Monday, January 7, 2013

C-SPAN StudentCam Video Contest Deadline Nears

C-SPAN is once again hosting a video documentary contest for students. The contest is open to middle school and high school students. To enter the contest students need to create a documentary video, 5-8 minutes in length, about "the most important issue the president should consider in 2013." The deadline for entries is January 18, 2013. There is $50,000 in prizes available.

The documentary that students produce must include some C-SPAN footage. C-SPAN has provided a gallery of downloadable footage here. Students can work individually or in teams of up to three members. Students in grades 6-8 compete in the middle school category while students in grades 9-12 compete in the high school category.

If your students are going to work in teams to produce a video for the the C-SPAN StudentCam contest, they may want to try using to collaboratively edit their videos online.

Applications for Education
Even if your students don't enter the contest, the topic of the contest does make for great discussion topic in a social studies lesson. You could use the topic, "the most important issue the president should consider in 2013," to host your small video contest in your school or school district.

A Quick Way to Search for Grants for Your School

Earlier today I responded to a reader's questions about applying for grants. One of the questions was about how to find grant opportunities. Grant Wrangler was the first resource that came to mind when I read the question.

Grant Wrangler is a free service that lists grant opportunities for teachers, school administrators, and students. Grant Wrangler also lists some contest opportunities. You can search Grant Wrangler by content area, grade level, and application deadline.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for funding sources for a classroom project or a school-wide initiative, take a look at what Grant Wrangler has listed.

Try Lucidchart for Collaborative Chart Creation

Lucidchart is a collaborative chart creation tool that I reviewed a few years ago. Since then Lucidchart has continued to update with new features.

Lucidchart is an easy tool to use to create flowcharts, mindmaps, and graphic organizers. Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams.

Lucidchart now offers Google Drive integration through a Chrome web app. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, you can add Lucidchart to your domain. Both of these options make it easy for students to save and share their work online.

Lucidchart charges business customers, but makes all of their tools free for teachers and students.

Applications for Education
Watch the video below for an example of how to create a Lucidchart graphic organizer for students to use. Click here if you cannot see the video.

Countdown Helps Teachers Plan Common Core Math Assessments

Countdown is a new service designed to help elementary school and middle school teachers plan a schedule of math assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Countdown helps you plan by providing a place to write-out a schedule of assessments. Each entry on your schedule can be aligned Common Core standards through the Countdown planner. To align your entries to your schedule select an assessment, choose your grade level, then drag standards from the Countdown menu to your assessment. The Countdown planner includes full descriptions of each standard.

Applications for Education
Countdown is still in beta so not all of the features have been launched. One of the features that is listed as coming soon is the option to share assessment schedules with other teachers. Another promised feature that could be helpful is the option to align assessment schedules to a school or district's master calendar.

Add an Image Dictionary to Chrome

Image Dictionary is a Chrome extension that enables users to right-click on a word and quickly find an image that is representative of that word. To use the Image Dictionary extension just highlight a word on a webpage, right-click, and select "image search." The images that are shown come from Wikipedia.

Applications for Education
Image Dictionary could be a handy little extension to use when you want to quickly find an image to represent a plant, animal, or perhaps a broad topic. I'm thinking that it would be helpful at those times when a student is reading an article and comes across a word that they understand, but don't have a visual connection to. For example, if I'm reading about sloths I know that they're animals, but I don't have a good visual picture of them. Using the Image Dictionary extension quickly brings up a picture for me so that I can get on with my reading.