Tech Rav
Discussions of Jewish EdTech

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tech Tips for Teachers: Animated and Interactive Maps

One of the best ways to use maps in an educational setting is to find dynamic maps that are interactive with Flash, Shockwave, or PowerPoint animations. Here are some animated maps that I have found:
Tremendous collection of military maps from ancient times to modern wars like the American Revolution, the World Wars, and the Arab- Israeli conflicts. The American Conflicts like the Revolution and the Civil War also have animated PowerPoint presentations which go through all of the stages of a battle with sound. Here is one example which is an overview of the Civil War:
Rand McNally Animated Atlas.
World archeology maps and timeline.
Free software download of world history atlas using animations.

Interactive Mesopotamia Economic Map

Interactive Mesopotamia Political Map
Map of political change in Mesopotamia.
Interactive Maps from the Dawn of Man to Modern Times.
Interactive Maps covering ancient and Medieval History.
Interactive maps from Mcgraw Hill Learning Center covering Alexander The Great Empire, 323 BCE, The Black Death, 1346-1353, The Spread of Christianity and Islam, Exploration and Empires, 1400-1600, Expulsion of the Jewish Population from Western Europe, The League of Nations, Expansion of the Roman Empire, African Slave Trade, c. 1780, World Religions, and World War II in Europe, 1940-1945.
This site has a free map, the Growth of a Nationand other animated maps about US history avaiable for purchase.
Interactive Maps covering US history.
Interactive Maps covering American, European, and Latin American History.
WWI: The Western Front
WWII: The Fall of Dunkirk.
Auschwitz. Maps of the Holocaust.
North African Campaign.

Battle of El Alamein.
Italian Campaign.
Burma Campaign.
D-Day Animated Map

Operation Overlord Animated Map
Battle of Arnheim.
The Korean War.
Iraq War fatalities.
Fascinating maps although coupled with propaganda with a definite political agenda.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tech Tips for Teachers: Using Wikis in the Classroom

The Sunday July 1, 2007 New York Times Magazine has a fascinating article on the creative process of Wikipedia, the most popular online open source "encyclopedia".
All the News That’s Fit to Print Out

When news broke on May 8 about the arrest of a half-dozen young Muslim men for supposedly planning to attack Fort Dix, alongside the usual range of reactions—disbelief, paranoia, outrage, indifference, prurience—a newer one was added: the desire to consecrate the event’s significance by creating a Wikipedia page about it. The first one to the punch was a longtime Wikipedia contributor known as CltFn, who at about 7 that morning created what’s called a stub — little more than a placeholder, often just one sentence in length, which other contributors may then build upon — under the heading “Fort Dix Terror Plot.” A while later, another Wikipedia user named Gracenotes took an interest as well. Over the next several hours, in constant cyberconversation with an ever-growing pack of other self-appointed editors, Gracenotes — whose real name is Matthew Gruen — expanded and corrected this stub 59 times, ultimately shaping it into a respectable, balanced and even footnoted 50-line account of that day’s major development in the war on terror. By the time he was done, “2007 Fort Dix Attack Plot” was featured on Wikipedia’s front page. Finally, around midnight, Gruen left a note on the site saying, “Off to bed,” and the next morning he went back to his junior year of high school.

According to this article, Wikipedia while not a reliable source of original research and reporting is praised for its transparency and ability to get things right after countless revisions.This is because of the nature of the wiki (Hawaiian for quick) in which everyone can edit anyone else while keeping a constant log of past changes. It also due to the dedicated group of hard-core Wikipedians who despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that they are mostly under 25 or even still in high school do a good job policing the site for mistakes and vandalism. Click here to read the entry on Wikipedia in the English language version of Wikipedia.

How can Wikis be used in our classrooms? I am sure that as a source for research most of us would agree that Wikipedia should not be encouraged. However, it can be used as a great learning experience in the writing process. For example, students can be assigned to check articles in Wikipedia for errors of syntax, grammar, or factual mistakes and make their own corrections. Students can even be encouraged to try their hand at writing their own entries for Wikipedia.

Another much more practical idea is to create a classroom wiki of your own. The same technology that allows millions of people throughout the world to edit Wikipedia has been adapted for individuals to create wikis to be edited only both those invited to the group. One site that lets you do this is: Here is a high school lesson plan on Internet safety created using a wiki.

You can create your own class wiki as a forum for teachers and students to discuss ideas or share documents. They can be assigned questions that they must answer by editting the pages of the wiki. The teacher can set up the Wiki with moderating control so that all additions are first looked over by the teacher before being added to the page.

