Thursday, August 25, 2011

SchoolTube 9/11 Memoriam Video Contest

SchoolTube, one of my favorite alternatives to YouTube, is currently hosting a student video contest. The contest asks students to produce a short one to three minute video about emotions, sense of unity, and perseverance of the American spirit that were provoked by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The video must include at least one on-camera interview. Entries are due by September 7. The winning entrant will receive an iPod Touch.

Applications for Education
Earlier today I wrote about the Story Corps Great Questions Lists. That list could be useful for crafting the on-camera interview for a student's entry into SchoolTube's 9/11 Memoriam Video Contest. Creating videos for this contest could be a great way to get your students to ask their parents, grandparent, and other adults in their lives about their 9/11 experiences and memories. Even if your students can't enter in time for the contest, the idea of having students interview others about 9/11 could still be used in your lessons about September 11, 2011.

Thinking About QR Codes and How to Make Them

QR Code for this blog
Today while I was driving from my old house to my new house (something I've done at least ten times this week in an attempt to get myself settled before school starts tomorrow) I got to thinking about QR codes. I wrote about QR codes last month when I shared Russel Tarr's QR Treasure Hunt Generator. At the time I was so focused on the idea of getting students up and physically active that I totally overlooked the biggest benefits of an activity like a QR Code Treasure is that when students scan a QR code and access the information they then have a highly portable record of information. That portable record can go anywhere they take their phones.

Applications for Education
I create all of my documents including study sheets for my students using Google Documents. In that past I have made those documents public and posted them on my classroom blog. This fall I'll continue to do that, but I think I will also create a QR code for those documents so that students can have quick portable access to the study guide. I'm using QR Droid to create QR codes by simply entering the URL of the page for which I want a QR code generated.

Great Interview Questions List Generator

Last night I had the pleasure of interview Wesley Fryer about his new ebook Playing With Media (full disclosure he gave me free access for review). The interview will be published next week after I have some time to edit it. One of the things that I told Wesley during the interview is that even though I look at hundreds of tech tools every month, I still found some new-to-me things in his ebook. One of those great new-to-me things that I found in his ebook is Story Corps's Great Questions Lists and Great Questions Generator.

The Great Questions Lists and Great Questions Generator provide you with excellent questions that you can use when interviewing people about their lives or about the lives' of others. The Great Questions Lists is just a list of questions that you can select on your own. The Great Questions Generator will help you select the best questions for the person or people you're planning to interview.

Applications for Education
I remember a couple of times that one of my English and or Social Studies teachers had my class interview a parent, grandparent, or community member. I'm sure there are plenty of teachers who still do that. The Story Corps Great Questions List could provide students with a framework for questions for those interviews.

On a related note, here is the latest animated story from Story Corps. It's a about a fearsome Sunday School teacher. I think you'll enjoy it.

Classtools Fakebook - Create a Fictitious Facebook Page

Last month I shared a post about three ways students can create fake Facebook profiles for historical characters. Here's another way that you can do the same. has a free tool that students can use to generate and share fake facebook pages. The ninety second video here provides a good overview of how it works.

Applications for Education
Creating a fake Facebook profile could be a fun way for students to organize information that they know and or find about a famous person. You could also have students create profiles for characters in a novel that they are reading for your literature course.

Remembering September 11 - Resources from Pearson

Last week I highlighted some National Geographic resources about September 11. Yesterday, I learned about some free lesson resources from Pearson on the topic of September 11. The Pearson Online Learning Exchange has a set of multimedia timelines for teaching about September 11. There are two basic timelines. One timeline is devoted to the events that took place on September 11, 2001. The other timeline is designed to provide before and after context to students.

Applications for Education
There is a section for K-5 lessons and a section for 6-12 lessons. Each section has teaching guides that you can download or view online. The lesson plans that I looked through were fairly substantial in their breadth and depth. The lesson plans are designed around thought and analysis rather than just simple regurgitation of information which often seems to be the case with pre-made lesson plans.