Friday, March 28, 2014

Education : Earth Hour 2014

This Saturday night, March 29 2014 at 8:30PM (local time), hundreds of millions of people will turn their lights off in a symbolic gesture for the planet following WWF's Earth Hour

Lights in homes, buildings and famous landmarks will be turned off for an hour tomorrow to mark WWF's annual event.

We will use our power wih Earth Hour Blue. Of course I could not forget this important call to support such an important world project. Neither our students.

They are working some while ago to join this wonderful commitment to save the planet.

With just one day to go until Earth Hour - New Zealand is the first country to switch off the lights - a record of 158 countries and 7 000 cities and towns will be participating in the world's largest event for the planet. 

In Portugal, 91 cities and towns will be participating in this wonderful event.

Now in its eighth year Earth Hour, organised by WWF, has evolved into the largest environment grassroots movement connecting hundred of millions of people across all seven continents.

Students were excited since the first year we participated in Earth Hour 2008. Sifter that, all every Earth Hour have been celebrated in school, Languages curricula until last year. 

Students like to commit on environmental causes. A lot! They dare and they do! I wrote about Earth Hour 2011 ; Talking about Earth Hour with students ; And today is Earth Hour 2013.

Students are preparing some posts on their blogs. They are amazing! They continue their environmental blogs even they left school. We only met on the internet now.

All of you are prepared, of course, activities and projects finished to celebrate tomorrow, right?

I am sure that you prepared your lessons carefully and your students are well motivated to dare to save the Planet, tomorrow night at 8:30-9:30PM (local time).

Don't forget the interactive map to discover events all around the world. Amazing!

Turn it Off by Jason Bruges

Other ideas? 

Looking at the stars, hopefully easier with Earth Hour's temporary drop in light pollution - going for a run, having a candlelit dinner, or a picnic in the park of your city or town, heading to the high ground in the city to watch the lights, getting a board game out (Scrabble on a table still beats the iPhone version), for example.

In Portugal, a big yoga lesson will take place in 10 cities at 8:30 (one hour).

See ! Impossible to resist to Earth Hour Ambassador Spider Man. Students are huge fans of comic novel and of course movies based on it. 

They loved the new saga the Amazing Spider Man featured by Andy Garfield, the new Ambassador. They can't wait for the Amazing Sider Man 2.

Super Hero? 

Earth Hour propose the Instragam Challenge. Students can join super hero ambassador Spider Man and share some photos about how they are super heroes for the Planet by publishing the photos on Instagram using #EarthHour #SpiderMan and #YourPower.

The best photos have prizes. For more information read Join the Instagram Challenge.

Level : Middle and Secondary Education.

Only 17 hours and some minutes in New Zealand, one day and two hours in Portugal to celebrated Earth Hour

Follow Facebook or Twitter.

That's the limit of my imagination. What are yours? Probably better ideas to do in the dark this Saturday?

One bright suggestion? We will see us under the starts?



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Europeana ? Competition Educational Apps : Get involved !

Are you an app or game developer? So today, I would like to motivate the last hesitant creative to get involved on the "Europeana Creative Challenge".

Europeana is a database of some 30 million cultural and historical documents, images, sound and video files from Europe's museums, libraries, galleries and archives.

Of course, all my readers know EuropeanaIt's not the first time I write about Europeana

Ok ! So, I am writing again about apps. But now you must to create it. Ok ! You have some more days, to be precise, four days and some hours.

Europeana Creative is looking for creative developers, designers, start-ups and other entrepreneurs to RE-use the Europeana collections! 

Europeana Creative has launched two innovation challenges to create educational apps for teaching Natural History and History Education. 

The challenge is to create applications (appsfor a range of themesnatural history education, history education, tourism, social networks and design

For now, Europeana Creative launched the first two Challenges
  • Natural History 
  • History Education 

 Create :
  • A concept or prototype of a web application or app which re-uses digital cultural heritage content accessible through, our collections and infrastructure.
  • A concept or prototype of a web application or app which engages users with digital cultural heritage content.
  • A sustainable, elaborated business model to supplement your product.

Credits : Videos CC BY-SA Europeana Creative

The application phase for the 1st Challenge Event started on February 12, 2014. It ends on March 31, 2014, at Midnight.

Entry Criteria:

You must be a web developer, entrepreneur or creative wizard registered in one of the 28 EU member states

Participants can be a single person, team, company or organisation. 

Each legal entry can send in one application for a challenge theme. 

