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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Science of Autumn

This Friday is the Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere. The changing leaves, the cooler air, and the earlier sunsets are just part of science of autumn. Here are some resources for teaching and learning about the sights and sounds of autumn.

To help students understand why the leaves change colors in the fall, the Maine Forest Service has an animated video explaining why leaves change colors. The video is titled Maine's Autumn Magic and you can watch it here.

Although they're not as informative as the resource above, National Geographic has a couple of nice photo galleries of fall foliage. Click here for a small gallery of images from Acadia National Park. Click here for a gallery of images from the Adirondack Park.

Untamed Science offers a good, partially animated, explanation of why leaves change colors, what produces the colors, and why bright and sunny days are best for viewing red leaves. The video is embedded below.


Autumnal Colors is a short video produced by Thomas Rasel. The two minute video highlights the sights and sounds of autumn. A bugling elk and a squirrel preparing for winter are a couple of the sights and sounds included in the video.


Autumn from Thomas Rasel on Vimeo.


Autumn Stars and Planets is a short PBS video that explains why the stars and planets that we see from Earth change with the seasons. The video is embedded below.


Reactions, a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society, offers a nice video about the chemistry involved in the process of leaves changing color. The videos explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees help reveal the reds, yellows and, browns of fall foliage.



SciShow Kids offers the following video about the science of changing leaves.

ClassClimate Updated to Remove Need for Student Email Addresses

Last week I reviewed a new service called ClassClimate that lets your students record and share with your how they feel in your classroom. My one criticism of the service was that it required students to have email addresses. ClassClimate responded to me on Monday with an update that they have removed the requirement for students to have email addresses.

ClassClimate now lets your students record how they feel by just going to a unique URL assigned to your teacher account. This new option is called "Speed Read." Just share your unique URL and then your students can take enter their feelings without any registration necessary.

How to Launch Kahoot Challenges

Challenge mode is one of the key features of the new Kahoot mobile app. Challenge mode lets students play your Kahoot quiz games even when they aren't in your classroom. When Challenge mode is used students see your quiz questions and the answer choices on the same screen on their mobile phones.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Kahoot's new Challenge mode.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Reminder - YouTube Is Removing Its Photo Slideshow Tool

In June it was announced that YouTube was going to remove its Photo Slideshow tool in September. It's now September and on Wednesday the Photo Slideshow tool will disappear. Additionally, some of the editing tools for cutting and splicing videos are being removed from the YouTube editor. Here are some alternative tools to consider using in place of the tools that are being removed from YouTube.

YouTube Photo Slideshow Alternatives:
StupeflixSharalike, and Animoto all let you import a batch of pictures and add music to quickly create an audio slideshow. Animoto and Stupeflix both let you add text over your images while Sharalike does not. Sharalike, however, allows for much longer videos than Animoto and Stupeflix will create. Sharalike and Animoto offer iOS and Android apps while Stupeflix does not. Finally, Animoto and Stupeflix offer free education versions for teachers.

Basic Video Editing:
iOS and MacOS users have access to iMovie for free now. If you're looking for a video editor for your students to use on iPads or Macs, iMovie is more than adequate for the vast majority of classroom projects.

Windows users can still use Windows Movie Maker. Microsoft is not officially supporting it on Windows 10, but you can still download it and use it on Windows 10 computers. But later this year Microsoft will be releasing Story Remix which is essentially the replacement for Movie Maker. This video provides a preview of Story Remix.

Chromebook users and those who cannot install software should look into Adobe Spark and WeVideo. Adobe Spark is free to use. You can upload images and videos to use in your final product. Adobe Spark will let you record narration on a scene-by-scene basis by simply holding a record button while you talk. I have some tutorials on Adobe Spark that you can watch here and here.

WeVideo offers a robust web-based video editing tool that rivals the features you can find in iMovie. The limitation of WeVideo is that in order to access its best features like voiceover, green screen, and high resolution production you will have to purchase a subscription. School pricing starts at $199/ year for 30 seats.

Using Augmented Reality to Learn Nouns and Verbs

Metaverse is a great platform for creating your own augmented reality games and activities. Through the Metaverse Studio anyone can program an augmented reality experience without having any prior coding or programming knowledge. With Metaverse Studio you can build and publish an augmented reality game to accomplish many learning objectives. A great example of this is the Nouns and Verbs game that Marty Cryer published in the Metaverse Teachers Facebook group.

Marty's Nouns and Verbs game starts with an introduction in which students choose to learn more about either nouns or verbs. After making a selection students are prompted to watch a short video that refreshes their memories about nouns and verbs. If students try to fast-forward through the video, they are prompted to go back and watch it before they can proceed in the game. After watching the video students use their phones to take pictures that represent either a verb or a noun. The game will tell students if their pictures are representative of nouns or verbs.

You can try Marty Cryer's Nouns and Verbs game by clicking here. If you're reading this on a laptop computer, you will be prompted to use your mobile device to view the game. You can choose to have the link sent to you in a text message. You will also need to have the Metaverse app installed on either your Android phone or iPhone.

Disclosure: Metaverse is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com