Tag Archives: delicious

Virtual Field Trips: Take Your Students on an Adventure

Everyone loves a field trip. Now we have the technology and ability to bring the field trip to our students.

Virtual field trips are all the rage, but what exactly is the difference between surfing the web and talking with students about what’s on the their screens and a “virtual field trip?”  Virtual field trips provide students interactive experiences using the Internet.  Well-developed virtual field trips guide students through an exploration of content that might include themes or concepts in history, science, art, geography, or music.

Virtual field trips offer students experiences they would not normally be able to experience otherwise. For example, students may be able to travel to the inside of a volcano, view paintings on the walls of the Louvre, visit Congress. Virtual field trips allow students to experience a variety of different environments and cultures.

Obviously, virtual field trips may not offer the same sensory experience as being the physical location, there are some distinct do advantages of using virtual field trips.  For one, students can experience the field trip at their own pace and take the time to explore the virtual environment in a manner that best meets their learning style – reading and interacting with the content at an appropriate pace.  Furthermore, encouraging students to explore topics related to their own depth of interest allows them the opportunity to take control of their own learning, making the virtual field trip a more meaningful experience.

Simple K12 provides a VirtualFieldtrips-eBook on the top 7 virtual field trips complete with websites and a short blurb about each of the website.  This resource is a great start, but turning these websites into virtual field trips takes a little more work on the teacher’s part.  Asking yourself, “What do I want students to gain from this experience?” is a great place to start.  Sharing with students how to navigate the site(s) and then providing them with some questions that will stimulate their creative thinking and research will enhance the experience for students.  Providing students with choices is also a great way to differentiate the learning experience for all learners.  You may use one of the virtual field trips mentioned by Simple K12 as a starting point for students as they build their knowledge base and understanding of a topic or concept by visiting multiple websites.

Check out the Google Art Project overview as a potential site for future virtual field trips!

Build a virtual experience to address your content standards as well as meet the needs of your students.  What are you waiting for?

Check out my Delicious stack of resources to help you plan your Virtual Field Trips for more ideas.


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Are Infographics the new PowerPoint for 21st Century Learners?

I am mesmerized by infographics.  I not only find the information, data, statistics, and messages fascinating, but I also see how they appeal to the brain of the 21st century learner.  We are inundated with information, bombarded by snippets, soundbites, text messages, and little bytes of information that we process effortlessly.  To demonstrate this fact, as I am typing this post, I am listening to a podcast, watching a football game, checking my Facebook, and texting on Skype.  We function now in pieces, not in the whole.

When our students look for information, chances are, they will not be drawn to a thirteen page article or four chapters in a textbook, but they will look for something they can view and something with which they can interact.  Let’s face it… Infographics are interesting!  They suck us in.   They provide fodder for GREAT discussions, and they lead us to search for more information because they pique our interest.  Infographics are the hook we need for our 21st century classrooms.  How could this work, you ask?

What are Infographics? 

Infographics are a way to make sense of data and the story behind the data by using a visual representation of given information.   The study of these visual representations helps us uncover trends in large data sets in some instances.  Infographics also take smaller data sets and makes them visible, interesting, and easily accessible to a wide audience.  Often, the mode of display is directly related to the context of the intended message.

Take this infographic for example… (Click the infographic.)

This graphic provides a visual representation of the Left and Right Wings of Government.  Think about how a Civics teacher could use this infographic.  The possibilities are endless.   And this is just one example.

Challenging Students to Think Beyond the PowerPoint

Media Literacy is a cornerstone of 21st century learning as well as preparing students to be college and career ready.  What better way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic than to create an infographic?  Because infographics communicate the author’s data and understanding, creating an infographic encourages creativity, analysis and evaluation of information, and a deep understanding of how to interpret data to deliver a message.   As we embrace Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and provide students with more opportunities to think critically and draw conclusions, infographics may serve multiple purposes in our classrooms.

Check out my Delicious stack of infographic information:  Things to Make you Think to see more examples of infographics as well several really powerful examples.



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New Changes to Delicious are Simply Divine!