You should submit your application written in English

For more detailed information on the application please read the Application Guidelines

Need Inspiration for the History Education Challenge? A Few Ideas? Ok, just read here


The best five applications will be invited to a final challenge event to pitch their ideas to representatives from the cultural and creative industries as well as to investors. 

The winner of a category will receive a hands-on Incubation Support Package provided by the project consortium to bring his/her product successfully to the market.

The winners will be expected to deploy a working prototype by the end of July 2014.

The Europeana API allows you to access to most of the collections and incorporate them into things like apps, games, websites, even creating mash-ups using other sources or APIs. The possibilities are endless!

So if you want to apply or simple team up with other creative thinkers your ideas together go on!

True ! You have four days, three hours and some minutes.

But if you have a good idea, don't give up ! You have the time. A brilliant idea starts next minute.

Visit Europeana Creative on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

"We believe in making cultural heritage openly accessible in a digital way, to promote the exchange of ideas and information. This helps us all to understand our cultural diversity better and contributes to a thriving knowledge economy."

Europeana Challenge Team


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Estudantes Lusófonos : Concurso Universitário Internacional Design e Multimédia

De novo em Língua Portuguesa, já que se trata de um evento dedicado a Portugal e Países Lusófonos.

Brevemente é o nome da "IV edição do Concurso Internacional e Universitário de Design e Multimédia"  promovido pelo Centro de Estudos Cinematográficos da Universidade de Coimbra aberto a todos os estudantes de expressão Portuguesa.

O objectivo é estimular a criatividade nas comunidades dos países de língua oficial portuguesa e premiar novos valores no design e multimédia no meio académico lusófono

O evento visa agregar não só os estudantes portugueses mas também permitir que outras comunidades lusófonas tenham a oportunidade de mostrar os seus trabalhos perante outras culturas, suscitando um contacto mais pessoal com a nossa cultura através da comutação de sentido intelectual de cada um.

O sucesso das três anteriores edições fez alterar a do concurso deste ano, de forma a permitir o alargamento da diversidade geográfica e conceptual dos trabalhos a apresentar a concurso.

O Concurso propõe-se a:
  • Estimular a criatividade nas comunidades dos países de língua oficial Portuguesa

  • Descobrir e premiar novos valores no design e multimédia no meio académico lusófono;
  • Estimular a exibição pública de trabalhos realizados por estudantes;
  • Promover a discussão sobre a prática do design e das profissões relacionadas.
Consultar aqui

Datas e Informações:

O envio dos trabalhos e ficha de inscrição devidamente preenchida deverá ser feito até dia 8 Abril 2014 ( alargamento de prazo).

A ficha de inscrição está disponível online aqui

O concurso divide-se em três fases

1ª fase: Os trabalhos são enviados e submetidos a uma pré-selecção, que decorre até 8 de Abril, para depois serem avaliados pelo júri. 

Será feita uma pré-selecção em que o júri se concentra na avaliação dos melhores trabalhos para cada categoria em competição.

2ª fase : Exposição dos trabalhos seleccionados na Casa das Caldeiras da Universidade de Coimbra, de 23 Abril a 8 Maio;

3ª fase: Entrega de Prémios e exibição dos trabalhos vencedores, no Museu da Ciência da Universidade de Coimbra no do 30 Abril.


A consultar aqui


Consultar aqui

Museu da Ciência da Universidade de Coimbra

Nas edições anteriores, foi premiada a criatividade dos trabalhos oriundos de várias partes do mundo lusófono que, de outro modo, teriam apenas ficado restritos às Universidades e Institutos Politécnicos.

Continue atento às notícias ou siga no Facebook ou Twitter

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Education: World Poetry Day 2014

Amendoeiras em flor | Portugal
photo: António Cunha
"Through its words and its rhythm, poetry gives shape to our dreams of peace, justice and dignity, and gives us the strength and desire to mobilize to make them real. "
 Irina Bokova, Director General 

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.
Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.
Over the past 30 years there has been a strong revival of interest in poetry, with a proliferation of poetic activities in the world and an increase in the number of poets.
Usually Poetry Day is celebrated on the same day of Spring equinox. Not in 2014.
In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

Along the years I wrote about Poetry Day and proposed you some activities. Please find Poetry Day 2013 at school or use the search box.
You could celebrate World Poetry Day in your school by learning about poems from different cultures, including from students’ own cultures. 

