Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Google Cultural Institute

A week ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Greller, posted information about the Google Cultural Institute on her blog, "The Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet". I started looking at the material, and before I knew it, was lost deep in the site in a totally new places enjoying entirely unexpected material.
Don't you love sites like that?

To fully enjoy the site would take some time, so bookmark this one as a great resource to revisit again and again. It currently has 42 online exhibits. Some of my favorites were:

The World Wonders Project
Using street view and 3D technology, Google brings historic sites right into the classroom. You can browse the available sites by geographic location or by theme. My son is waiting for the "lottery" to see where his overseas architecture assignment might place him, so I found the architecture theme helpful!

Google Art Project
Museums from around the world are showcased in this site with 156 collections available for viewing and 51 available in "museum view"---like you are really there! This project is interactive, allowing the visitor to create an account and develop a gallery of art to share with others.

The Auschwitz Album
This period piece is just one of many historical "snapshots" that can be viewed on the Google Cultural Institute by simply moving the timeline. Several years ago, I was able to tour the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. with my family, so the Auschwitz Album had special meaning to me. This album draws the viewer into the tragedy by providing a scroll through the event in chronological order. There are large arrows on the sides of the page, but if you use the large scroll box at the bottom, each picture and each paragraph can be placed in the center of the screen to convey the powerful story.

Whatever your subject, whatever your personal interests, the Google Cultural Institute will have something of interest for you and your students. Just take the time and explore!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to School Stress?

The adrenalin that has kept teachers running since school started in August is beginning to wear thin, and it is now time to refocus, regroup and re-energize! One way to do this is just to relax....seriously, just relax and breathe! There is even a app to help with that of course: Relax Melodies.

Relax Melodies is a white noise app with sounds that can be mixed and saved for meditation, sleep, and study. These sound mixes can be set to multiple alarms There is a free version with 46 sounds and a $2.99 paid version with 94 sounds . I always start with the freebies, but with this app, I bumped up to the paid version because it allows you to play the sounds while using other apps--even while playing your music.
My favorite mixes include classical music with urban rain and thunder.

This app would be great for use in the classroom to create the perfect tone for studying/work and is a cheap way to bring the outdoor sounds to that windowless classroom.

This app was recommended by my son, Joshua. As an architecture student in college, he spends long hours on projects in common areas but really requires solitude  With a good set of headphones, this app allows him to disconnect from the noisy environment and focus on his work.