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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Database of the Best Commencement Speeches, Ever

NPR recently published a database of the best commencement speeches, ever. The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever has an index of 316 commencement speeches. The speeches are listed alphabetically by speaker's first name. Instead of searching by speaker's name you can search according to theme, school, or date. A transcript for each speech is available. Videos are available for many of the speeches. One of my favorite speeches, from Bill Cosby, is embedded below.


Applications for Education
It's probably a little late for this year, but for future years NPR's The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever could be a good source of inspiration for crafting graduation messages to share with students.

H/T to Open Culture.

Putting Your Google Jockeys to Work

One of the things that I often mention in my keynote presentations is the idea that it in the age of Google it is increasingly difficult to be the content area expert. Many of our students can be described as "Google jockeys." They're the students that Google everything they hear. While the habit can be a distraction, it can also be leveraged for good in your classroom.

I first discovered the term Google Jockey when I read Curtis Bonk's The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. In The World Is Open I came across the idea for having a "Google Jockey" in my classroom. The idea is that you have one or two students in the room who are responsible for looking up terms or phrases that come up during the course of classroom discussion. Combining the use of a back channel along with a Google Jockey could become a good avenue for drilling deeper into the content of the day's lesson.

Three Good Places to Find Fun, Hands-on Science and Technology Lessons

Some of our most memorable learning experiences happen during hands-on lessons. The biology and chemistry lessons that I remember best involved doing something, not just observing something. Here are three good places to find hands-on science and technology lessons to try with your students.

For fun and educational hands-on science and technology projects I also recommend checking out the dozens of pages of projects listed on the projects section of Makezine.com. Whether you're looking for a fun learning activity to do at home with your kids or you're looking for a classroom project that will spark your students' creativity and imagination, Make Projects has something for you.

DIY.org is a neat website on which kids can find dozens of DIY projects that they can do on their own or with their parents. DIY.org provides videos and instructions on how to do the projects. After going through the directions kids then try to complete the project. When they've completed the project they can take a picture and upload it to their DIY.org portfolios. Kids can share examples of their projects through DIY.org. Kids cannot register on DIY.org without a parent's permission. Parents have their own DIY.org dashboards that they can use to track the activities of their children. Children registered on DIY.org have aliases and cartoon avatar pictures.

Scifun.org, written by a University of Wisconsin chemistry professor, features twenty-five fun and safe science experiments that can be performed with household items. The experiments introduce students to basic chemistry concepts through fun, hands-on activity. The experiments on Science is Fun are probably most appropriate for use with students in the fourth through ninth grade. In addition to providing detailed directions for conducting each experiment, Science is Fun provides an explanation of the chemistry at work in each experiment. Complementing the experiments are easy-to-understand explanations of many chemicals and elements on the periodic table. 

eduClipper Releases an Improved Website and Updated iOS App

eduClipper has released a new version of their popular web tool and iOS app. The updated site and app retain all of the great features we've come to enjoy about eduClipper while improving the look and feel of the service.

When you visit the latest version of the eduClipper website you will notice a new look to your boards. All clips are now the same size. The uniformity of the clip size along with increased spacing between clips makes clipboards easier to view and explore.

The latest version of the eduClipper iOS app has been designed to work the same way on iPads and iPhones. This update means that you can now create whiteboard videos on any device running iOS 7.

Support for importing content from Dropbox has been added to eduClipper too. If you're having students use eduClipper to create digital portfolios, the Dropbox integration could be helpful to them.

Disclosure: I am an advisor to eduClipper with a very small equity stake in the company.

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