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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Threat of Invasive Species

When you drive into my home state of Maine two of the first signs you'll notice are a sign to watch for moose and a sign banning the importation of firewood. The reason for the moose crossing sign is fairly self-explanatory. The reason for the ban on importing firewood may not be so obvious. Importing firewood is banned because we are trying to prevent the introduction of invasive insects. The part of the explanation of why we're concerned about invasive insects can be found in a TED-Ed lesson titled The Threat of Invasive Species.

The Threat of Invasive Species is a TED-Ed lesson that explains the problems caused when plants and animals are introduced to non-native habitats. The lesson explains how plants and animals get introduced to new environments, what happens when they are introduced to those environments, and what some governments do to try to control invasive species.


Extending the lesson:
TED-Ed lessons include a small selection of multiple choice and short answer questions. You can use the TED-Ed platform and questions as they are written or you could use another platform to develop your own flipped lesson. The following three tools make it easy to develop your own flipped lesson or simply have students record and share notes with you while watching the video lesson.

Using VideoANT anyone can add annotations to any publicly accessible YouTube video. To do this copy the URL of a video and paste it into the VideoANT annotation tool. Then as the video plays click the "add annotation" button when you want to add an annotation. To have others annotate the video with you, send them the VideoANT link. You are the only person that has to have a VideoANT account. Your collaborators do not need to have a VideoANT account to participate in the annotation process with you. Nathan Hall wrote a complete run-down of all of the features of VideoANT. He also posted a how-to video. I recommend reading his post and watching his video here.

Vialogues is a free service that allows you to build online discussions around videos hosted online and videos that you have saved on your computer. Registered users can upload videos to Vialogues or use YouTube videos as the centerpieces of their conversations. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how Vialogues works.



MoocNote is a free tool for adding timestamped comments, questions, and links to videos. To do this on MoocNote you simply paste a link to a YouTube video into the MoocNote editor. Once the video is imported you can start to add your comments, questions, and links. The link features is particularly useful for providing students with additional resources for learning about the topics covered in your shared videos. MoocNote allows you to organize playlists (MoocNote calls them courses) of videos according to topics that you identify. MoocNote could be a good tool for high school teachers who want to organize playlists of videos for their students and add some clarifying information to those videos. You could also have students use MoocNote to annotate videos to demonstrate an understanding of the topic at hand.