Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lessons on Colds & Flu

I jinxed myself last week by saying aloud, "this is the first winter in a few years that I haven't gotten sick." Less than a week after saying that I caught an annoying cold. What is a cold? What is the flu? And what are the differences between the two? Those questions and more are answered in the videos embedded below.

How is a cold or flu passed from person to person and what exactly is it doing to your body? NPR answers those questions in the following animated video.

What is ‘flu? - Explania
If you want to use any of these videos in flipped lessons, take a look at the tools featured in my playlist of tutorials on creating flipped lessons.

What's Due Adds What's Seen to Help You Help Students Complete Assignments

WhatsDue is a free service (available for Android and iOS) that enables teachers to create and send due date reminders to their students. Students receive the reminders as push notifications on their iOS and or Android devices. When I've demonstrated WhatsDue over the last year I've noticed that teachers appreciate that WhatsDue is a simple platform that does its job well. The one feature that people have requested more than any other is an option to see if and when your students have looked at their assignments. That feature is now available.

The stats section of the WhatsDue app is where you will find the option to see if your students have looked at their assignments. Open the stats and select a student from your roster. Next to the student's name there is now a box that says "seen."

Applications for Education
If you have been leery of using other reminder systems because of privacy concerns with phone numbers or two-way communication, WhatsDue might be for you. It doesn't require phone numbers and it doesn't have two-way communication. It also allows students to be reminded of assignments on a schedule that works for them. For example, they can set the app to remind them of assignments a day before or a couple of hours before an assignment is due.

Three Tools Students Can Use to Add Annotations to Videos

When we talk about flipped lessons it often involves a lot of heavy lifting on a teacher's part. From finding a video to adding questions to the video, it is a time-consuming process and in the end we're still not always sure if the students actually watched the video or they just guessed at the answers to the questions. One way to flip the standard flipped classroom model is to have students find and annotate videos that then submit to you. The following three tools can be used by students for that purpose.

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.