For example, a teacher can create a wiki on how to learn Gemara or a chapter of Navi. Here is an example of a Gemara wiki created by Rabbi Adi Krohn of the Fuchs Mizrahi School in Cleveland.

One can create a wiki as a discussion focused around a book read in class or a chapter in American History. Here is a high school English wiki. Here is a wiki on British Romanticism. This wiki was jointly created by a number of different schools for High School Online Collaborative Writing. This wiki called Center of Mass is devoted to high school physics. These are just a few of the many possibilities.

A wiki devoted to educational wikis is: Here is a wiki on educational technology created by the State of NJ for nonpublic schools:

What is the advantage of the wiki? In one word, collaboration. Everyone sees everyone else's work and can edit it. Meanwhile the teacher has a running log of all activity on the wiki so she can track everyone's work. How are wikis different from blogs? In blogs everyone can see everyone else's work and comment on it. However, each individual creates and edits their own work. It is an intimately personal mode of communication. The wiki is the exact opposite. Rather than communication by the individual, it is communication by the collective. In wikis everyone can edit everyone else's work. This allows for greater collaboration.

As Stephen Covey would describe it in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wikis allow the group to synergize where, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts". In our modern society, teaching our students to synergize while working together on a large scale project like a class wiki can be a great preparation for future success in university level research and in the workplace. To learn more about wikis in education follow this useful step by step tutorial for using wikis in education containing practical applications for Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tech Tips for Teachers: Web-based science animations for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

With a Smart Board, laptop, and projector in your class, bringing your students the wealth of knowledge available on the Internet is just a click away. Below are some websites with stunning visuals and exciting animations that you can use for anything from a quick visual to spice up a class to a detailed activity that becomes the basis for a lesson.
This site has dozens of high quality animated tutorials on the following subjects: Introductory Biology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, General Biotechnology, Biopsychology/Neuroscience, Ecology , Astronomy, Statistics, Chemistry, Dynamic Illustrations. By clicking on any of these subjects you will be brought to many different animations on different subjects. To watch these animations you will need either java or flash player (both free) downloaded onto your computer.

Biology Super animations of human biological structures. If you download a special plug-in you can manipulate the 3-D images in virtual reality. This site contains many great animations and visuals in biology including human anatomy, genetics and cell processes, and microscopy. Human anatomy online based on the various systems of the human body. This site contains interactive illustrations with descriptions and animations of various processes. CELLS alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research. This site is especially strong at animations of cellular processes like mitosis and meiosis. AP Biology Syllabus created by a high school biology teacher with links to online activities for each unit. The Biology Project of the University of Arizona contains richly illustrated tutorials of various subjects including Biochemistry Cell Biology Chemicals & Human Health Developmental Biology Human Biology Immunology, Mendelian Genetics and Molecular Biology. Links to dozens and dozens of animations from various websites in every area of biology. This free virtual lab called Drosophila allows students to mate fruitflies to study patterns of genetic inheritance. While virtual labs can never replace a real lab, this lab is on a topic (mating fruit flies) that is not feasible for the typical high school lab. The lab is visually appealing and allows students to record data in a lab book, and analyze results. It also has assessment tools for the teacher. The site requires setup as the teacher first needs to register (for free) on the site and then set up a class. The students then use a class code to generate their unique logins. Teachers can track the progress of each students. Students can do this lab in school or at home.

Chemistry Construction Kits let you assemble problem solutions, chemical formulas, chemical equations, and other chemical objects piece by piece or step by step.
Flash animations from Essential chemistry.
Chemistry animations made for Shockwave Player (a free download) in areas of acid-base, electro-chemistry, atomic orbitals, molecular structure, solid state, attractive forces, solutions, and more.
Chemistry Experiment Simulations, Tutorials and Conceptual Computer Animations
All of the animations listed below are used in association with the General, Organic and Biochemistry Course. They require installation of Apple's QuickTime player.
Chemistry animations and movies on the World Wide Web.

