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Creative Advances in Educational Technology

Science on a SphereTechnology — from cell phones to email to blogs — has become a big part of many people's everyday lives, and these advances are extending to classrooms. Innovators are thinking outside the boxy computer monitor now and advancing all sorts of creative uses for technology specifically designed for education. Take a look at these new advances in "edtech":

Science on a Sphere: These tools for teaching earth science can be found at a number of science museums and institutions around the country. A project of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Science on a Sphere looks like a spherical computer screen and functions like an animated globe. It displays weather patterns, continental drift, and other earth science phenomena in dynamic ways, bringing material to life and engaging visual learners. (See above image.)

Encyclopedia of Life: This reference site takes the “crowdsourcing” backbone of Wikipedia and then refines and improves it for educational purposes. EOL is a detailed online encyclopedia of biology whose material is written and compiled by volunteers and other scientific partners, and then fact-checked and edited by a team of knowledgeable curators. These writers, curators, and members of EOL’s oversight committee are often trained or professional biologists and academic researchers.

Animal webcams: Live video feeds of animals both in the wild and in zoos can be a great multimedia supplement to biology-related lessons. These feeds stream live over the Internet, enabling you to remotely observe hatching birds in their nests or zoo animals in their enclosures. Check out this Thinkfinity Community discussion for links to some great animal webcams.

TED-Ed: A project of TED, the group that hosts 30-minute informational talks by knowledgeable people, TED-Ed is an online library of high-quality educational videos that teachers can edit and use in the classroom. Each video also comes with quizzes to test students’ knowledge and links to related resources.

For more updates on the latest in technology for education, check out these blogs:

Image credit: NOAA/Will von Dauster

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