Week 2: GIS

At ITEC last year, I first heard about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in schools.  The presenter is from a private university in Iowa and works with 4-H groups, and had brought along a high schooler (and his mother) who was passionate about the subject.  Although this technology is a little scientific for me (not my strong suit!), I knew it was very cool so I’ve had it on the back of my mind all year.
A grant opportunity was presented to me last week, so I decided to try something with GIS.  I worked with the high school science teacher and the curriculum coordinator, and we pulled together a great grant.  I’m very hopeful about our chances!  
I did pull together a Diigo list of GIS resources.  It’s a great start – and hopefully soon I can add a link to our high schoolers’ online presence about their original GIS research!

photo credit: Cartographer via photopin cc


Marlin Miller, MNW grad and chain saw artist, did his presentation Friday in the front courtyard of the school.  What an event!  Too bad it wasn’t as warm on Friday as it was on Thursday, but 48 is much preferable to Iowa’s normal January weather, so I’m not complaining.  I had to go to the elementary at noon so I didn’t get a picture of the finished product, but I hear he did three sculptures and can’t wait to see them after the art kids are done finishing them up.

Marlin Miller creating art out of an ordinary log.


Marlin Miller, MNW grad, came to his old stomping grounds on Thursday to set up for Friday’s demonstration.  He had several beautiful sculptures on display (primarily done with a chain saw!) and this was definitely one I wouldn’t mind if he left behind:

Week 1: Gooru Learning

I saw online someone’s take on the 365-day photo project – doing a 365-day web 2.0 project.  I wasn’t sure I had that in me – I’m even having a hard time with taking pictures every day! – but I decided to do a 52-week web 2.0 project, in an effort to find some great tools to give to specific teachers.  

For week one, I investigated Gooru Learning.  The folks bringing the world this repository of science and math education resources state that their mission is “to make high quality education accessible and free to the world’s one billion students within three years.”  Lessons are available in a plethora of science and math  subject areas, and targeted for 5th – 8th grades, although the high school science teacher I shared this with thought there was a lot there that she could use.  From what I saw, the interactives, videos, etc. here aren’t created for Gooru and aren’t solely on here, but this is a sort of online library for math and science teachers.  (I could have used this as an example in my Cataloging class when we needed to name a library online!)

The main page includes lessons on everything from the solar system, weather and climate, states of matter, and mammals (5th grade science) to absolute value, graphing linear inequalities in two variables, functions involving square roots, and the Pythagorean Theorem (8th grade math). 

Currently, Gooru Learning is by invitation only, but I received my invitation within 24 hours of asking.  It’s certainly worth the bother, though, if you are one who teaches math or science or help find resources for those that do.  Gooru Learning’s interface is pleasant and easy to navigate.  So much fun, too!  (I particularly love the interactives from the BBC – love those British accents.)  With nearly 2,000 lessons and over 18,000 resources, you’re sure to find something you can use.