Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Snag Learning Adds More Films

Snag Learning, the education division of Snag Films that launched in August, contacted me today to say that they now have 275 films in their collection. Snag Learning offers access to most of the same films available on Snag Films. Snag Learning categorizes documentaries by grade level and content area. Additionally, Snag Learning offers a series of guiding questions for each film. You can embed previews of each video into your blog, but you have to watch the full-length versions on Snag Learning.

Applications for Education
Snag Learning is a good resource for teachers who would like to use high-quality documentaries in their classrooms, but don't have the funds to purchase DVDs. Snag Learning also solves the problem that arises when you show a documentary to a class when a student is absent. Rather than having to lend out a valuable copy of the DVD you can direct the student returning from an absence to watch the film on Snag Learning. 

If you would like some other good sources of educational videos, check out
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom.

Rescuing the Miners - Meet the Miners

Earlier this today I shared the video from CNN Student News about the rescue of the miners trapped in the collapsed mine in Chile. This afternoon I came across another interesting resource from CNN. Rescuing the Miners is a diagram depicting the depth of the mine and the dimensions of the rescue shaft drilled to reach the miners. The diagram puts the depth of the mine into perspective by comparing it to the height of famous structures like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.

What is really interesting about Rescuing the Miners is the short biographies posted about each miner. Click on one of miner's pictures to learn a little about him.

Applications for Education
Rescuing the Miners could be a good resource for showing students the depth of the mine. It could also be useful for giving a personal voice to the news stories your students read about the rescue of the miners.

Experiment With Sounds on Incredibox

Incredibox is a neat website that allows you to create unique rhythms and sounds from drag-and-drop menu. The sounds in the menus are recordings of a Bobby McFerrin-like artist making "human beat box" sounds. You can experiment with different sound loops, choruses, and instrumental sounds to create your own unique sound loops.

To use Incredibox just head over to the website, select the English or French version, then start mixing sounds by dragging from the menu to the "people field." Every time you add a new sound a new person appears in the screen. Click a person to delete the sound he represents.

Thanks to David Kapuler for sharing this link.

Applications for Education
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a way to download the sound loops you create on Incredibox. That said, it could still be a good resource for students to use to experiment with rhythms and sounds in an introduction to music course.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
5 Resources for Creating and Hosting Podcasts
Myna - Free Online Audio Mixer
Free Guide - Making Videos on the Web

5 Resources for Learning SAT Vocabulary

Today, all of the sophomores and juniors in my school are taking the PSAT. That got me thinking about some of the many resources designed to help students learn PSAT and SAT vocabulary that I've come across over the last few years. Here are five resources worth checking out.

Vocab Ahead is a great service offering hundreds of videos designed to help students learn SAT and ACT vocabulary words. Each video features a narrator pronouncing the word, reading the definition, and then reading a sentence or two using the vocabulary word. An animated drawing accompanies each sentence to illustrate the meaning of each word and sentence. You can watch the Vocab Ahead videos individually or in a continuous stream. All of the Vocab Ahead videos can be viewed directly on their website or you can embed the Vocab Ahead widget into your own blog or website.

Vocab Ahead also gives teachers the ability to create custom playlists of vocabulary videos. The playlists can be shared via email, a posted link on a blog, or by posting a vocabulary video widget on a blog or website.

Bubba Brain is a simple site packed with review games for students preparing for the SAT and AP exams. Bubba Brain also has some games for elementary and middle school subjects. The games all use the same format of giving a definition and asking students to find the word or term that it matches. Once a correct match is made, a new definition appears on the "back" of the answer to the previous definition.

Vocab Sushi is designed to help students prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, and more. When you register for an account, Vocab Sushi will ask you which test you are preparing for. Based upon the test for which you're preparing, Vocab Sushi will give you a short (20 question) quiz to evaluate your current skills. Then based on your score, Vocab Sushi will generate a list of words for you to learn.

EduFire is a tutoring service offering live video lessons. EduFire charges for the video lessons, but they do have a good selection of flashcards that students can access for free. There are many decks of flashcards designed for SAT and other standardized test preparation. Students can also access flashcards designed for developing and practicing foreign language comprehension.

Flashcards, either online or physical, still seem to be one of the preferred methods of studying vocabulary words. Flashcard Flash is a handy little search engine designed for one purpose, helping you find sets of flashcards. Flashcard Flash was built using Google Custom Search. Flashcard Flash searches twenty-two different flashcard services including Flashcard DB, Quizlet, and Study Stack all of which I've previously reviewed and found to be excellent services.

CNN Student News - Chile Mine Rescue

As of the time of this writing, eight miners have been rescued from the collapsed mine in Chile. If you're planning to talk about the story in your classroom this morning, CNN Student News has a good segment about process of getting the miners out of the mine. Watch the video below.

Don't forget, CNN Student News provides discussion guides and PDF maps to accompany each story.