The Green Effect – A Chance to Win $20,000 for Your Green Project

Just got my latest MyWonderfulWorld e-newsletter, and National Geographic and SunChips are announcing a new initiative called the Green Effect, which will award $20,000 each to 5 individuals or groups to implement their community green project.

The contest opens on April 22nd and runs until June 8th. You’ll be able submit your green idea to the Green Effect website (the submission page isn’t live yet), and on July 7th, 10 finalists will be announced (Each of the finalists will get a Flip video camera!). The finalists will be judged again, and there will be online voting as well. The winners will be announced around July 21st.

So come on out there! Get your green thinking caps on and, if you’ve got an idea that can help your community become greener, write it up and submit it!

YouTube and Library of Congress team up to put early movies online

Although not strictly geography-related, I really wanted to post about the US Library of Congress utilizing YouTube to make digital versions of some of the earliest motion pictures ever recorded available online. The LOC’s collections are amazing historical treasures, and cover a wide variety of topics. You can find out more about the Library of Congress’s holdings at their website. Although many of the videos are also available directly on the LOC website, the YouTube partnership is great because it makes these motion pictures easily searchable by the huge YouTube user base.

I spent a few minutes checking out the LOC’s YouTube channel, and picked out one example, Native American members of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show performing the Sioux Ghost Dance in 1894:

K-12 In West Virginia to get ESRI licenses

Just got a bit of news that’s not been officially announced but kicking around the state – the K-12 schools in West Virginia are getting a 3 year license for ESRI software, donated from ESRI itself!  I’m a little unclear exactly how much of the software they’re getting (does it include server for example?), but it will be a state wide site license and prominately feature the full ArcGIS license.  Supposedly the high schools and middle schools have greatly expanded their computer infrastructure, so they’ll have access to equipment that can run the software.  I’m slightly curious about hand-held stuff too, as I doubt many schools have GPS units capable of running ArcPad.  However, despite the vaugaries, this is pretty exciting news.  Kids who otherwise would have zero exposure to GIS and Geospatial technologies are going to get some good, hands on experience with arguablly the most widespread tools in the business.  That can’t help but be good for West Virginia.

ETA: Made it clearer this is a donation from ESRI.

Rockin’ with Geography – Teacher and the Rockbots

Rock n’ roll lovers everywhere – now you can help remember your geography skills by rocking out with Teacher and the Rockbots, as they sing classics like “Continents,” “How to Read a Map, and “Supply and Demand” from their album “World”

Teacher and the Rockbots is an educational site that also has 3 other music CDs to go along with “World” – “Science”, “America”, and “Multiplication.” So yes, while they’re really geared toward elementary school students, kids of all ages will find themselves cranking up their iPod for these catchy rock tunes.

You can buy “World” through the Teacher and the Rockbots site for $12.99, or you can download it from iTunes for $9.99

New Media and Education survey

NMEThis is the last reminder of the New Media in Education survey we would like you to complete to support a paper that we are finishing up. The survey, which closes Wednesday, is intended for anyone who is involved in education/training at any level. It is a short survey that should only take 2-4 minutes of your day. The general results will be shared on the VerySpatial and will be included in a paper we will be submitting in the next month or so.

Thanks for your time!

CoolGlobes: greening the globe

CoolGlobesAnother great art as education/activism has apparently been going on this summer and will be continuing through the fall and into next year. The project, CoolGlobes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet, is an exhibit that began in Chicago last summer (’07) that features sculpted globes, each about 5 feet in diameter which were intended to “to create awareness and provoke discussion about a potential solution to global warming”. Some of the globes are currently on display in Washington DC and San Francisco with an exhibit coming soon to San Diego and to London in 2009. If you see one of these exhibits, send us a picture of video.

Survey Reminder – New Media in Education

Just a quick reminder that I am conducting a survey to support a paper on New Media in Education that I am finishing up. The survey is intended for anyone who involved in education/training at any level. It is a short survey that should only take 2-4 minutes of your day and may add to our collective knowledge 😉 You have until the end of September to respond to the survey.

To take part in this exciting research please head over to VerySpatial and take the survey.

Webkinz and Maps

I played Webkinz all weekend with my nephew. It’s a cute stuffed toy with a code to enter a virtual environment with tons of interactive games. Many schools use Webkinz as an educational tool or as a reward for good behavior. Gantz, the makers of Webkinz list the reasons why virtual world is educational but they left out one component – you have to use a map tool to add rooms to your virtual house. If. like my nephew, you have almost every room configuration possible, you definitely need the map to find your way from your beach room to your space room without getting lost. You can see all the different types of Webkinz animals at Amazon.

Ten Commandments of Egoless (insert what you do)

TheSteve0 tweeted this great article about programming in a team environment, but the ten points that are made transcend programming and can easily fit any team activity from a class project to sending a lander to Mars. With new/innovative workflows coming on the scene in the tech arena (eg the spread of AGILE) it is sometimes hard to look around at the insular structure of some working groups. Articles like this one give me hope that we can tip over the silos and all play together. Perhaps it is just the optimist in me. Here is my favorite:

3. No matter how much “karate” you know, someone else will always know more. Such an individual can teach you some new moves if you ask. Seek and accept input from others, especially when you think it’s not needed.

I definitely recommend that you head over and take a look at the article to see if it resonates with you as it did with me. Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming

Earth Balloon – Geography ed that’s not just full of hot air

nullFor all you K-12 teachers out there, and anyone who’s interested in a cool Geography educational tool, check out Earth Balloon. It’s a 20-foot high, hand-painted inflatable globe that can be used in conjunction with Geography lessons on a wide range of topics. Whereabouts, Inc., a company that specializes in Geography educational tools and programs, has created a traveling Earth Balloon program and will come to schools with their Earth Balloon and allow students to actually go inside the inflated balloon as part of the program. They’re based in the Chicago area, so I’m not sure how far they’re willing to travel.

You can even buy your own Earth Balloon and, really, what Geography class wouldn’t be way cooler with a giant inflatable globe that you can walk inside!

Via STLToday