Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Send Tech Support Care Packages

Yesterday, Google launched a site designed to help you help your family with their tech questions. Through Teach Parents Tech you can send your mother, father, or other family member an email containing videos teaching them how to do things like copy and paste, change screen savers, create passwords, create email signatures, crop images, and get directions. As you might expect, the videos direct viewers to Google products but they're still useful. To send one of these "care packages" just fill out the form on Teach Parents Tech.

Applications for Education
While Teach Parents Tech was designed with helping your parents in mind, it could also be handy for those of us who often receive requests for help with the types of things addressed by the videos on Teach Parents Tech.

Video - Project Based Learning Explained

The Buck Institute for Education, a service I've used in the past for ideas about teaching economics (this is the activity I used), recently commissioned Common Craft to create a video explaining project based learning. In typical Common Craft style, the video explains BIE's essential elements of project based learning. Watch the video below.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo.

Applications for Education
This video could be helpful to pre-service teachers trying to get a grasp on the concepts and purposes of project based learning. As mentioned above, I've used some BIE materials in the past for teaching economics, but their work isn't limited to economics. You can find their free PBL materials here.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Economics Lessons Using Planet Money Podcasts
Captains of Industry - Economics Simulation Game
Interactive Bills and the History of the US Mint

What's in the Super Book of Web Tools for Educators?

In my excitement over releasing The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators I left out posting a table of contents separate from the document. Here's a quick overview of what's inside and who wrote what:

  • Introduction:                            pages 2-3    George Couros 
  • An Administrator's View:       pages 4-7     Patrick Larkin
  • Elementary School:                 pages 8-25   Kelly Tenkely
  • Middle School:                       pages 26-35  Adam Bellow
  • High School:                           pages 36-42  Richard Byrne
  • ESL/ELL:                               pages 43-46  Larry Ferlazzo
  • Teaching Online:                    pages 47-50  Cory Plough
  • Connect Via Skype:                pages 51-61  Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
  • Elementary School Blogging: pages 62-65  Lee Kolbert
  • Alternative Ed Tech:               pages 66-68  Beth Still
  • Social Media for Educators:    pages 69-71  Steven Anderson
Thank you for all of the positive feedback we've all received in the first 24 hours since The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators was released. Please share it, print it, and use it to betterment of your classrooms and schools. And feel free to contact the contributors for with comments and questions, we're here to help. 

Ascent - 29 Years of Shuttle Launch Videos

Ascent is an incredible video, produced by NASA engineer Matt Melis, documenting 29 years of space shuttle launches. The video is narrated by Melis and another NASA employee, Kevin Burke. Not only is the footage spectacular, but you also learn a lot about the technical aspects of shuttle launches. Through the use of high speed, high definition cameras NASA has captured minute details of the launch. Watch the video and learn what happens in each stage of the launch, including the answer to a question that I always had, "what happens to the boosters after launch?" Watch the video at the 40:25 mark to see a neat little "Easter egg" in the shuttle.

H/T to Open Culture.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Put NASA TV on Your Desktop
NASA Space Place - Where Science is Fun!
Moonbase Alpha - NASA's Role Playing Game

Last Chance to Vote for 2010 Edublog Awards

At midnight (EST) tonight the polls will close on the 2010 Edublog Awards. Once again, there are many excellent nominees in all of the categories. Looking through the lists of nominees I found a few blogs that I add to my RSS reader right away. If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate your vote in the categories in which Free Technology for Teachers was nominated.

Best Individual Blog
Best Resource Sharing Blog
Best Educational Technology Support Blog
Lifetime Achievement
(When looking for Free Technology for Teachers on the lists, please note that they left the "s" off at the end of teachers).

School Lunches & Health Care

Today's episode of CNN Student News leads off with a segment about new school lunch policies enacted by President Obama. The policies, part of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, will give the federal government more control over what is sold in public school cafeterias.

The second story of the day is about a federal judge's ruling that the "individual mandate" of requiring all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 is beyond "the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution."

I'll be using both of these stories in my Civics class today. We'll be discussing the question, "how much involvement in your day-to-day life should the federal government have?"

Watch the video below or click here for the video, transcript, and discussion questions.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Cool Food Kidz Teaches Kids About Diet & Fitness
A Colorado Middle School Cuts Lunches
Don't Eat Lunch Alone