Tutorial – Using Overlays with Google Maps

We recently received an email request from Fran Stromsland of Watchung Hills Regional HS in NJ requesting information about a particular Google Maps overlay. This overlay demonstrates the effect of sea level rise anywhere in the world.

The tutorial below explains how to get a Google Maps account, find the Google Map overlays and add one of these overlays to your own map.

To view this video, I highly recommend that you click on the full screen icon at the bottom right hand corner of the video window. You will see it when the video plays and you hover your mouse over the video window. This video is also available on YouTube.

Maybe I’m the Slow Kid

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On the CAST web site they introduce Differentiated Instruction by stating:

Not all students are alike. Based on this knowledge, differentiated instruction applies an approach to teaching and learning so that students have multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas.

Teachers some times think they are being asked to “water” down the curriculum and that differentiated instruction is for the special education or slower students in the class. It is really for everyone. The recent cold weather brought me to a great example of differentiated instruction on a personal level. When I want to know the weather forecast for my city I always use the National Weather Service (NOAA) web site (www.weather.gov).

During may last visit to the site, I thought this is a great way to look at differentiated instruction. People like different representations of the weather. You may like one or more of the following four or more ways the weather is represented on the weather.gov site.

Method One:

Images and brief text:

weather-1

This is a pretty typical way the weather is represented in the newspaper and on popular weather websites. It gives you a nice glance at the five day forecast.

Method Two:

More days, but all text.

weather-2

Notice that you get a little more detail. It takes a little longer to read the forecast than to look at the images.

Method Three:

The big picture using radar and Satellite Images.

weather-3

A bigger picture and more complicated. You have regional radar and wide satellite images and if you know weather patterns or watch the radar loop, you can see the movement of storms.

Method Four:

This is the forecast I use. It makes the most sense to me. You can find it under “Additional Forecast and Information” the third listing on the left, Hourly Weather Graph.

weather-4

You will get these two graphs and five more. The two graphs shown here show an hour by hour view of the temperature, wind chill, dew point, wind speed, wind direction, and wind gust. The other five graphs show more data. I like it because I can view the change in the forecast over time.

How does this relate to differentiated instruction? If you read through this long-winded (pun intended) post, you most likely thought of the method you like best. You picked the one that gave you the information you needed to know and a way you can grasp what the weather forecast is for the next few days.

I happen to like Method Four. Then again, maybe I am just the slow kid in the class. Wouldn’t it be great if we took the power of technology to help represent information in different ways for different students? Instruction using audio, video, text, animations, pictures, or a combination of all of them. We don’t need to create all the content. Some is created and if we learn to share we can all create part of it.

Jim

PS Special thanks to Brian Montgomery from the National Weather Service for teaching me more about weather than any science teacher I ever had in school.

Just How Are We Matching Funds on Kiva?

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Over the holiday break, we introduced a team that November Learning created on Kiva and invited all of you to take part in an effort to assist the working poor of the world and also expand the boundaries of learning in your classrooms. In our letter, we mentioned that November Learning would be matching the first $1000 in loans sent out through our team.

We are not there yet, but we are beginning  the process of matching those loans. We are tallying up the amounts that each individual has loaned so far, and we are sending each a Kiva gift certificate matching that amount that can be used to make future loans. It is our hope that each lender will lend again either in their own name or through an account created for a school. We believe that experiences like this are important for all students.

We still have a little ways to go before reaching our opening goal. If you would like to help us in this effort and receive a matching gift, please join us on Kiva.

In addition, if you would like to learn more about Kiva and witness the life cycle of a Kiva loan, watch this video created by Kieran Ball, Kiva Fellow for AMK Cambodia.


A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Kiva.org Loan from Kieran Ball on Vimeo.

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