activities that will put your students at the center of project based learning,  over 300 outreach organizations and events, close to 300 web resources devoted to STEM,  special feature articles that feature STEM related education, and some great K12 education news. eGFI is an amazing teacher resource area that could keep you dreaming all season long! If you or teachers you facilitate have an interest in STEM and PBL, then eGFI is a great place to get both you and your students dreaming up the future!

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as eGI this summer! Take some time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! I will continue to bring thought, reflection, and amazing web apps along with this summer series. Please share with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki, follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike

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An ISTE Webinar Packed With Free Education Resources… And I’m Your Host!

I would like to invite you to join me as I host an ISTE Technology In Practice Webinar entitled; 21st Century Education and Technology Integration: No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students on Wednesday, May 12 at 4:00 PM EDT! If the length of the the title is any indication of the resources shared, and it is, you are in for a a landslide of free resources. I am excited about sharing what I believe is over  two hours of resources in the hour time slot! Check out the link to this webinar at ISTE Webinars. By the way, I am available and can provide a staff of educators with their own webinar. I have enjoyed giving live presentations at NMSA, CELL, Alan November BLC09, ICE, and  NICE  to name a few. While I sometimes travel to different schools to provide in-service, I entertain the idea of facilitating a webinar that just might fit your school’s needs and budget. As always please follow me on Twitter@mjgorman) or email me  at (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us).  Now, please give me the opportunity to present a little more about why I am so excited about my up-coming ISTE Webinar

First, it is an honor and a privilege to be invited by the professionals at ISTE (International Society For Technology In Education) to present one of their Technology In Practice Webinars. In fact, it is an honor I take very serious and have spent months trying to get the presentation just right. I feel whether I present in person, or on-line, it is my duty to deliver a presentation with motivational enthusiasm that is not only engaging and entertaining, but allows people to walk a way with new knowledge they can implement tomorrow! After all, isn’t that what is expected in the 21st Century classroom?  Not only that, participants must be able to access resources presented, along with access to myself, after the webinar is over! I plan on making sure that all is accomplished.

The Webinar entitled, 21st Century Education and Technology Integration: No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students will cover the following areas. First, a quick philosophy of 21st Century Learning and a practical approach to addressing curricular standards while transforming educational delivery to the digital natives of today. This will transition into four different categories of resources available containing thousands of resources. Last, it concludes by applying this transformational thinking and integrating it with important lessons teachers already do. It is a goal that participants discover new and exciting ways to connect with today’s digital learners using free resources.  It is my intent to provide insight into ways of interconnecting local, state, and national standards while relating them with real world issues that are authentic and relevant.  I realize this is quite a bit for an hour, but I guarantee an hour well spent!

Thanks for joining me for another journey in 21st Century Education! I hope you are able to participate in the webinar, if not please continue to visit this blog for cutting edge ideas and information. Remember, I am always willing to assist with a conference, webinar, or in-service. I am honored to have you as a member of my professional learning community and look forward to future networking! Again, follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans), subscribe to this blog by email or RSSl, email me at mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us, and if possible join me at the webinar! Next posting: I have found a secure teacher facilitated blog spot for kids! … read about it  in the next post! Until then… have a wonderful end to your week! – Mike

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Sweetsearch: More Than A Free Search Engine For K12 Education!

Imagine a powerful search engine created for students containing sites that have that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts. I am sure you would consider that a sweet search engine, which is what this post is all about. Welcome to another posting guaranteed to facilitate educators committed to transforming education and instilling the twenty-first century skills. Thanks for stopping by and ,as always, please follow me on Twitter at (mjgorman), I will return the favor and we can learn from one another. Also, be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with great resources. Now enjoy this sweet information!- Mike

Sweetsearch is owned by Dulcinea Media, a company committed to supplying students with a search engine that returns results that are accurate, reliable, safe, and understandable. Instead of having students sift through millions of web sites, the research experts, educators, and librarians at Dulcinea have created a database of 35,000 sites that students have access to in their searches. As a result, SweetSearch excludes results from unreliable sites that rank high in other search engines.  This allows  students to choose the most relevant result from a list of credible returns, rather than having  educational time wasted on unreliable sites. Since Sweetsearch is powered by Google, it does allow the ability to toggle results between Google and Sweetsearch.

