Sunday, March 29, 2015

Add Text to Photos

You can add text to photos with this app called Phonto Photo. It's available for both Apple and Android devices and very easy to use. You can place the text anywhere on the photo and size it. And it's free!

Thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, who sent me the link.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

AP World (Global History Review Video)

I am starting to get all of my review items ready for the end of the year Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL - yes that is really the acronym) and found this twelve minute video above that you might want for your AP students. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Globalism: Awesome Overview

Here's an awesome and engaging review of globalism, only eight minutes.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Our Kids by Robert Putnam

My blog is all about free things you can use with your students, but occasionally I veer as in posting about my own new book.  But for year I have asked the students who do poorly in my classes why they don't care in an effort to better serve them.  The answer is always the same "I don't know." Well, now I have a great answer after reading Robert Putnam's new book, Our Kids which argues that we have created two Americas - those in the middle upper class and above and the rest.  He shows, using lots of statistics, but also anecdotal stories, that members of the lower classes are much more likely to have little or no college, more likely to divorce, be a member of far fewer extracurricular activities, be more likely to go to a school with fewer AP/IB classes, and on and on.  He makes a strong argument (and we have heard this before) that the first three years are essential to the life development.  He builds a case that fifty years ago it was much easier for someone to "rise up," but today that is much harder today.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Book is Exceeding Expectations

I had a conversation with "my marketing editor" (yes there are seven editors working on this project!) on Wednesday and she told me that my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction was already selling beyond expectations in its first month out.  So thank you for all of you who bought the book.

If you haven't bought it yet and want some highlights:

  • the goal of the book is to help you set different paces for your students so each can obtain more learning than if you were marching all your students at the same pace
  • to do that you need to expand your PLC beyond your school's borders
  • evaluate your students using free online technology
  • know how to use Google Drive to grade in near real time
  • flip your classroom to better allow students to watch short lectures in a timely fashion
  • know how to mobile devices in the classroom
  • know how to connect to your students using technology beyond the classroom
  • and SO much more.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Even Hitler Gets Frustrated with AP World

Are your student's frustrations with AP World History similar to Hitler's? Check out this clip that one of my AP World student's sent me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Guernica and the Power of Art

Here's an excellent and moving 10 minute clip about the bombing of Guernica and Picasso's painting from Simon Shama's series for BBC called "The Power of Art."

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Global Guide to WWI

Thanks to Kat Stankiewicz for this tip on "A Global Glide to WWI."  It is a fantastic look at WWI starting from what it calls a 19th century war with a calvary that moves into a modern war.  The site shows lots of video as well as narrations from first person accounts.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Understating Creoles Through Casta Paintings

Studying Spanish America and the social hierarchy they developed?  Spanish born Peninsulares were on top and just below them were Creoles, the sons and daughters of their European parents.

But a series of  paintings in the mid 19th century cast doubts on the racial purity of the Creoles. Known as the Casta paintings, they portray the intermingling of European and native Americans.
And, according to this interesting essay by Professor Susan Deans-Smith, some "feared the paintings would send back to Spain the damaging message that creoles, the Mexican-born children of Spanish parents, were of mixed blood. For Arce y Miranda, the paintings would only confirm European assumptions of creole inferiority."

These paintings could serve as a great lesson about the power of images and how POV changes the way different audiences see the images.

As Professor Deans-Smith notes "regardless of what patrons and artists may have intended casta paintings to convey, viewers responded to them according to their own points of reference and contexts.

Here's how the Yale University Press defines the Casta paintings:
The pictorial genre known as casta painting is one of the most compelling forms of artistic expression from colonial Mexico. Created as sets of consecutive images, the works portray racial mixing among the main groups that inhabited the colony: Indians, Spaniards, and Africans. In this beautifully illustrated book, Ilona Katzew places casta paintings in their social and historical context, showing for the first time the ways in which the meanings of the paintings changed along with shifting colonial politics.
Thanks to Bram Hubbell for tweeting the link.

The English East India Company: Original Corporate Raiders

Here is a long but excellent essay about the East India Company by William Dalrymple, author of several books about India, including The Last Mughal.

Dalrymple reminds us of the greed and brutality that members of the East India Company employed in conquering India and extracting its riches.
In many ways the EIC was a model of corporate efficiency: 100 years into its history, it had only 35 permanent employees in its head office. Nevertheless, that skeleton staff executed a corporate coup unparalleled in history: the military conquest, subjugation and plunder of vast tracts of southern Asia. It almost certainly remains the supreme act of corporate violence in world history. For all the power wielded today by the world’s largest corporations – whether ExxonMobil, Walmart or Google – they are tame beasts compared with the ravaging territorial appetites of the militarised East India Company. Yet if history shows anything, it is that in the intimate dance between the power of the state and that of the corporation, while the latter can be regulated, it will use all the resources in its power to resist.

The length of this essay makes it unsuitable as a student assignment  but parts of it could probably be adapted.

Thanks to Bram Hubbell for tweeting the link to this essay.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Free PDF to Word Converter

I have long used Pdftoword to convert my pdfs to word documents, but there is a several page limit and after a certain amount they require you to set up an account.  The latter part might be a positive as you have all of your documents in one place, but...

Now I prefer's pdf converter because

  • there is no limit to the length of the document
  • you can even convert scanned documents
  • you only have to put in your email and you will receive it in 40 minutes or less.
  • there is no membership required