Friday, November 18, 2016

A Brief History of Timezones

When I signed into Facebook this morning I was greeted by a notice that on this day in 1883 the railroad industry in North America began using the four timezones that are still in use today. Upon reading that notice I immediately remembered a TED-Ed lesson on the topic. Where did timezones come from? What is "standard time?" The answers to those questions and more can be found in the short TED-Ed lesson How Did Trains Standardize Timezones in the United States? Watch the video below.

How to Collaboratively Create YouTube Playlists - Updated

Last year I published a video about how to collaboratively create YouTube playlists. Since then the steps for doing that have changed a little bit. Also this week I had someone ask if I could make a video about making YouTube playlists. To address both items I created the new tutorial video, How to Collaboratively Create YouTube Playlists, that you should see embedded below.

Applications for Education
There is a lot of great educational content on YouTube. The challenge that many teachers and students have is finding and keeping track of it all. Turn on the collaboration feature when you start making a playlist and then work with your colleagues to develop lists of educational videos for your students. Or have students collaborate to create a playlist of helpful videos.

Padlet Now Offers Commenting on Notes

Padlet is one of my favorite all purpose ed tech tools. With Padlet you can create a place to collect digital exit tickets, a place for collaborative brainstorming, a place to create digital KWL charts, a place for collaborative bookmarking, and even a place to create a simple classroom blog. My YouTube channel contains a playlist of tutorials on using Padlet in a variety of ways.

This week Padlet rolled out a new feature that I think you'll like. You can now allow students to comment on individual notes added to a Padlet wall. The new comments feature can be turned on or turned off by the creator of a Padlet wall (use the modification settings to do that). Comments can be made anonymously or you can require users to sign-in to comment. As the creator of a Padlet wall you can delete any comments written by others.

Applications for Education
If you use Padlet as a tool for group brainstorming sessions the comment feature offers a great way for classmates to ask clarifying questions. If you use Padlet to host a simple classroom blog you can use the commenting feature to give your students feedback on their posts.

Learn how to use Padlet by watching the videos in my playlist embedded below.

A Video About Making Screencast Videos

The questions that I answer in my email more frequently than any other are about making screencast videos. Most people want to know what tool I use for creating screencasts and or how to create a screencast on a Chromebook. In the video embedded below I explain and show the three tools that I use to create nearly all of the tutorial videos that appear in my YouTube channel.

The tools featured in this video are Blue Snowball microphone,, and Nimbus Screenshot.

Protagonist vs. Antagonist - A Student Video

Throughout the year Next Vista for Learning hosts student video contests. All of the contests ask students to create short lessons about a wide variety of topics. The latest contest winner was announced earlier this week. The winning video was Protagonist vs. Antagonist. The 86 second video provides students with a clear explanation of the roles of protagonists and antagonists in a story. Watch the video as embedded below or see it on Next Vista where you can download a Creative Commons licensed copy of the video.

Applications for Education
As a follow-up to this video you could have your students create videos to explain other elements necessary for the creation of a compelling fiction story. Ask your students to use examples from their favorite books or movies.