While Sweetsearch is valuable for trimming down results, perhaps its greatest strength is  hidden in its other valuable resources. It is the addition of these extra ingredients that makes Sweetsearch a rich tool for the 21st Century classroom. One such valuable resource is  Sweetsearch Biographies. This portion of the site allows users to filter profiles of more than 1,000 inspiring people by profession, gender, and race/national origin. They can be  viewed in a profile created by Dulcinea Media (for those individuals in their database) followed by a search results page for the person. Another must visit area in Sweetsearch is the outstanding collection of web-links referred to as Sweetsites.  This is a selection of great web resources for classroom use that are free, intuitively organized, and accessible. There is a section for teachers with resources for elementary, middle, and high school. There is also a similar section for students also arranged by elementary, middle, and high school.  Sweetsites will help satisfy the rich appetite necessary for supplying students with engaging resources intent on facilitating 21st Century learning.

The related site, Finding Dulcinea, is just as sweet! At this site, the first area to explore is Web Guides . This section provides a road map for exploring hundreds of topics online. It includes links to some of the best resources, ordered logically, and woven with narrative, insights, and research strategies. The Web Guide categories include a good selection of  academic subjects, as well as health, technology, careers, and other topics. Another section, titled On This Day, covers a broad array of intriguing historical events. Once again it  links to some outstanding online resources that give a full description of the event – what led up to it, what happened that day, and most importantly, what has happened since. These articles contain citations to the on-line resources where the information was found.  The Happy Birthday section of the site celebrates inspiring people, both historic and contemporary. These people are from all cultures and walks of life. The articles contain a biographical profile that links to accurate and reliable online information about the person. The last major section, Beyond the Headlines, provides a total view of topics in the news by cohesively weaving together information from multiple sources. It attempts to give students a  total picture by offering opposing viewpoints on controversial topics.  Be sure to read the  Finding Dulcinea Blog, explore the Finding Education Website, sign up for the newsletter, and watch a video that outlines all of the web site’s features. Finding Dulcinea is also available in Spanish, a great resource for foreign language and ESL classrooms.

I am sure you will find in both Sweetsearch and Finding Dulcinea sites that are rich in content, high in 21 Century calories, and diverse enough to please all appetites for learning. Please feel free to share your findings as you continue to explore the exciting 21st Century Education menu of items. As always, please follow me on Twitter at (mjgorman). I will return the favor and we can learn from one another. Also be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with great resources. Have a sweet week! – Mike

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Explore GPS and GIS In Engaging STEM Related PBL Activities : Free Resources And Site License

 


Give a kid a GPS and allow them to enthusiastically explore the world outdoors, introduce them to GIS and engage them with a world of relevant data, maps and information. We are all aware of of Google Maps, but are you aware of ESRI and Arcview? It is time to introduce your students to one of the fastest growing  job sectors in the world. This mid week post offers you an opportunity to discover free resources, inspire students using awesome activities,  and do a PBL project on your community while getting a free site license in return. As always fee free to visit me at my 21ceturyedtech Wiki and follow me on twitter @mjgormans. I will do the same and we can learn from each other. – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

Even before  there was Google Earth, there was a company called ESRI (Environment Systems Research Institute) based in Redlands, California. This company still exists and is not only a leader in GIS application but is also dedicated to K12 education. GIS (Geopgraphic Information Systems) can be integrated in science and social studies, as well as in mathematics and art/design. It also connects with GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to provide engaging adventures for students. GIS provides a foundation for interdisciplinary projects that allow for connections to the real world. Working with GIS also allows today’s students to develop 21st Century skills relating to computer literacy, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and presentation. Using GIS opens the doors to occupational fields that are growing and in demand for students upon completion of their schooling. Most resources from ESRI are either free, very low cost, or available through an ESRI grant for K12 educators and students.