When Delicious first introduced “stacks,” I was not completely sold on their functionality.  Then, I took time to really play with the “stacks” function.  And… I love it!  I began to realize all of the potential that this new element of Delicious can have on classroom instruction.

In case you aren’t familiar with this site, Delicious is a free social bookmarking web resource for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks.

Click on this video to see how stacks work!

As 21st century educators, one of our charges is to teach students to be media literate.  We throw around this terms, but one important component of teaching students to be savvy consumers of media is teaching them how to navigate resources on the web.  How do we teach students about how to access reliable, factual information?  Delicious stacks can help in a number of ways.

Students with Little Research Experience:  The teacher can create a stack on a topic the teacher wants the students to research.  The teacher can provide the link to that stack, and students would use only websites in the stack to conduct their research.

Students with some Research Experience:  Students could create a Delicious Stack of every site they use in their research.  This would help students on a number of levels.  First, they could quickly revisit any site where they retrieved information.  Next, teachers or peers could review student resources to check for reliability.  Then, students could use the text option to write a description of what they found on this site.  Their comments could be helpful if they use their stacks to collaborate and share ideas with other classmates.

Savvy Researchers:  As part of a research assignment, one of the components of the rubric could be to create Delicious stack as part of their final product.  This stack along with the text description could help serve the purpose of our notecards of old.  These stacks can also provide teachers with a quick resource to check citations and reliability of information.


For a short read on eight ways to tell if a website is reliable, share this article with students:  Eight Ways to Tell if a Website is Reliable


Follow my Delicious links at:  www.delicious.com/mullinshe


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Message of the Week: Digital Age Delights and Amazes

The future is here!
The future is here!

The digital age is not only upon us, it has invaded us. 


As educators, we are faced with a dilemma, either to embrace the new face of education, admit that trekking in this undiscovered country fills some of us with trepidation OR to run kicking and screaming from it and hope no one realizes that we still relying on only the same methods that we have used for years. 



Recently,I have been working diligently to launch myself even more deeply into the world of Web 2.0 tools.  What an amazing world it is – with endless possibilities for students, classrooms, and collaboration.  I continue to be astonished by the endless number of the resources at our fingertips, resources that are multiplying as I type.


For starters, this is my new blog that will highlight  messages of the week as well as provide you with links to resources I am researching for individual teachers, principals, our district, School Improvement Plans, instructional strategies, and staff development opportunities.


Now that you are here, let me share some of the functions of the site. 


First, on the left side of the page, you will find today’s message and other past entries.  You will also find “links” followed by a date.  Thanks to Donna Murray, I have used Feedburner to link any new Delicious bookmarks directly to my blog.  So, every morning, any new web pages I have bookmarked load directly onto my blog for viewing.  Way cool! 


Take a look at the right side of the page.  Under the picture at the top of the page, you will see a box that reads:  Subscribe to Heather’s Weblog by E-mail.  By clicking here, you will receive an E-mail update any time I update my blog.  You will receive my daily Delicious links as well as any content, weekly messages, etc that I add to this page. 


Under this tab, you will find another tab that reads My Delicious Links.  If you are interested in what I am marking on the web or searching my archives, tags, and bookmarks, just click here, and you will be directed to my Delicious page and my bookmarks by category/subject.


The last tab on the right side of the page is titled, What do you want?  Here, you will find a list of tabs that serve as tags for concepts, topics, and information shared in the blog.  If you know what you are looking for, you can simply click on a word or phrase, and you will be taken to a list of blog entries on that topic. 


If you would like to comment on an entry, just click the Comments or No Comments links that follow each entry.  Then, you can leave your comments or feedback for others to read.


What an amazing collaborative tool!


Many of you have professional blogs, Delicious accounts, and other wonderful collaborative resources.  I urge you to share them with all of us. 


Please take this opportunity today to share how you use web 2.0 tools to collaborate.


If you are interested in setting up your own Delicious account or blog for your classes, parents, grade level/department, or school, please let me know.  I would love to assist you.


Have a great week!







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