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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Learn English With Next Vista for Learning - Or Help Others Learn

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley, the founder of the non-profit Next Vista for Learning.

Are you trying to learn another language? It can be hard to find good videos that are available for free to help, particularly if you're trying to learn English, as businesses know there is a huge opportunity with the market of many millions of people wanting to learn the language. Large numbers of those learning English, however, don't have money to pay for access to video libraries.

On the thought that creating hundreds of short videos would be helpful to students around the world, NextVista.org is building a free collection centered on sets of vocabulary items. Here's the word "predict" from the Discussion Terms set:


For something easier, consider this video from the Days of the Week set:


Note that each video is part of a pair, with one subtitled for those needing the extra help of watching what is said.

Using the link below, you can share Next Vista's English Language Project with those teaching English as a Second Language at your school. If you and/or your students are interested in getting involved in creating sets of videos to help with this effort, use the contact link on the page to let them know.

Learn more at: http://www.nextvista.org/projects/elp/

Why We Feel Attached to Our Stuff - A TED-Ed Lesson

A few years ago I realized that somewhere along the line I started to collect coffee mugs. I never set out to collect coffee mugs, it just kind of happened. Now I have a few favorite mugs that I won't part with even as I start packing my house (I sold it last month) and have to whittle down my collection. Why do I feel connected to these coffee mugs when plenty of others would hold my morning brew just as well? The answer to that question can be found in the TED-Ed lesson Why Are We So Attached To Our Things?

In this lesson students can learn how Piaget discovered that our feelings of attachment to objects happens at an early age. Students will also learn about the role that culture plays in forming attachments to objects. The video is embedded below and the complete lesson can be found here.

How to Use Pixiclip to Create Instructional Videos

Pixiclip is a free tool for creating simple instructional videos. I featured it in the Practical Ed Tech newsletter a couple of weeks ago and a handful of people replied to me with questions about it. To answer those questions I recorded the video that is embedded below.


A few things to note about Pixiclip before you start using it. First, it seems to have some problems recording correctly on Surface Pro tablets. Second, make sure that you enable access to your computer's microphone before you start recording or you will have to re-record. Third, there is not an option to edit your video within Pixiclip.

Applications for Education
Pixiclip could be a good tool to use to create short instructional videos to share with your students. I like that it has a five minute time limit. Any whiteboard-style instructional video is likely to becoming boring after five minutes. It's better to have three short videos than one long video.

Your students can use Pixiclip to create videos to demonstrate that they understand how to solve a math problem. Have them explain the process while showing it on the screen. They can then share the links to their videos with you through a number of channels including Google Classroom.

Pixiclip is the tenth tool that I'm adding to my list of good tools for creating videos on Chromebooks.