Monday, September 5, 2011

EdCamps Everywhere! Find One or Host One

EdCamp is a format for hosting free professional development conferences for educators by educators. The concept is that these free events are organized by volunteers who wish to have a gathering of educators to host a day of discussions and presentations. The discussions and presentations are announced that morning by the people in attendance. If you show up at an EdCamp with a presentation you want to give or a discussion you want to facilitate, put it up on the board and if people want to attend your session, you're on.

There have been EdCamps all over the United States this year and there are still more planned for later this year in the US and around the world. You can see the schedule of upcoming events here.

If you would like to host an EdCamp event in your area, the EdCamp Foundation (a non-profit 501 c 3) has fantastic directions to get you started. They've outlined the steps you should take to secure a venue, secure some sponsorship if necessary, promoting your event, and running the actual event.

The EdCamp Foundation is currently seeking some pro-bono legal and accounting assistance. If you know anyone who would be interested in assisting them in that way, please get in touch with them.

dotSUB - Create and Watch Subtitled Videos

dotSUB is a free video hosting service specializing in enabling users to subtitle any video in any language. dotSUB does not perform the subtitle translations for you (YouTube has some automatic translation options, but they're not that great) rather it simply supports subtitled translations that users create in any language. When you search dotSUB you can refine your searches to the language of your choice. The most popular videos will often have been subtitled into many languages by dotSUB users and you can select your language from a drop-down menu below the video.

Here is What is a Browser? with subtitles in Uzbek.

Applications for Education
A couple of years ago after reading a tip in a post by Wes Fryer I began turning on the English subtitles whenever possible to support struggling readers. The idea is that by having the subtitles on, students can see the spellings of the words they are hearing in the videos. At first the kids groan, but after the initial groaning they get used to it.

You could also use dotSUB in language classes to have students practice writing in the language they are studying. Have them select a favorite video in their native language then subtitle it in the language they are trying to learn to write.

Atlas of Our Changing Environment

The United Nations Environment Program hosts a helpful interactive map displaying more than one hundred examples of environmental change around the world. Each placemark on the map has close-up views of the land and a story about environmental change at that location. For example, clicking on the placemark for Manaus, Brazil will reveal close-up imagery of site and detailed information about the environmental changes taking place. If you click through the links in the placemarks you can find the references used in constructing the information available through the map.

Applications for Education
The Atlas of Our Changing Environment could be a good resource for teachers developing lesson plans about climate change. You could have your students explore the map and select a site that is of interest to them to research in more depth. After conducting their research your students could then develop potential solutions to the problems at their chosen site. Have students present their plans to their classmates to discuss the viability of their proposed solutions.

Inside Islam - What a Billion Muslims Really Think

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. The film is based on the work of Gallup researchers who interviewed tens of thousands of people in 35 predominantly Muslim countries. The researchers asked questions like "What do Muslim women really want?" and "What do Muslims like and dislike about the West?" The film presents the researchers' work to challenge some popular notions and misconceptions about the feelings of Muslims toward the United States. You can find the film here.

Applications for Education
Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think could be a good film for high school social studies teachers. You might considering doing a prior knowledge check before showing the film then afterward have students note how their "knowledge" changed after watching the film.