Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Power of Photos

Photographs have the power to stir emotions, pique curiosity, make a statement, or tell a story. Many online photo resources are available for use in our classrooms and provide us with ways to develop visual literacy and create meaning for our students.  Last week I discovered a new photo resource that we can use for all these purposes.

Google's LIFE Photo Archive presents images from the decades when LIFE magazine was publishing amazing photos in each issue.  In fact, the entire collection, with a total of more than 10 million images, is now online, and 97% of the photos never have been seen before by the public.  
The collection includes pictures from photojournalists such as Margaret Bourke-White and Gordon Parks.   In addition, the LIFE Photo Archive includes the Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Hugo Jaeger's pictures of Nazi-era Germany.

A great feature of this Google image archive is that you can access its photographs directly from Google Images by typing the search term followed by the words source:life.  This indicates that you want to search only for images within the LIFE Photo Archive.  For example, you could enter this search phrase in Google Images:  joe lewis source:life.  Be sure to include the colon between the words source and life.  This will search only the LIFE Photo Archive, directly from the main Google Images page.

These LIFE photographs capture forever the pivotal events and characters in our history, all through the lenses of incredibly talented photographers.  Bring these images into your classroom to make learning "out of the ordinary."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Converting a PDF to Word

A Little PDF PD

On Mary Frazier's blog, A Chat with Mary, she explains how easy it is to create a PDF version of any document we create.  I have always wanted to reverse this process and convert a PDF back to Microsoft Word, but I didn't want to spend money on software designed to do this. The great news is that now we can convert PDF files to Word at the PDFtoWORD web page.  Wow!  It works! And it's free!

To use this tool, go to the PDFtoWORD web page, click on Choose File to upload your PDF, then click on Convert to Word and wait for the magic to happen. The new Word document will be emailed to you shortly!

I converted several PDFs to Word using PDFtoWORD, and, amazingly, the new Word documents maintained the formatting, charts, and photos. It takes a few minutes to convert the PDF to Word when the document includes photos or special formatting, but the results are worth the wait!  

That's the latest PD on PDFs!  Please share PDFtoWORD with someone else who could use this awesome tool.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Headlines Around the World: An Online Newseum

When important events such as a Presidential election occur, we can observe and read about their impact around the world through awesome Internet resources such as the Newseum front page gallery.  On this web page you can view the front pages of newspapers around the world on a given day.  In order to enlarge the front page of a newspaper for ease in reading, just click to load the pdf version.  

Here you see the front page of a European newspaper that foreign language students could read in Spanish.  Of course, social studies students could study global perspectives on a given event as well. When current events relate to any of our content areas or specific units, newspaper front pages from around the world can help our students develop a global perspective for the 21st century.  

Although the Today's Front Pages online exhibit doesn't keep all front pages from past dates, events of historical significance are kept in a front-page archive.  Other historical resources also are available on the main Newseum web page, which is an online version of the actual museum in Washington, D.C.  The Newseum site presents online exhibits and interactive materials related to historical news events and the relationship of journalism and the press to these events.  One of the current online exhibits involves Gmen and Journalists, with special information about the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover.  

Check out Today's Front Pages and the other online exhibits of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., then take your students on an online field trip soon!

Bonus Tip:  Watch this cool video about all the election headlines that poured into the Newseum right after the election.  

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Power of the Projector

Sometimes simple things can be the most powerful, and this is definitely the case with the new Dell projectors that many Buhler secondary teachers received recently. Of course, these projectors cannot engage students and enhance learning until we turn on the power and use them! Here are some simple ways to project learning this week in your classroom:
  1. We Project Videos - Search for videos related to your lesson or unit at Discovery Streaming, YouTube, SchoolTube, or TeacherTube. If you need help logging on or downloading videos, let me know!
  2. We Project Presentations - Our new versions of PowerPoint and Keynote are awesome tools for developing presentations that are engaging for students. You can easily place videos on slides, add music, and even record your narration. I would LOVE to show you how all this works!
  3. We Project Web Resources - All those wonderful Internet pages that you've bookmarked or kept in an email folder can be used on the big screen in your classroom to project learning. Many educational web sites are interactive and engaging. Just ask me for ideas!
  4. We Project Student Products - Project models of best student work, use the projected image of a student essay for discussion or evaluation, or show the multimedia projects which students have created. If students can create it, you can project it!
  5. We Project Polls and Quizzes - Using web tools such as Poll Everywhere, your students can participate in polls and quizzes using their cell phones, and the results can be projected for everyone to see. It's amazingly simple. Could I show you sometime soon?
  6. We Project Our Community and the World - Help your students see beyond the classroom and learn about the community, both local and global. Google Earth and Skype are available on your computer, and ePals is now set up for you on Kan-Ed. Ask me for help with Google Earth and Skype, and see your media specialist for your students' ePals account information. You can project the world to your students!
Take an ordinary projector and make something "out of the ordinary" this week. Just plug it in, turn it on, and project learning with your students! Please share your ideas by commenting here.