You can also search about the different poets on UNESCO Celebration of Anniversaries 2014.
Find a poet among those UNESCO is celebrating, specially if you are lucky to have a poet from your country. 
Select some poems and present them to your students to talk about Poetry Day.

Of course you have some activities that Unesco proposes. For example:

  • Support poetry by buying the collections of young poets;
  • Invite your friends to improve both conventional and slam poetry;
  • Learn from the proverbs of your country, and discover the poetic teachings of others;
  • Read up about riddles, limericks and sonnets to liven up your evenings;
  • Fight against the outdated image of poetry;
  • Encourage your kids to read and write their own poetry during family gatherings;
  • Awaken the poet inside of you and impress your friends with your creativity, inventiveness and imagination;
  • Support poetry on radio, in magazine columns and feature films!

  • To us as educators, encouraging our students to read and write their own poetry during our Language lessons is the best way to raise a new generation of poets.

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    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Spring equinox in school

    Porto, Portugal
    photo: unknow

    When daisies pied and violets blue
       And lady-smocks all silver-white
    And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
       Do paint the meadows with delight, (...)

    William Shakespeare, Spring

    Hello ! I am very happy ! Today 20 March, is the first day of Spring 2014. Also known as the vernal equinox. So this year, the 20 March is the first day of spring.

    During an equinox, the Earth’s north and south poles are not tilted toward or away from the sun. This phenomena occurs twice a year: on 20 March and on 22 September.


    Stonehenge one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe, will be open from the start of the equinox at 5:45am until 8:30am, to allow Druids and Pagans to gather and see the sun rise above the ancient stones.

    Druids and Pagans will celebrate the ancient Saxon goddess Eostre, who symbolises fertility and new beginnings.

    photo: Google doodle

    Of course Google could not forget to celebrate the 1st day of spring with one of its famous doodles. I love doodles, you know that ! They are creative and motivate students to get more information about a new subject.

    This spring doodle shows a charming little blobman watering a handful of lovely flowers. 

    20 March is the spring equinox which, in the astronomical system of seasons, is the first day of spring.

    The date the spring and autumn equinoxes fall each year - the days are the ones when day and night are roughly the same length - fluctuates because of the Earth’s orbit around the sun.
    When we talk about the beginning of spring or any other season, we are usually talking about the day in our calendars that mark this date. 
    This refers to the astronomical seasons which are a result of the Earth's axis and orbit around the sun.
    There is a difference between astronomical seasons and meteorological seasons.
    • Astronomical seasons refer to the position of Earth's orbit in relation to the sun taking into account equinoxes and solstices. 
    • Meteorological seasons are instead based on the annual temperature cycle and measure the meteorological state as well as coinciding with the calendar to determine a clear transition between the seasons.
    Since the astronomical seasons vary in length, the start date of a new season can fall on different days each year. 
    This makes it difficult to compare seasons between different years and resulted in the introduction of the meteorological calendar. 
    This splits the calendar into four seasons of approximately the same length. The astronomical seasons run approximately three weeks later than those of the meteorological calendar.
    But let's read NASA explanations about equinoxes:

    Every year, there are two equinoxes. One is in March; the other is in September. 

    In 2014, the March equinox falls on March 20, 2014. On the equinoxes, the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. 

    Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the March equinox is called the spring (or vernal) equinox in the northern hemisphere. But in the southern hemisphere, it's known as the fall (autumnal) equinox. 

    The images show how sunlight fell on the Earth on December 21, 2010 (upper left), and March 20 (upper right), June 21 (lower left), and September 20, 2011 (lower right). Each image was taken at 6:12 a.m. local time. Notice how on March 20 and September 20, the terminator — the divide between day and night — is a straight north-south line, and the Sun is said to sit directly above the equator. 

    Equinox means "equal night" in Latin, capturing the idea that daytime and nighttime are equal lengths everywhere on the planet.

    NASA images and animation by Robert Simmon, using data ©2010 EUMETSAT. Caption by Mike Carlowicz

    Students can read 
    more about the equinoxes and solstices at NASA Observatory.


    Do you need more interesting facts to share with your students ? Spring time, equinoxes, or traditions? 

    Students may do some research about the several themes around Spring time. Of course, the most important is science, but literature can be very interesting if you look for Celtic Literature.

    Curricula: Sciences; Languages

    Level : Primary; Secondary Education.

    Teachers must adapt the activities to every level they are teaching.

    Wishing all a Happy Spring!


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    NASA | Earth Observatory