Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Making Tracks Challenge

Making Tracks Challenge provides downloadable nature guides and species lists for hiking trails throughout the United States. It offers resources for students to make their own educational nature trails on school grounds or in nearby communities and the site will automatically generate an illustrated field guide for their site. It has more than 2,000 species in the database already but users are encouraged to suggest additions. There are also inquiry-based trail activities and short nature films.

Monday, April 19, 2010

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare is a collection of over 1,800 college-level class materials offered at no-cost to the public. Upgrade your knowledge and skills by studying the lecture notes, completing assignments, reading study guides, and watching lecture recordings. All classes are available through the official Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare website.

The courses are designed for learning independently; learners do not have access to professors and cannot earn credit. The collection is organized by category and by class format. If you search in Audio/Video, you will find recordings of entire lecture series. Pre-college students may be interested in the "Highlights for High School" section, with AP and college prep resources.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Kidblog is designed for elementary and middle school and it's free and simple to set up. Teachers will notice the ease of creating and maintaining blogs if they have tried other blogging platforms like Blogger or Wordpress, which are not always easy for younger students. Kidblog
allows students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs.

For some extra fun, students who like to add images to their blog might want to try Speechable. This free online tool let’s them upload images and add speech bubbles to them.

Photo: Screenshot of a fifth grader's blog, courtesy of teacher Lee Kolbert, Florida.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

High-Tech Nature/Science

Science and Nature magazines will co-launch an open-access, online-only journal in April 2010. The name of the Journal is being decided by text-message vote by the public. Preprints will be posted on a special social networking Web site where scientists registered in the newly created Faculty of a Million can vote for acceptance by pressing a "Like" thumbs-up button or reject the paper by pressing a “Dislike” button. Another innovation will be a ground-breaking iPad application that will allow scientists to view charts, images, and figures in 3-D. And readers will have the option of Skyping authors directly simply by clicking that author's name. (Magazine cover in the photo is a draft.)