The Multimedia Physics Studios consists of a collection of GIF animations and accompanying explanations of major physics concepts. The animations cover common physics principles discussed in a first-year high school physics course. GIF animations can be copied and pasted into the Smart Notebook or PowerPoint to make graphics that move.
More physics GIF animations that you can copy and paste into your presentations.
Physics GIF animations in the areas of waves, optics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and electricity.
Fully ineractive web-based activities in high school physics that use Shockwave which is a free download.
Dozens of Flash animations for illustrating Physics content.
Animated movies that illustrate many areas of physics in astronomy, mechanics, vectors, electricity and magnetism, waves, optics, modern physics, thermodynamics and more.
Multimedia Physics Classroom: These multimedia animations help you visualize and understand major physics concepts. The animations cover common physics principles discussed in a first year physics course.
A selection of interactive websites and games that show a different side of physics.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tech Tips for Teachers: View:timeline in Google

I just found a really neat Google trick from a blog called Open Resource Centre. If you want to see a timeline, add the phrase "view:timeline" after your search terms into Google.

e.g. Type in ' Chanukah view:timeline ' in the search box. This is what you get:

Timeline View
Did you mean: Hanukkah
400 B.C. - 2000
Only show results circa:
E.g. "January 1975" or "1700-1750"
400 B.C.200 B.C.0 A.D.200 A.D.400 A.D.600 A.D.800 A.D.100012001400160018002000
1000 B.C.
168 B.C.
168 BCE: Under the reign of Antiochus IV, the Temple is looted, Jews are massacred, and Judaism is outlawed. 167 BCE: Antiochus orders an altar to Zeus erected ...
Hanukkah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
167 B.C.
In 167 BCE Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. Many modern scholars argue that the king may have been intervening in an internal civil war ...
Hanukkah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
166 B.C.
By 166 BCE Mattathias had died, and Judah took his place as leader. By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful.
Hanukkah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
165 B.C.
By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. The festival of Hanukkah was instituted by ...
Hanukkah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
164 B.C.
The Book of Maccabees tells of the emotion-filled moment when the Jews returned to Jerusalem as victors, in the year 164 B.C.E., some three years after the ...
The Maccabees re-establish independance in the lan ... -
142 B.C.
The war actually continued on and off until 142 BCE (Judah died in battle in160 BCE,) when the Jews finally achieved independence under the leadership of ...
chanukah -
0 A.D.
70 A.D.
... ascribed it to the Maccabees themselves, disputed by some, since it gives dates as so many years before the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE.
Hanukkah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
January 5, 2003
Released: 01/05/2003. More Info AboutSongs For Chumash Bereishis - 613 Torah Avenue · Chumash Bereishis · Reb Alter · Chumash Bereishis
The Best Chanukah Party by Paul Zim :: MostlyMusic ... -
December 26, 2005
Hanukkah begins at sundown on: December 26, 2005. Jewish Holidays · Chanukah · Hebrew words [read more...] Names -Jewish Months
What is Chanukah Jewish Holidays 800-830-8660 - Me ... -
December 4, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007. Kislev 24. first Night of Chanukah Tonight is the first Night of Chanukah After sunset, recite blessings 1, 2 and 3 and kindle one ...
The Eight Days of Chanukah - How-To - Chanukah - H ... -

Here is the result for ' State of Israel view:timeline ' in the search box. This is what you get:

Timeline View
1946 - 1966
Only show results circa:
E.g. "January 1975" or "1700-1750"
November 29, 1947
[48] The newly-created United Nations approved the UN Partition Plan (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181) on November 29, 1947, dividing the country ...
Israel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
... basis for the establishment of the British Mandate government, the last government in charge of Palestine prior to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Welcome to! -
May 1948
... at this Session of the Provisional State Council, in the city of Tel Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the fifth of Iyar, 5708, the fourteenth day of May, 1948.
The Declaration of the State of Israel -
May 14, 1948
Prime Minister · Ehud Olmert · Independence, from UK-administered League of Nations mandate. -, Declaration · 14 May 1948 (05 Iyar 5708)
Israel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
May 15, 1948
On May 15, 1948, the Arab states issued their response statement and Arab armies invaded Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war began.
The Recognition of Israel:Background -
October 1, 1948
... the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, ...
The Declaration Of The Establishment Of The State ... -
... the Straits of Tiran was ensured; and Jerusalem, which had been divided under Israeli and Jordanian rule since 1949, was reunified under Israel's authority.
HISTORY- The State of Israel -
January 31, 1949
... President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31, 1949).
U.S. Recognition of the State of Israel -
May 8, 1951
President Truman meeting on May 8, 1951 with Prime Minister David Ben Gurion of Israel. President Truman meeting on May 8, 1951 with Prime Minister David Ben ...
The Recognition of Israel:Background -
In 1967, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria massed troops close to Israeli borders, expelled UN peacekeepers and blocked Israel's access to the Red Sea.
Israel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -