I checked out Thinkfinity again. I have looked into it before but never really used it. It does seem like a good search engine for interactive things. My search showed me a number of National Geographic lessons that were specifically interactive for the kids. Most of the interactive games that I came across would be something I would have students work with if they completed a project early. I don't really see incorporating the games I have seen so far into a regular lesson.
I found some neat simulations that I would work into my lessons on Ph ET. I have a good amount of earth science in my curriculum for world geography. I could definitely see using the simulations on glaciers and global warming. Ph ET seems like a pretty neat site. Next I will explore the apps where I think I may find more useful tools.
I made a list of interesting Apps. I downloaded 10, played around with them and then deleted two. I think Educreations Interactive Whiteboard is very cool. It seems easy enough to use. I envision having the kids create a tutorial using the tool. They could explain the theory of plate tectonics or global warming. They could explain how the European Union operates. Hopefully this wouldn't take too long for the kids to grasp because I could see using this quite a bit. I downloaded ibrainstorm which seems neat but in thinking out a use, I just decided it would be faster to jot their ideas down on paper as it is just the first step and not the end product. Maybe if the kids liked it they could use this as an option for their end product. The Popular Mechanics Quake Tracker is cool to show the kids. I could create a lesson around this using the whiteboard or another tool. TinkerBox would be mostly for fun when students finish something early. MindMash and Screenchomp are neat too and might serve as product options for students when creating a project. Toontastic looks fun but I am not sure how I will use it. Maybe it could be an option but I would have to explore it and create requirements and such so the students are actually meeting the objective.
I could easily see students playing with these various tools and accomplishing nothing in terms of class objectives. They may remember that they made a cool cartoon with an astronaut and alien but not have tied it at all to your world geography content for the day. Students need to be accountable so that we know they learned what we have designated to be learned that day. If they don't have to produce anything, it is very difficult to see this. I could see my students creating working in groups of three to create a tutorial on topics such as climate change, ocean current, plate tectonics, biomes that we cover in the first few weeks of school. Then they move as a group to the different stations to view the tutorials and complete a new post in their blog about what they learned. I may actually have them submit a google doc with answers to specific questions instead. I do have a lesson where students view a series of short video clips about overfishing and participate in a lesson to go with the clips. The ipads and netbooks with make this lesson much smoother.