Friday, June 12, 2015

Tech Review: World Landmarks Explorer

WORLD LANDMARKS EXPLORER is an engaging geography and social studies app from Peapod Labs.
The easy-to-use interface provided access to 112 landmarks in 53 countries around the world.
Users are presented with a scrolling page of locations organized alphabetically. Three square icons are presented for each landmark. Each landmark includes the name and location of the landmark as well as the country flag. Users also have the option to zoom-in to see an interactive satellite image of the location, share the landmark with others, or go back to the list of options. Existing YouTube videos by producers such as BBC provide details about each landmark. Existing photos such as those from Flickr as also displayed. To go to the next image/video, users simply swish.
Although this app is a fun way to explore the world’s landmarks, there are some problems with the software. First, since existing resources such as YouTube videos are used, some are missing. Users simply receive a “This video does not exist” error message. Second, there’s no consistency in video content. The app really needs some basic information about each landmark to provide an introduction to each site.
While the app is lacking in terms of content, it would be a great way for youth to explore many of the world’s most amazing places and choose one for a more in-depth investigation. Ask students to select one of the landmarks and brainstorm questions they have based on the images and videos in the app. Then, encourage them to conduct an inquiry using your school library’s many resources including books, databases, and other quality, informational materials.
You don’t need this app on all your devices. Instead, download it on a few devises and ask students to work in small groups or use it in a display or stations.
Published by Peapod Labs.

Tech Review: National Pollinator Week

NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK is June 15-21, 2015. Pollinator Partnership is an informational website the promotes the health of pollinators that are critical to food and ecosystems. There’s also an app available called BeeSmart: Pollinator Gardener that guides users through the process of selecting plants for pollination.
Sponsored by dozens of government agencies, industries and corporations, non-profit organizations, and foundations, the website includes guides, helpful resources, and ways to get involved with protecting pollinators.
The “About Us” section explores information about the project’s mission, people, partners, and projects. The What Is Pollination? page answers FAQs about pollinators and pollination. Check out the Projects page for links to many ongoing activities related to pollination. The SHARE (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment) page provides step-by-step instructions for how to plant for pollination. Users can even share their project online.
The “Planting Guides” section provides free information and guides for selecting plants based on your ecoregion by zip code.
The “Useful Resources” section links to dozens of websites focusing on topics such as bees, education, farming/ranching, gardens, hunting/fishing, monarchs, medicinal plants, and more.
The “Get Involved” section explores many ways that individuals can have a positive impact by making a difference in the lives of bees, birds, butterflies, and bats. The page includes PDFs on pollinators that can be downloaded and printed, activities for kids, and other resources.
The 2015 “They Don’t Eat Their Pollinators” infographic focuses on carnivorous plants of North America and their pollinators. This poster would be excellent as part of a display featuring books and other materials about the importance of pollination.
To visit the website, go to
For resources associated with Pollinator Week, go to
Download the 2015 poster at
To download the BeeSmart app, go to