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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Duckie Deck - 125 Educational Games for Toddlers

Duckie Deck is a nice educational games site that Rushton Hurley mentioned in a recent Next Vista newsletter. Each of the games is ad-free and is designed to help children learn something new or practice a skill. You'll find games for learning about potty training, kitchen appliances, and brushing your teeth. You'll also find games for practicing counting and games for learning the alphabet. Duckie Deck offers 125 games in all.


Applications for Education
I've looked at a lot of games sites over the years. Duckie Deck is better than most because it is ad-free and the games are clear and easy to follow. If you're looking for some games to help toddlers learn some early skills, browse through Duckie Deck.

Vatican City Explained

The recent selection of a new Pope probably made some of your students wonder how a Pope is chosen and why Vatican City is a country. CGP Grey explained the first item in February. Today, he released a new video explaining Vatican City. As usual the video is fast-paced so you'll probably need to watch it a couple of times to catch everything in it.


Ten Good Video Sources for Social Studies Students and Teachers

Yesterday, I published a post about Ten Good Video Sources for Science Students and Teachers. Part two in this series of posts is Ten Good Video Sources for Social Studies Students and Teachers. As a Social Studies teacher, I have used all but one of these sources in my classroom at least once and most of them I've used multiple times.

The first source that came to mind when I started to think about this list is Keith Hughes's Hip Hughes History videos. Because of his quality work Keith was recognized as a YouTube EDU Guru last fall. Hip Hughes History is a series of short, upbeat lectures on topics in US History and World History. The videos are produced by Keith Hughes, a high school history teacher in Buffalo, New York. Keith has produced more than 200 videos. His section on US History for Dummies is a must-bookmark.

Dan Izzo has uploaded more than 3,000 videos to his YouTube channel. I've featured a bunch of the videos from this channel in the past. On this channel you will find a lot of short (2-5 minute) US History and World History videos. Most of the history videos on this channel are overviews of eras or major topics in history. The channel does not have much organization and videos on topics outside of history are mixed-in so you will have to use the search function to find gems that you can use.

PBS Video is my favorite place to find high quality documentaries. As a teacher of U.S. History I'm partial to the American Experience videos, but there are many other good programs available through PBS Video. Most of the videos on PBS Video can be embedded into your blog or website.

Crash Course, which I mentioned as a source of science videos, also offers excellent videos on U.S. History and World History. The videos are fast-paced ten to twelve minute overviews of major concepts and themes. One of World History videos that I've featured before is The Dark Ages... How Dark Were They, Really?

On Timelines.tv you can find six timelines of important eras in U.S. and European history. Each timeline includes short (3-10 minute) videos about people and events in the era. The timelines also include pictures and short text descriptions. The six timelines currently available are A History of Britain, The American West, Medicine Through Time, American Voices, The Edwardians, and Nazi Germany. More timelines appear to planned for publication in the future.

Gooru is a service that aims to provide teachers and students with an extensive collection of videos, interactive displays, documents, diagrams, and quizzes for learning about topics in math, social studies, and science. As a Gooru member you have access to hundreds of resources according to subject areas such as social studies, chemistry, biology, ecology, algebra, calculus, and more. Within each subject area you can look for resources according to media type such as video, interactive display, slides, text, and lesson plans. When you find resources that you want to use, drag them to the resources folder within your account. Gooru also offers you the option to add resources to your folders even if you did not find them within Gooru.

 C.G.P. Grey produces all kinds of interesting and educational videos. Some of the videos are a bit too cheeky for some classrooms, but most of them are acceptable for classroom use. Some of the recent videos on the channel are Vatican City Explained and Can Texas Secede from the Union?

The U.S. National Archives YouTube channel offers a mixed bag of videos that include everything from old propaganda films like this one to lectures from historians to short lessons about items in the National Archives.

The Smithsonian has many channels on YouTube. The one that I want to highlight is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History YouTube channel. Here you will find playlists about the museum, its exhibits, and short lessons based on the work of the museum.

History for Music Lovers is a great place to find music videos about dozens of topics in World History. The videos are set to the music of popular songs with the lyrics changed to tell the stories of things like The French Revolution, The Crusades, and William the Conqueror. The images in the videos come from a mix of movies, music videos, and documentaries.

21 Reasons to Stop Saying "21st Century Teacher"

This afternoon I saw a blog post titled 27 Ways To Be A 21st Century Teacher. 22 of the 27 items in that list could have been 50 years ago. And 24 of the 27 items are things that I did as a sixth grade student in 1990 (yes, I coded thanks to Logo Writer). Because of this I Tweeted the following in response to seeing the list;

A couple of people asked me about this Tweet so please allow me to elaborate on why I'm tired of people saying "21st Century Teacher" as if it means something.

1. We live in the 21st Century. If you're teaching today, you're a 21st Century teacher.
2. We live in the 21st Century. Even if you're using older methods (some of which have a lot of validity) you're still a 21st Century teacher unless you're going 88.8 miles per hour in a DeLorean to get to work every morning.
3. Unless you plan on teaching for another 87 years, you're not going to be a 22nd Century teacher so don't try to be all curve-jumping. Again, exceptions made for people commuting in a DeLorean at 88.8mph.
4. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
5. "Teacher 2.0" is just as silly as 21st Century Teacher. I hope that there are more than two iterations of your teaching methods. Even my best lessons have had half a dozen or more versions, sometimes in the same day.
6. No one worth impressing is impressed by "21st Century teacher."
7. A century is a long time.
8. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
9. We live in the 21st Century. Even if you're using older methods (some of which have a lot of validity) you're still a 21st Century teacher unless you're going 88.8 miles per hour in a DeLorean to get to work every morning.
10. Unless you plan on teaching for another 87 years, you're not going to be a 22nd Century teacher so don't try to be all curve-jumping. Again, exceptions made for people commuting in a DeLorean at 88.8mph.
11. Good teachers have always consulted with other teachers. Twitter didn't invent professional learning networks, personal learning networks, or professional learning groups.
12. Good teachers have always been life-long learners looking to bring new information into their classrooms. Google didn't invent that.
13. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
14. No one worth impressing is impressed by "21st Century teacher."
15. A century is a long time. Do you plan to put "21st Century teaching methods" on your resume 15 years from now? That's like putting "proficient in MS Word and PowerPoint" on your resume today.
16. Even if you use every modern technology available to you in your classroom and call yourself a "21st Century teacher" it doesn't mean your students are benefitting from it.
17. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
18. Writing or saying "21st Century Teacher" is meaningful if you're trying to help someone win at Buzzword Bingo.
19. Unless you plan on teaching for another 87 years, you're not going to be a 22nd Century teacher so don't try to be all curve-jumping. Again, exceptions made for people commuting in a DeLorean at 88.8mph.
20. "Teacher 2.0" is just as silly as 21st Century Teacher. I hope that there are more than two iterations of your teaching methods. Even my best lessons have had half a dozen or more versions, sometimes in the same day.
21. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 13, and 17.

Before you jump in with your angry comment, remember this is mostly tongue-in-cheek. I do want people to use technology and effective modern methods in their instruction. But I do hope that we slow down and think about the meaning of the buzzwords we hear before repeating them.

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