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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Workbench Offers Good Hands-on STEM Activities

Workbench is a service that offers a huge catalog of hands-on learning activities for students. Last month at the ISTE conference I got to see one of the activities in action. That was a project in which students create and program their own controllers for a Sphero ball. You can see the results of the project in this short Instagram video.

The project that is shown in my video is just one of dozens of hands-on STEM projects for students. Some require electronics and others can be completed with nothing more than soda bottles, paper, or Legos. For example, one of the currently featured projects is this composting activity.

All Workbench projects include a list of required materials and the sequence of steps to guide your students through to completion of the project. Of course, you could also let students figure out the steps they need to take and let them learn a bit more by trial and error.

Try YouTube Live To Reach More Students

Back in May I shared how Tom Richey was using YouTube Live to host AP World History review sessions for students. That's one way to use YouTube Live to help your students. Another way to use YouTube Live is to broadcast and record lessons from your classroom.

As I explained and demonstrated yesterday at the Upstate Technology Conference in South Carolina, you can rather easily broadcast yourself teaching a lesson. Get a cheap tripod for your phone and point it in the direction of where you're standing to give a short lesson. Turn on the YouTube Live broadcast from the YouTube app for iPhone or Android and it starts broadcasting and recording. The recording can then be embedded into your blog or shared in your Google Classroom.


Applications for Education
Broadcasting your lesson can help you reach students who are absent from your class. They can either watch live and ask questions via the Q&A feature of YouTube Live or they can watch the recording later.