I've been asked to present a 45 minute session on Thinkfinity resources and the community at an upcoming state technology conference. The audience will be a diverse group of K-12 educators. Most will not have computer access during the presentation. Based on your own similar experiences, how do you best convey the power of Thinkfinity in just 45 miniutes with a diverse group? What do you recommend as "must show" resouces for this brief session? I hope many of you will respond; I value your input and want to use this as an example of how the community can support educators.. Thanks.
This is one of my favorite Science interactives to show for grades 3-5. It is a great example of collecting data in a fun way. Next, show Illuminations' Bar Grapher for a quick way to visually analyze their data.
I may be a little biased about this next suggestion as I was priviledged to view this exhibit at the Smithsonian.
The Star-Spangled Banner has an Interactive Flag so students can examine this artifact for historical information, a Collect Stars Activity where students may critically read articles related to the flag and answer quiz questions, and Share Your Story where students may respond to what the American flag stands for and what it means to them. Their response may become a part of the mosaic made of of stories and photos from students. Complete with lesson plans for every grade level, this is a must show. :-)
My favorite is Power Up! which is an interactive tool for grades 6-8. This tool, created by Science NetLinks, challenges students to think about the positive and negative consequences of various types of power. With what's happening in Japan, it makes you think twice about selecting nuclear power as one option in this exercise.
Another favorite is A Touch of Class from Science Netlinks for grades 3-5. The interactive tool requires students to classify animals and plants. It's helpful if teachers have headsets since this interactive has sound.
Thinkfinity.org has so many awesome resources, it's hard to pick just one.
I love to show the Dynamic Paper tools from NCTM's Illuminations site. It is a great example of a resource that can be used in a paper form (printable), as an image that you embed in a printed or online worksheet, or for use with an interactive whiteboard. Math teachers and elementary teachers are usually pretty excited about the site as it makes it very easy to create graphs and nets of many kinds.
I've done many 45 to 60 minute Thinkfinity presentations. I use a "10 in 10" slideshow that I developed using some of the slides here in the Trainer Toolbox to answer 10 basic questions about Thinkfinity in about 10 minutes. (such as info about the Verizon Foundation, the fact that it is free, the partners, etc.) then I dive into some great examples such as those that have been mentioned in responses to your question. It is never enough time, but you'll have fun and the audience should be excited to see what is available.
Good luck and have fun!
I do recommend going to the Professional Development community then to the documents that have been uploaded there. Here you will find some great slides to use to fit the 10 in 10 idea mentioned below. Also, there is a quick overview of the community there that may be beneficial to you so people get the word on the community also.
Showing a couple of great sites is important to get them excited and engaged, but also getting to the meat of Thinkfinity and the Community is important and the slides are very helpful there. You can copy and paste any you find into one slide show. 45 minutes is so little time for so much information. But you can do it!
I take copies of the Bio-Cube planning sheet and invite participants to fill them out about themselves as they come into the session. I later ask for a volunteer and fill out the interactive online with the group observing. Most of the time I can't print, but I take along some already printed (sometimes my own, sometimes student work) to pass around. The group always seems to enjoy seeing the process from start to finish. As an English teacher, I explain that I have the students do the cube for themselves and then for the character they've studied. The products become a very nice artifact for Open House.
Biocube is one of my favorites- when I presented at a reading conference I remade several biocubes with all the information about well known individuals past and present omitting the name of the person. Then I tossed them out in the crowd. Catchers were readers and got a gift. Then the first person to guess the person they were describing got a little gift as well. They loved the activity and found it harder to guess than I suspected. Then I demonstrated what I had used to create the cubes. Fun for all and you have them hooked!