NOVA States of Matter Interactive

The website for PBS’s NOVA is filled with cool lessons and interactives. This one allows students to actually see how various substances (water, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen) change as pressure and temperature are altered.

Google Art Project

Explore famous works of art and world class art museums from the comfort of your desk! Google’s Art Project allows you to walk through a museum room by room, zooming in on the pieces you’re interested in. You can also directly view works like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, zooming in to remarkable levels of detail. And, if you’re done looking and want to do some reading, there is information on each work, including provenance. Check out this cool video to see how it all works:

Big thanks to Kevin Brodeur for the suggestion!


This service makes shortening video clips incredibly easy. If there’s a YouTube video that seems perfect for your class, but you only want to show certain parts of it, SnipSnip.It does most of the work for you. No trying to download the original file, no uploading it into iMovie and playing around with it. Simply cut and paste the link into SnipSnip.It, select the part you want to show, and voila! You are given a link and an embed code with your newly snipped video! Very cool. (special thanks to iLearn Technology for opening my eyes to this handy tool.)

History Buff Panoramas

The History Buff website is chock full of great primary resource information, but their latest addition, Panoramas, takes it to the next level. With this feature, you can visit and tour several famous American historical locations in great detail, complete with narration. Take a tour of Thomas Edison’s birthplace, or see where the papers were signed that ended the Civil War. The commentary is at time a bit dry, but in general this is a great way to make history come to life.


Anatomy Arcade

I love it when educational games are actually fun. On Anatomy Arcade, you can play Poke-A-Muscle or Whack-A-Bone to learn all about where to find the gastrocnemius or the phalanges, respectively. You will have to sit through a quick ad before the game launches, and much of the anatomy in the Anatomy Arcade is pretty advanced, and designed to review rather than teach. However, what better way to really learn and remember than by playing a game? I especially enjoyed Cell Craft, a long and detailed game that teaches all about the inner workings and anatomy of both plant and animal cells.


There are lots of tag cloud generators out there, but Tagxedo may be my favorite. A tag cloud is a visual representation of words taken from a website, text excerpt, speech, or any other source of words. The most important words are depicted, with size determined by the number of times a word appears in the original source. You will sometimes find tag clouds on blogs, indicating common themes of posts. As a matter of fact, the Applewild Technology blog has a tag cloud.

What makes Tagxedo so great is the ease with which you can apply all kinds of fun formatting; color schemes, shapes, and fonts are all easily changed. You can create some really stunning visuals, like the one I’ve created using Applewild’s mission statement. You can learn a lot about a text by turning it into a tag cloud; notice how the biggest word in the whole cloud is “students.” I think it is safe to say that our mission statement has been well-worded to emphasize that our key focus is on our students, and the tag cloud represents this really nicely.

The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

If you’re planning on beginning a research project (especially one that will be heavy in online research), a quick lesson on website evaluation is key.  This website is the librarian’s secret weapon against naïve students who trust whatever they read on the internet.

The website for the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus is well-crafted, attractive, and contains links to real scientific articles. It is also complete and utter hooey. Many students, upon initial examination, believe this creature to be real. It is, of course, not. It’s great for introducing the subject, and starting a discussion!