10.29.2010

Exploring the world through Discovery Education Streaming - Atlas

Perhaps one of the more underutilized applications available at ETHS, Discovery Education Streaming offers over 80,000 embeddable and/or stand alone video clips for teachers to use, stream, and download through our servers. We last discussed how to begin taking advantage of the assignment, quiz, and writing prompt builder tools, and today, we'll dive into one of my personal favorites, the Atlas feature.

DES Atlas
Found either through search (Atlas) or in the Teacher Center Tools and Resources, the Discovery Education Atlas is an interactive map that pulls up video resources based on the country chosen. I like this feature because the Atlas makes it very clear how to use the tool (just select a location), and the map zooms in to display several videos based around the topics of culture, government, history, and natural world.

Comparing Multiple Countries
Clearly, history classes can benefit immediately, particularly when a teacher is focusing on a specific country, such as China. One can quickly learn about the types of Chinese government for a few minutes, and then zoom over to another country, such as Italy and compare the two government systems. The Atlas map application makes it extremely easy to perform these quick compare and contrasts, and it is all done via video and not just static webpages. With the elegant zoom feature, you also get a mini geography lesson as the countries are shown nicely with different colors and outlines. There is also a dropdown menu in the upper left that lets you quickly choose a country to view.

Not just for History
As I was exploring the application, I noticed a plethora of videos on food for the various countries. Thus, our culinary arts program could use this to compare foods from different countries. The science of fireworks appeared when exploring China and collecting gold for use in Brazil was equally intriguing, so I was reminded of my teaching days as a Chemistry instructor. I would have definitely shown these video clips to bring the perspective of science in other countries. Speaking of science, Biology teachers will find use in the natural world subtopic, as different animals, habitats and ecosystems are easily compared using the Atlas. There are tons of additional uses, and exploring the Atlas will surely lend to their discovery.

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