Every so often, I come across some very cool things I think could be useful in my classroom. I’ve decided that, instead of just sharing them on Twitter where they kinda get lost, I would share them here. Enjoy installment number one of “5 cool things for the classroom I found this week.”
“The Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE) is an electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The EoE is a free, expert-reviewed collection of content contributed by scholars, professionals, educators, practitioners and other experts who collaborate and review each other’s work. The content is presented in a style intended to be useful to students, educators, scholars, professionals, as well as to the general public.”
All of the text on the site is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.
There is a ton of extremely cool information on this site.
This application is part of a thesis project by Arjun Gupta. It presents a new approach towards algorithmic music composition where the music is composed from pixel values of digital images.
Designed for abstract images, the application makes use of image data such as: pixel color, saturation, brightness and qualities like: overall image brightness, color variation and prominent colors.
Each of the above properties contribute towards composition of the music. The song attributes controlled by them include: melody generation, durations, chord generation, chord progression, tempo, scale and transposition.
It’s a really great, different way to “look” at images.
I’m a huge fan of virtual field trips. I think one of the most important things we can do for students is to expose them to the world around them. Tools like Skype and Google Plus Hangouts are great for this. There are also many other ways to take kids on trips around the world without ever leaving the comforts of your classroom.
“Promenades Sonores is a series of audio walks in and around Marseille created by Julie, Radio Grenouille and 30 different authors, including artists, local shopkeepers, and documentary makers. The aim of these walks is to open up the city so residents and visitors can explore pathways full of new hotspots, sounds and knowledge. “Night Walk” has been adapted from Promenade Sonore #16, “Le Souffleur” by Christophe Perruchi.”
Night Walk in Marseille is one of many Google tools that can be used to help kids explore their world. This tool is cool becasue as you walk through the streets of Marseille, France, you not only see the sights but you hear them as well.
Love Legos? Yeah, me too. I still love to sit down with my 10 yr old son and his giant buckets of these little, plastic bricks. We’ll spend hours building cities then use his matchbox cars to bring those cities to life.
Oftentimes though, we don’t have our Legos with us but we ALWAYS have a notebook computer with us. Build with Chrome allows us to build our cities just as if we were sitting on his bedroom floor. Although it’s been around for a while, I always discover that not many know about this incredibly fun site.
“A partnership between Google Chrome and LEGO® Welcome to Build – the largest LEGO® set the world has ever seen. Developed with the latest web technology in Chrome, Build is a place for everyone to imagine, create and explore building with LEGO bricks online.”
The coolest thing about this? Your students’ creations can be published online for the world to see. You can’t easily do that with a bunch of plastic bricks.
I’ve never been very good at chess. I don’t own a chess set so I don’t get to practice very often. My son, the same I mentioned above, has taken an interest in chess, so I was thrilled when I came across this gem.
Lichess is 100% free. It’s open-source. It’s amazing. Of course, it’s cool as heck.
Lichess features many different styles of chess including the standard chess game that most of us are used to. Did I mention it’s 100% free? There’s no advertising, no catches. There’s a great quote from the creator of Lichess on the site blog:
“My objective when building lichess is to demonstrate that the Internet can be free. No hidden costs, playing with words – free, through and through. To be free, software must be open source. Lichess is released under the MIT license, which means everybody can read the entire source code and make sure nothing evil is being done behind the hood. This is our vision. This is our promise. It has always been this way, and will always be, as stated by the wiki main page.”
There are even apps for both iOS and Android devices. We couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s an amazing way to introduce our kids to an amazing game that’s been played by millions and millions for over 1500 years.