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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Keep Kids Active With GoNoodle or Sworkit Kids

GoNoodle is a free service that is designed to promote physical fitness in a fun environment. GoNoodle features tons of free videos that lead students in short, 2-5 minutes, exercises. These are fun exercises like dancing that can be done in your classroom or at home with parents. GoNoodle provides an online environment in which students track the minutes that they spend exercising. Students choose avatars to represent themselves in the GoNoodle environment. New avatars are available once a student completes enough activity time to reach a new level. Learn more about GoNoodle in the videos below.


Sworkit Kids is a similar app (Android version, iOS version) that will also help you get your students moving for short exercise breaks. Sworkit Kids doesn't have animated videos like GoNoodle does. Sworkit Kids simply features short video demonstrations of a movement like diagonal hopping accompanied by a countdown timer.

Applications for Education
As the new school year gets underway you may find yourself looking for new exercise and "brain break" activities that you can do right in your classroom. If that's the case for you, GoNoodle or Sworkit Kids could be the tool for you.

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.

A Good Lesson on Hurricanes

The Atlantic hurricane season season is here and It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS) has a new video lesson about hurricanes. By watching Hurricanes: Engines of Destruction you can learn how the Coriolis effect influences the direction in which hurricanes rotate, the role of heat in hurricane formation, and the origin of the word hurricane. The video is embedded below, but you should also take a look at the video on YouTube to access the reference materials used in the creation of the video.


Try one of the following tools to build a flipped lesson around this video.

Vizia is a free tool for creating video-based quizzes. On Vizia you an import a video from YouTube or from Wistia and then add questions along the timeline of the video. You can ask multiple choice questions as well as short answer/ open-response questions. Adding a poll question into the video is also a possibility in Vizia. All of the responses to your questions are collected in a spreadsheet that you can download and or open in Google Sheets. When you create a Vizia video quiz you have the option to require that viewers enter their names and email addresses before they begin. Alternatively, you could make the first question in the video a prompt to enter a name.

VideoNotes is a neat tool for taking notes while watching videos. VideoNotes allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen VideoNotes gives you a notepad to type on. VideoNotes integrates with your Google Drive account. By integrating with Google Drive VideoNotes allows you to share your notes and collaborate on your notes just as you can do with a Google Document. You can use VideoNotes to have students submit questions to you and each other while watching videos. Of course, you can insert questions into the conversation for your students to answer too.

EDPuzzle is a neat tool that allows you to add your voice and text questions to educational videos. On EDpuzzle you can search for educational videos and or upload your own videos to use as the basis of your lesson. EDpuzzle has an online classroom component that you can use to assign videos to students and track their progress through your video lessons. Within EDPuzzle's editor you can select portions of videos for students to watch. EDPuzzle offers the option to share your videos to Google Classroom.