On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, teachers from across Southwestern Pennsylvania gathered at the Pittsburgh-based Google offices to learn more about new educational tools offered by Google. Given the popularity of the program and platforms discussed, we’ve provided information on each tool below with some of the in-the-classroom uses discussed during the workshop.
Google is a name heard and understood throughout the world. The well-known internet provider, created in 1998, has grown into a multibillion dollar empire with 70 offices in more than 40 countries around the world.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. They provide this information through a variety of products and services traditionally free of charge. In addition to the well-known search engine, email service, and web browser intended for the everyday user, Google also maintains a variety of platforms designed and updated with educators in mind.
Google Earth allows users to explore the world around them from the comforts of home. Starting from as far away as outer space, users can zoom in close enough to view international cities, notable mountain ranges, and even underwater ocean views. Google Maps provides a street view option to allow users the opportunity to walk the streets of Rome or Rio just as they would if they were really there.
Google Earth has put together collages of popular points on the map and photos of related artifacts and wonders to allow for more detailed learning on a particular region of the world. These can be found in the Google Earth Gallery, here. Users can also create their own journeys by pinning their favorite spots on the map.
In the classroom: Teachers can use this tool to teach their students about the world. Google earth is a great way to visualize the topography of a region, or put the distance and location of a place into perspective for the students. Additionally, the street view takes the students on a virtual tour of famous landmarks and day-to-day streets.
The Constitute platform is home to digitized versions of many of the World’s constitutions to allow for easy reference and comparison. Users can search by country or key word. For example, by searching “gender”, Constitute will filter every constitution that addresses the issue of gender. The relevant excerpts will be listed to allow for easy reference when searching through the different documents. In addition to the online viewing option, PDF versions are also available to download and print.
In the classroom: Teachers can use this resource to send students on a “scavenger hunt” by having them search the constitutions for specific topics and/or issues. Additionally, teachers can “pin” favorite excerpts (selecting the icon that looks like a pin) for easy access to compare and contrast.
Cultural Institute is a multi-service platform that allows users to explore notable works of art, historical events, and modern day wonders of the world, as well as expand their knowledge and understanding through the added content provided.
Art Project is home to online images of thousands of works of art housed in museums and archives from around the world. Users can search by collection, artist, and/or a specific type of art. There are more than 40,000 high resolution images that allow users to zoom in close enough to view the actual bush stroke. Users can explore the collections of photos previously compiled by Google, or create your own personal collection by pinning and saving your favorite works of art.
Historical Moments is an online exhibition detailing the stories behind significant moments in human history, using documents, photos, videos and in some cases personal accounts of events. Earthquake: The Chinatown Story and the Struggle for Freedom in Mozambique are just two of the many examples available.
World Wonders brings to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world. Google’s Street View technology allows users to view geographical and architectural wonders from the comforts of their computer screens. Users are exposed to a series of images and historical context for a particular location or landmark. Take a tour through the Versaille Palace in France to see how it works.
In the classroom: Within Art Project, teachers can take their students on a virtual tour of a particular museum just as though you were there in person. Additionally, teachers and students using Art Project, Historical Moments, and/or World Wonders can bookmark and share favorites with friends, colleagues, classmates. There is also the ability to compare works of images side by side.
Created by the Google+ team, Connected Classrooms uses Google+ hangouts to take students on a virtual field trip and connect them with their peers around the world. Teachers can register by signing up online, and will receive email notifications of upcoming events. Past hangouts included a tour of the White House, conversation with a NASA Astronaut in space, and a reciting of the Gettysburg Address with documentarian Ken Burns. Up to ten schools can participate on a virtual hangout at one time. All hangouts are archived and available on the Connected Classrooms site as well as on YouTube.
To register, teachers must have a Google+ profile.
In the classroom: Teachers can incorporate the hangouts into their teachings based on the content being covered. Hangouts allow students to hear a different perspective on an issue from their peers, to allow for a deeper and more meaningful discussion.
YouTube for Education
YouTube for Education is a subset of the traditional YouTube video sharing website. YouTube’s education platform is home to over 100 channels and 150,000 unique videos from which teachers can choose. All videos are safe for educational use, and security features allow teachers to have direct control over the videos available.
In the classroom: Teachers can incorporate videos into their teachings, assign them for student view as part of a flipped classroom, or create a video with their class to be uploaded to the site.
Happy New Year, everyone! 2012 is off to a snowy start here in Pittsburgh, and this seems like a perfect time to review what has happened over the past 360-some odd days.
As always, the global stage was full of tumult and change: 2011 saw the deaths of influential world figures (Warren Christopher, Muammar Gaddafi, Vaclav Havel, Steve Jobs, Kim Jong-Il, and Osama bin Laden, for example); uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa; the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq; devastating natural disasters (earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, typhoon in the Philippines, floods in south-east Asia, and famine in the Horn of Africa); and economic crisis in Europe.
We’ve scoured the web to find some of the best of the “2011 in Review” resources, and compiled them below. Are there any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.
2011 Year in Review (Reuters): Photos and descriptions of the most important news stories of the year, including a dramatic 60-second multimedia video presentation of the key stories, and some of the top images from 2011.
Best Articles of 2011 (Foreign Policy Magazine): Although not necessarily highlighting the most important news stories of the year, here are the most-read articles from foreignpolicy.com in 2011.
Best International Relations Books of 2011 (Foreign Affairs): In every issue of Foreign Affairs, scholars review recent academic and nonfiction books. At the end of 2011, the reviewers were asked to select the best ones. Here you will find the best books in a number of categories, including: Western Europe; the Middle East; the Western Hemisphere; Eastern Europe; Economic, Social, and Environmental Subjects; Asia; Africa; the United States; Military, Scientific, and Technological Subjects; and Political and Legal Subjects.
