Monday, July 21, 2008

A Portal to Media Literacy - Presented by Michael Wesch

Michael Wesch is a Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University. Over the last couple of years Dr. Wesch and his students have produced some fantastic videos about today's students, the changing culture of today's students, and how those cultural changes should impact classroom instruction. I've featured Dr. Wesch's most well known video, A Vision of Students Today, on this blog in the past. Today, I'd like to share with you a video of a lecture that Dr. Wesch recently gave at the University of Manitoba. The video is long, about an hour, but as Liz Davis who tipped me off to the video via Twitter said, "worth every minute."

Snag a Free Full - Length Documentary

Snag Films is a new website featuring full length, high quality, well known documentaries. Documentaries from National Geographic and Nova can be watched for free on Snag Films as well as documentaries from independent film makers. Currently, Snag Films is featuring Super Size Me on their home page. The "snagging" part of Snag Films lies in the option to share the documentaries by embedding them into your blog, website, or social network profile for free. Below I've embedded Whales in Crisis produced by National Geographic.

Applications for Education
Snag Films is great for teachers because it makes many documentaries available for free and on demand. You don't have to go searching through your school library, rummaging through your department's storage closet, or spend any of your limited budget on a film that you may only use a few times per year.
Snag Films presents a solution to a problem I always run into when showing a documentary in class. The problem is every time I show a documentary in class, there seems to be one or two absent students who then need to watch the film either after school or in the viewing room in the library. By embedding the documentary into your class blog or website (you did set one up this summer, right?) those students who were absent the day the class watched the film can now watch it any time from any computer.

Track Hurricanes With Your Students

Autumn in North America brings hurricane season and "back to school" season. Just in time for hurricane season and the start of school, Tropical Atlantic has created a series of Google Earth files for hurricane tracking. If you're looking for files and information about tracking other storms, visit the collection featured on the Google Earth Blog.

Applications for Education
Using Google Earth to look at the path of hurricanes and other storms is one way to bring current news into the science classroom. The start of school coincides with hurricane season which presents teachers with a great opportunity to introduce students to the workings of Google Earth while teaching lessons about hurricanes and tropical storms.