This weeks idea is similar to a snack that I often forget about, but when I remember, It’s delicious, but perhaps not appreciated as the gastronomic delight that it is. The snack in question is the Pot Noodle . This food technology marvel offers the best in convenience snacking, it is often maligned , once tasted, it’s appreciated.
For me this is a bit like Photosynth, which for some reason I often forget to mention in presentations, and when I do talk about it people are amazed by it. Often there does seem be a slight dilemma. With the perception of it not being cool love a Microsoft web 2.0 product. It’s seen as a guilty pleasure, just like the Pot Noodle.
Photosynth takes your photos, mashes them together and recreates a 3D scene out of them that anyone can view and move around in. The site is a fantastic resource for students to explore historical sites and monuments, Some great examples are :- Stonehenge in Wiltshire, The Coliseum in Rome, the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City.
Whilst these images are amazing in themselves. The ability for students to create their own synths makes it an ideal tool for them to document and record historical buildings , sites and artefacts. Not only can they record the places they are visiting, but Photosynth allows archive images to be incorporated with current images, as long as there is a recognisable feature it will combine them, giving a ‘time travel’ like effect. Once completed synths can be geolacted on to a Bing maps and descriptions added.
A great example of how technology can bring some of the world’s most famous artefacts directly into the classroom is ‘Turning the Pages’, it can be found at the British Library. This allows scanned books to be viewed and explored in very realistic way, by virtually turning the pages. You can also search, magnify, read and listen to the text in original historical masterpieces such Da Vinci’s notebook , Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures Underground and Jane Austen’s History of England. (these links take you directly to the Turning pages browser. Select different artefacts from the menu. The Silverlight plug-in is required)
I spent some time exploring Elizabeth Blackwell’s Curious Herbal , looking for ancient cures for everyday aliments. But, it was whilst exploring the Diaries of Antarctic Explorer, Robert Scott, that I had an almost spine tingling moment. One of Scott’s fellow explorers, Captain Oates, left his colleagues, in an act of self sacrifice, saying the famous line ‘ I just going outside, I may be some time’. I searched for this infamous line and found the actual entry in Scott’s own handwriting, documenting the actual moment of this historical incident. This sort of activity , I think can really bring home to your students the reality of such events. Amazing stuff.
Now it’s over to you, we are not History specialists, how do you bring history alive through technology? We would welcome your ideas of activities that support History teaching and learning. You can email your ideas (using the email blog author link above), or leave us a comment. We will post your contributions next Monday and send you something from the Partners in Learning ‘goodie closet’ to the authors of those we publish**
**UK Teachers only