You will find  abundant resources of materials at the ESRI Main K12 Page  in education This web page provides a format that educators can use to collaborate and share lessons with techniques that are successful. Check out this listing of over 300 lessons available for download using ESRI software. Be sure to download  a copy of Arc View for use in education

Most recently I came across four books (Our World GIS Education ) that were developed for K12 education. These books are available through ESRI at a retail price of about $50.00 each.These same books can be found at Amazon about $10.00 cheaper. The books do an excellent job of providing teachers with lessons and units that are based on twenty-first century skills and project based learning. They also include two CD in each book. One CD gives free access to necessary ESRI software for 365 days on up to 50 machines. After the 365 days schools can buy a site license for the entire school (about $500.00) or, better yet, engage students in an activity that provides the license for free. The other CD provides all lessons and support files for the book in a digital format. Our World GIS Education Books is the place to find these four books that were winners of the 2008 Geography Excellence in Media (GEM) Awards by The National Council for Geographic Education. Books are presented as levels going from level 1-4. This site provides a look at each book including a description along with links to Workbook Support, Teacher Resources, and Podcast with Authors. Also you must scan Taking a Look Inside which includes the  Table of Contents and the First Three Chapters, and, of course, a link to buy the book. Information links for each book follows along with descriptions from website.
Thinking Spatially Using GIS – provides geographic tools–maps, geographic data, and GIS–to teach young students a basic understanding of spatial concepts, pattern recognition, and map trends analysis.
Mapping Our World Using GIS – encourages students to acquire and continue building broad-based problem-solving skills using geospatial technology.
Analyzing Our World Using GIS - helps educators use GIS technology and geographic data to promote inquiry-based learning among students studying world geography and other disciplines. This book combines open-ended geospatial exploration opportunities with the structure of nationally standardized course content, classroom activities, teacher notes, student handouts, and assessments.
Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS – encourage the use of GIS in solving problems and making decisions. The lessons in this textbook build on the rich array of GIS tools available, enabling students to perform sophisticated analyses in a variety of content areas. This book encourages readers to make decisions and ultimately create their own analysis to investigate and answer based on real-world concerns.

How about a free site license from ESRI? Visit the ESRI Community Mapping Page and get your students involved. On this page you will learn more about Community Atlas and the grant program, have an opportunity to visit winning Model Projects from each year, download the Community Atlas instruction pages and model projects, explore all student projects, and submit or edit your project.

This was an enjoyable post for me to write. In fact I recieved some of my first training using GIS and GPS from Bob Kolvoord at James Madison University in the Project Vism (Visualization in Science and Math) through a grant with the NSF. Bob is one of the authors in Book Four, Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS. It was Project Vism, almost ten years ago, that engaged me in finding ways to use technology as a tool. Thanks for this visit and as always feel free to reply and comment. Check out my 21centuryedtech Wiki and feel free to follow me on twitter at @mjgormans, I will return the favor! – Mike (mgormans@sacs.k12.in.us)

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Free Project Based Learning Resources That Will Place Students At The Center Of Learning

I am an advocate for Project Based Learning in the classroom. True Project Based Learning is a process that puts the student at the center of their learning. In this post I wish to share with you some of the top sites I found on the internet that promote true PBL. Since my research I have bookmarked a few more and will be sharing those in a later post. Please share this post with others and as you find other outstanding sites on the internet that refer to PBL, please share with me. Your comments are always appreciated! You can follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans and as always please feeel free to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with resources- Mike

Edutopia PBL – Edutopia is a site containing outstanding educational content for teachers. It contains an area devoted to Project Based Learning. Edutopia defines PBL, “as a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.” The site contains a brief article, along with videos entitled “Projecty Based Learning Overview” and An Introduction To Project Based Learning. The Edutopia main PBL web page contains real life examples and this Big List containing article and blogs relating to PBL activities, lessons, practices, and research. Upon review you will note that Edutopia does live up to its statement “What works in public Education”.

PBL-Online Is a one stop solution for Project Based Learning! You’ll find all the resources you ne​ed to design and manage high quality projects for middle and high school students. This site includes information on how to Design your Project. It assists teachers in planning rigorous and relevant standards-focused projects that engage students in authentic learning activities, teach 21st century skills, and demand demonstration of mastery. It also provides a search for projects developed by others (small collection) or the ability to contribute projects to the PBL-Online Collaboratory and Project Library. Teachers can Learn what defines Project Based Learning and the PBL-Online approach to successful project design. There is also an area to Review research and find tools to support effective Project Based Learning. There is also an area to purchase the BIE //Project Based Learning Handbook// and Starter Kit which are a foundation for the PBL-Online website. A nice collection of videos is also available on the site. The PBL-Online is maintained by the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) which is a non-profit, research and development organization dedicated to improving the practice of teaching and the process of learning.