Personal Favorites from 2011 (A Realist in an Ideological Age): Stephen M. Walt is a professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and writes a blog, A Realist in an Ideological Age, for Foreign Policy. In this post, he shares his favorite blog posts from the past year, all of which are worth a read.
Shots Seen ‘Round the World (Foreign Policy Magazine): Fifty of the best/most important photographs from 2011, as selected by Foreign Policy.
Top 5 Foreign Policy Books in 2011 (Foreign Policy Association): The FPA asked its staff, editors, writers and bloggers to select the best books about foreign policy. Here is what they came up with.
Top 5 International Documentaries of 2011 (Foreign Policy Association): The FPA asked its staff, editors, writers and bloggers to select the best international documentaries on issues related to U.S. foreign policy. Here is what they came up with.
Twitter’s 2011 Year in Review (Twitter): It is no secret that social media is playing an increasing role in current events. Here is a look at some of the key stories, hot topics, and important moments of 2011 — as seen on Twitter.
Your Top 10 Stories of 2011 (The Guardian): Links to the top ten news stories of the year, as selected by readers.
The Year in Foreign Policy (Foreign Policy Association): The FPA looks at several key foreign policy events that promise to shape the coming year, including the 2012 election.
Year in Review (Foreign Policy Blogs Network): The FPA’s blog network has a number of great, topic-specific “Year in Review” posts, all of which can be found here. Read about 2011 in Russia or Israel, or the year in Global Food Security or War Crimes (to name just a few).
Social networking has become a central part of many people’s daily lives. However, not only has it evolved into an essential tool for our personal social lives, but it has also begun to change the world on a much larger scale. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have made headlines for their roles in generating and coordinating social movements, political protests and even revolutions—most recently in the Arab Spring uprisings.
Of the various social networks that exist, the king of the jungle is most certainly Facebook. According to Facebook’s official statistics, it has a more than 750 million active users. That means that if Facebook were a country, it would surpass the United States as the third most populous country in the world, behind only India and China.
Of those 750 million, about 70% (525 million) live outside of the U.S. What’s more, Facebook is quickly becoming the dominant social networking site in many of the world’s countries. This map shows (in blue) the countries in which Facebook is the most popular social network:
Of course, Facebook’s world domination is still far from complete, and there are some notable places – including Brazil, Russia and China– where other networks remain more popular. However, if you follow the above link, you can see similar maps going back two years to June 2009, and watch how Facebook’s reach and preponderance has expanded.
If you’re a fan of our blog (and let’s be honest — who isn’t?), then you might enjoy some of our friends’ blogs, as well!
A new feature that you’ll notice on the right-hand side of your screen is our Blogroll, where we’ll share links to interesting blogs that we recommend.
Right now, we’re highlighting three very special blogs:
- John in Argentina: John is an area high school student who was awarded one of our 18 Global Travel Scholarships to travel abroad this summer. He’ll be spending four weeks in Argentina, beginning with an orientation in Buenos Aires, followed by a homestay with an Argentinian family. Then he will embark on an ecological adventure through Argentina by foot, boat, and horse. He’ll be blogging about his experiences, so that we can all share in his adventure with him.
- Grace in Thailand: Grace is another of our Global Travel Scholars, and she’s headed to Thailand! Her five-week program will begin with a week-long orientation in the northern city of Chiang Mai. From there, she will travel to a small rural village for a homestay and community service project. Her adventure comes to an end with a few days in historic Sukothai and the country’s capital, Bangkok. During her trip, Grace will also have the opportunity to explore northern Thailand by foot, raft, and elephant on a rugged trek through remote hill-tribe villages. Follow along as Grace explores Thailand!
- Pete’s Study Tour to Europe Blog: Pete is one of 11 educators who were selected to participate in ourSummer Study Tour to Europe. He’ll be visiting Brussels and Vienna with the group, attending meetings and talking with experts at the European Commission, European Council, NATO, the UN, and many other institutions.
- Service Learning in Costa Rica: The students at City Charter High School took a service-learning trip to Costa Rica. See what these Pittsburgh students are up to in Costa Rica!
If you have a blog that you think might be of interest to our readers, leave us a comment and let us know!
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Intern
Students — please share your thoughts on pressing global issues! Teachers, please encourage your students to participate! :)
The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has been working to expand our educational outreach through technology. We are pleased to announce updates to our Wiki site, which is part of our Global Affairs Interactive Network (GAIN). On http://wikiwac.wikispaces.com, you can find many resources:
- Videos from GAIN sessions, special seminars where students engage in round-table discussions with guest speakers. Discussions available for viewing include Jerry Fowler speaking on the crisis in Darfur, Ambassador Marc Grossman discussing diplomacy, and Ambassador Vasil Sikharulidze commenting on the conflict between Russia and Gerogia.
- Information about our Student Ambassador Program, an annual program geared toward middle school students that focuses on better understanding a region of the world. The focus for 2009 was “Asia,” and five different student projects are available on the site.
- Revamped study information for the 2010 Academic WorldQuest competition. In addition to information on how to register and the rules of the game, new practice questions will be provided weekly.
We hope that teachers and students will take the opportunity to use this as an additional forum to discuss world affairs and post resources. Please check out the site and let us know what you think!
This blog will include:
- International Affairs Resources for use at home and in the classroom
- Information on current events and global issues
- First-hand accounts and opinions from student and teacher participants in Council programs
- Details on upcoming Council programs