As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't know how Earth Science teachers survived without the technology that we have today. I will be the first to admit that Earth Science can be very dry and abstract if one is not enthusiastic about the subject. It is nearly impossible to ignore the tech advances that have been made, and to operate your classroom without some of the great applications available to us today is almost criminal! I remember when I was student teaching not so long ago, my sponsoring teacher couldn't believe the simple animations that I used to show the students horizontal sorting in a stream. He had me show another E.S. teacher, one whom he'd been teaching with for over 25 years. They had internet access available to them already, but hadn't taken advantage of all the internet had to offer. Anyway, what follows are a couple of the apps that I think are amazing and go a long way in helping students fully grasp concepts that they need to learn in a language they already understand- tech speak.
In no particular order:
Earth Viewer- This is one that I just recently discovered, and haven't used with my students yet. It is an app that describes Earth's vast geological history. It is very in depth, and I haven't even explored everything it can do. The geologic time scale is on the left, and one can move through periods of time and the corresponding environment on Earth, all the way back to the Hadean prior to the formation of Earth's continents. You can observe changing temperatures and continents throughout time, and learn about or things, like what happens to insolation as it enters Earth's atmosphere. The period of rotation is shown during each time period (at the beginning our day was only 17.5 hours!), as well as the atmospheric gas changes through 4.6 billion years (only Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide). And loads more.....
Solar Walk and Star Walk-Space at your fingertips! Solar Walk one is chock-full of information about planets, asteroids, and other fun stuff. I can explore this one for hours, learning about each planet and its place in our solar system. This is a great educational app that is really engaging and informative. There are even videos one can watch. To go beyond our Solar system, check out Star Walk. Most students love anything astronomy, and Star walk helps one identify objects in the night sky (forget the tv, go look outside!), including satellites. One of my favorite iPad apps.
Skeptical Science- With the controversy surrounding global climate change, there is a lot of confusing information out there. This app, while specifically attempting to debunk any doubt about climate change, has loads and loads of scientific papers concerning climate change, both pro and con. I like it because it can help you locate specific scientific papers, right at your fingertips. Often missing in discussions about climate change is documented, peer-reviewed research references, while a lot of misinformation is thrown around.
Flashcardlet- This app, which also works on iPhone, lets one create flashcards to study for an upcoming test. I like that it can be used on a phone so it's always at the ready whenever a student feels the urge to study. The cards that you create can also be emailed to someone else. Flashcards+
is also a flashcard app, but with this one you can't create your own. You can, however, download lots of premade cards for free.
Pictures are from the Apple Store.