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Thursday, July 24, 2014

What is Fat? - A Health and Science Lesson

What is Fat? is a TED-Ed lesson that explores the differences between the types of fats that we find in food. The video lesson goes on to explain how hydrogenated fats are created, what the term "partially hydrogenated" means when it is on a nutrition label, and how different fats affect our health. Overall, it's a nice little lesson to use as a flipped lesson in a health class.

Climate Kids - Online and Hands-on Activities for Learning About Climate Change

Climate Kids is NASA's climate change website for kids. On Climate Kids you will find a nice selection of online games and hands-on activities for students. Some of the topics that the Climate Kids online games address include recycling, renewable energy, and climate history.

Some of the hands-on activities featured on Climate Kids include re-purposing old clothing to make re-usable shopping bags, creating your own paper, and garden projects.

Before students jump into the games or hands-on activities featured on Climate Kids students should work through the guided big questions wheel. The guided questions wheel walks students through the basic concepts and issues related to climate change. Six questions are featured in the wheel. Students select a question to discover the answers through the exploration of a series of smaller questions. Each question is addressed with a mix of image, text, and video explanations.

Applications for Education
Climate Kids includes a page for teachers. On that page you can find a directory of resources aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Besides the directory, the page for teachers offers galleries of media that you can use in your climate change lesson plans.

Add an Infographic Design Tool to Your Website With the Canva Button

Canva is a service that makes it easy to create beautiful slides, flyers, posters, infographics, and photo collages. The latest development from Canva is the introduction of Canva Button.

Canva Button will allow owners of websites to add a design tool to their websites. To implement the Canva Button you will have to add some lines of code to your website. In order to do that you will have to be using a self-hosted website or blog.


Applications for Education
Schools or teachers that are self-hosting their websites should be able to add Canva Buttons to their sites in the near future (Canva is slowly rolling out the tool). By adding the Canva Button to your website you will be able to give students access to Canva's great design tools without having to leave your site. Click here for a crowd-sourced list of ideas for using Canva in the classroom.

If adding the Canva Button to your website is not an option, you should still take a look at the Canva design tools.  Creating graphics on Canva is a drag-and-drop process. Start by selecting a template then dragging and dropping into place background designs, pictures, clip art, and text boxes. Canva offers a huge library of clip art and photographs to use in your designs. You can also upload your own images to use in your graphics. Your completed Canva projects can be downloaded as PDF and PNG files. You can also simply link to your online graphic.

Using Google+ Hangouts? You No Longer Need the Plugin In Chrome

Google+ Hangouts can provide teachers and students with some great ways to connect. Teachers can use G+ Hangouts to take students on virtual field trips, to connect with expert speakers, or to connect with other classrooms in a digital penpal environment. Students can use it to connect with each other to host online peer tutoring sessions.

Recently, Google removed the need for the Hangouts plugin in the Chrome web browser. This isn't a major update to Hangouts, but it is a helpful update. As long as you're using the latest version of the Chrome web browser you won't need to install anything to host or participate in a Google+ Hangout.


Watch2Gether Adds Support for Comment Moderation and Additional Video Sources

Watch2Gether is a neat site through which you can watch YouTube videos and host text chats about them at the same time. I've written about the service in the past. Some new features have recently been added that are worth noting.

The first update of note is that you can now use more than just YouTube videos in Watch2Gether. You can now use videos from Vimeo and Dailymotion. If audio is all that you are concerned about sharing, you will be happy to know that Watch2Gether now supports using media from Soundcloud.

The second update, probably the most significant update for teachers, is the option to moderate discussions and ban participants who are not participating appropriately.

It is to start using Watch2gether. To get started enter a nickname for yourself (it could be your real first name) then search for a video or enter the URL of a video that you have previously bookmarked. When you have found the video you want a chat column will be present on the right side of your browser. You can invite others to chat with you by sending them theURL assigned to your chatroom.

Applications for Education
Watch2gether is a nice tool to use to have students share observations, ask questions, and answer questions while watching video clips in your classroom or as part of a flipped lesson they're completing at home.

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