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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Climate Kids' Big Questions Teaches Students About Climate Change

NASA's Climate Kids website has many excellent online and offline resources for teaching students about climate change. One of those resources is the Big Questions wheel. The Big Questions wheel guides students through the basic concepts and issues related to climate change. Seven big questions are featured in the wheel. Students select a question to discover the answers through the exploration of a series of smaller questions. Each question is addressed with a mix of image, text, and video explanations.

The Climate Kids Big Questions are:

  • What does climate change mean?
  • What is the big deal with carbon?
  • What is the greenhouse effect?
  • How do we know the climate is changing?
  • What is happening in the oceans?
  • What can we do to help?
  • What else do we need to find out?
Applications for Education
After working through the Big Questions you could have students play some of the Climate Kids online games which address topics including recycling, renewable energy, and climate history. Some of the hands-on activities featured on Climate Kids include re-purposing old clothing to make re-usable shopping bags, creating your own paper, and garden projects.

Climate Kids includes a page for teachers. On that page you can find a directory of resources aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Besides the directory, the page for teachers offers galleries of media that you can use in your climate change lesson plans.

Headliner - A Slick Online Video Editor

Headliner is an online video editing tool that could challenge Adobe Spark and WeVideo for the top of my recommended video tools list. I just learned about Headliner from their PR person this afternoon. 99% of the PR emails that I'm sent are useless (seriously, I got one today about lawn fertilizer), but the one I got about Headliner is in the 1% of useful PR emails.

Headliner is a free online video editor that was designed for the purpose of making videos for use on social media, but the editor could be used for making videos for any purpose. To get started using Headliner you do need to create a free account on the site. Once you've created an account you can begin making videos from scratch or by following one of the simple templates in Headliner. Using the blank template is probably the best way to get to know the features built into the Headliner editor.

The first time that you open a blank project in Headliner you might think that you have to upload audio to start. That's because Headliner displays a prompt to upload audio as soon as you open the editor. I found that you don't have to actually upload audio to get started. Instead of adding audio to start you can import pictures, use the built-in image search tool, import video, or use the built-in video search tool. Once you have imported media you can adjust the duration of display, add pan and zoom effects, insert transition effects, and add text to the video. Of course, you can also add audio to the video at any time.

Completed Headliner projects can be downloaded as MP4 files, embedded into blog posts and webpages, or shared on social media.

Applications for Education
Headliner could be a great video creation tool for high school students to use to make short documentary-style videos. While it is relatively easy to use, making a short documentary in Headliner would require a good bit of advanced planning and patience in editing images, video clips, text, and audio into one polished final product.

Editing PDFs and Nine Other Microsoft Word Tutorials

On Wednesday morning I published a couple of tutorials about annotating PDFs and annotating Google Slides. Shortly after publishing those tutorials Mike Tholfsen Tweeted a link to Microsoft's 10 Handy Tips for Microsoft Word. One of those tips is using Word to edit PDFs. A short video tutorial for that process is embedded below.


The nine other tips in Microsoft's 10 Handy Tips for Microsoft Word are:

  • Dictate to type
  • Spelling, grammar, and clarity check.
  • Track changes
  • Insert a table
  • Add and edit text
  • Insert headers and footers
  • Insert or remove page breaks
  • Add a table of contents
  • Change line spacing
Video tutorials for all of those tips can be found here