How to Use the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has an overwhelming amount of information, much of which is available online. With just a bit of effort, you can access and use this information with your classes. Jeff Dunn at the blog Edudemic has discovered a fantastic infographic to help us all understand the wealth of relevant, curriculum-aligned content available at our fingertips from the LOC. (Click on image to view larger.)

Teaching with the Library of Congress

YouTube for Schools

Though it is one of the most commonly blocked websites at schools across the country, YouTube is trying to get into the education game. A new channel on the video service website curates videos that can be used in classes, sorted by grade level and subject.

The quality of the videos varies, but there are some good resources here. The organization is also really helpful, saving you lots of time by making it easy to find videos on the topic you’re looking for. As a matter of fact, the slogan of YouTube for Schools is “Spend more time teaching, less time searching.”

Take a look at this video on magnetic breakfast cereal!

Many Eyes

Take a dull data set, and turn it into an eye-catching, easy-to-understand, and manipulatable visualization. Many Eyes is a very cool tool to turn numbers and words into pictures of all kinds– graphs, trees, word clouds, phrase nets, and even world maps. You can use the existing visualizations and data sets, or upload your own data set (in the form of words or numbers) and select how you’d like to see it.

Many Eyes is useful in the classroom to show relationships between concepts, and relative sizes of facts and figures. You can make it as simple (words from a page of text) or as complicated (a set of statistics) as you want.


In order to see the visualizations, make sure that you allow Java applications.

Google Crisis Response

Google Crisis Response aggregates valuable research tools and resources that can help in response efforts after major disasters. Their most recent effort is in response to the New Zealand earthquake, and features Google Person Finder, incident reporting, phone numbers to emergency assistance and local officials, and Google Earth maps with the latest data. This is a really fascinating way to keep on top of current events, and to watch how a natural disaster unfolds.

 

If you’re a Google Earth fan, you can also find additional maps to download and view in Google Earth. These maps include interactive time-lapse animations, trajectories, and aerial photographs of each disaster.

You can also view their coverage of previous disasters. Check out their coverage of the DeepWater Horizon oil spill, or the Australian floods.