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NASA Creates Awesome iPad App for Science Education

The new "Visualization Explorer" app takes NASA's trove of satellite data and brings it to life in a free app.


The space shuttle program may be over, but NASA's ability to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math experts is as strong as ever. On Tuesday they released a free iPad app, the Visualization Explorer, which "allows users to easily interact with extraordinary images, video, and information about NASA's latest earth science research."

Designed by media specialists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the app's incredible visuals come from computer images based on data captured by NASA's satellites. The app has the potential to make teaching and learning about science a lot cooler. Imagine how instead of simply reading about topics like "climate change, aerosols, glaciers, hurricanes, volcanoes and wildfire" in a textbook, students with access to the app can explore the data-based visualizations and see those topics truly brought to life.

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How Blogging Helps Students Crush the Digital Divide

Forget pen and paper: This is a fresh way to get students from low income backgrounds excited about writing.


While teachers are certainly finding success engaging students through Twitter, in the real world those kids have to know how to write more than 140 characters. We've written before about how blogging is a fun and fresh way to encourage reluctant students to write. And, as Oceanside, California, teacher John Schwartz discovered, it even works with students from low-income backgrounds with varying degrees of English proficiency.

This past school year Schwartz taught a 36-student, fourth/fifth-grade combination class at Garrison Elementary School. Over 60 percent of his students "came from households where English was the second language, or wasn’t spoken at all," and most of their working parents "were able to provide limited academic support."

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Are "Teacherpreneurs" the Future of Education?

A new book, "Teaching 2030," believes educators need to become entrepreneurially minded leaders.

One of the frustrating things about being a teacher is that the people who make the big policy decisions about education often don't have much, if any, classroom experience. Even our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, was never a classroom teacher. But 12 of the 13 authors of a new education reform book, Teaching 2030, are current classroom teachers, and the smart thinking they share is a reflection of the knowledge they've gained while working in public schools. The animated video above is a summary of their big ideas about what needs to happen to put our education system on the right track by 2030.

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