BIE Institite For PBL – The main Buck Institute of On-line Resource Site is a must visit for anyone serious about PBL. There is some good information on the professional development . Explore the BIE Project Based learning Handbook, order a copy, or just explore the links on the page. Be sure to check out the downloadable documents and forms found in the book. There is also a web resources link page that will supply abundant information. There is an excellent forum page that and another area with Advice From Teachers. This is truely a great site to become more informed on Project Based Learning and works well with other other BIE site.

PBL: Exemplary Projects – A wonderful site for those wanting practical ideas to infuse PBL into the curriculum. This is the creation of a group of experienced teachers, educators, and researchers whom you may contact as resources. This team includes people who are also actively doing and creating new exemplary PBL projects, pre-service and continuing teacher professional development, and integration of technology into the curriculum. This site has a great listing of national technology and content standards to review. There is also a large selection of rubrics to look over as you investigate assessment. For those interested in research be sure to check out the page reserved for reflective thought and planning. While on the site be sure to take a look at the exemplary projects along with the other great projects listed.

4Teachers.org PBL - This site has a contains some useful information on supplying sound reasoning for PBL in school. Especially interesting are articles on Building Motivation and Using Multiple Intellegences. One very useful resource in this site is the PBL Project Check List Section. Writers of this site maintain that these check lists will help teachers start using PBL, by creating on-line downloadable age-appropriate, customizable project checklists for written reports, multimedia projects, oral presentations, and science projects. The use of checklists assists in keeping students on track and allows them to take responsibility for their own learning through peer- and self-evaluation. Be sure to check the main 4Teachers Web Site for all of their great sets of tools including other resources that can support PBL. This site is published by Altec which also has a host of resources.

Houghton Mifflin Project Based Learning Space – This site from publisher Houghton Mifflin Contains contains some good resources for investigating PBL and was developed by the Wisconson Center For Education Research. Included is a page on Background Knowledge an Theory. There is also a link to a small number of comprehensive projects. Last for those attempting research there is a large numbers of professional articles related to project based learning.

Intel® Teach Elements: Project-Based Approaches – If you are looking for free, just-in-time professional development that you can experience now, anytime, or anywhere, this may be your answer. Intel promises that this new series will provide high interest, visually compelling short courses that facilitate deep exploration of 21st century learning concepts using and PBL. The program consists of animated tutorials and audio dialogs to explain concepts, Interactive knowledge checking exercises , offline activities to apply concepts. You can take the PBL course online, or order the Intel PBL CD, Take a moment and read more about project design. Intel provides an awesome data base of stories that relate to project ideas. Anyone interested in project based learning must explore the Intel site, one of the most up-to-date resources for PBL on the internet.

New Tech Network – I have personally visited the New Tech Schools in both Napa and Sacramento California. I was impresssed with more then the technology. A positive and effective culture for learning is what New Tech does best and it is based around PBL. Take a look at the news releases on the New Tech site. Some that caaught my interest were Wall-to-Wall Project-Based Learning: A Conversation with Biology TeacherKelley Yonce » from Learn NC, The Power of Project Learning » from Scholastic, and Students as Smart Mobs along with It’s All about me both from Phi Delta Kappa. Last check out the New Tech video entitled NTN School Overview and I Am What I Learn for a good informative look at PBL and New Tech.
High Tech High School – These high schools also operate using a project based learning model centered around 21st century skills. I have included projects they came up with from a $250,000 California grant to institue PBL in non-charter public schools. You will find a description of the project along with the seven major projects and various others. The included PBL assessment page is also very interesting along with how PBl supports literacy in the High Tech Model.

GlobalSchoolhouse.net – Great site to begin PBL using the web while cooperating with other schools.   Harness the ability to use the web as a tool for interaction, collaboration, distance education, cultural understanding and cooperative research — with peers around the globe.  Start out with an explanation of what Net PBL really is. Find out how to make partners. Be sure to check out all the videos and tutorials.

Thanks for taking the time to investigate and I hope impliment a PBL unit in the classroom. I am interested and also wish to learn from you. If you are aware of an outstanding PBL site please comment or send me a message. Please follow me on twitter at mjgormans and I will be sure to follow back. I am always ready to network and learn! As always, you are invited to explore the resources on my 21centuryedtech Wiki.  – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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