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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Using DocsTeach to Create Online Lessons - Free Webinar Next Week

DocsTeach is a favorite resource of mine for U.S. History teachers and students. I used it and it's predecessor fairly regularly when I was teaching U.S. History. DocsTeach provides an online space where you can create primary source based lessons for your students to complete online or offline. Last fall I published a detailed tutorial on how to create lessons with it. If you'd like some live instruction on how to use it, DocsTeach is hosting a series of free webinars in August.

On August 4th, 6th, 11th, and 13th at 2pm ET DocsTeach staff will host 20 minute webinars about how to use the features of DocsTeach for online instruction. Advanced registration is required in order to participate in the live webinars. Register here.

Five Things I'm Excited About for the New School Year

Yesterday morning I wrote about how I'm preparing for the worst for the new school year and my nervousness about the start of the school year. To balance that post, I think it's a good idea to think about and share what I am looking forward to about the start of the new school year.

Reconnecting with students. 
I'm fortunate to have a program in which students can stay with me for three years if they want to. Most of my students from last year are coming back. A couple of them have been emailing me throughout the summer to tell me about what they're tinkering with and or to ask questions and make suggestions for activities to do in the fall.

Raspberry Pi 4
One of those kids that has been emailing me all summer got an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 this summer. He's off and running with it. I'm going to have spend some time in August trying to catch up to him before school starts. And if I don't catch up to him, that's okay because I'll readily admit that I have lots to learn and he can teach me.

Phidgets
I wrote about Phidgets yesterday. They're inexpensive sensors and micro-controllers that can be programmed in Java, Python, C#, or Swift. Setting them up is easy. Once set-up kids can tinker with the code to do all kinds of interesting things. You can get a free Phidgets starter kit by filling out a short request form on their education page.

Rebuilding a network
Due to the abrupt end to in-person classes and some miscommunication between the maintenance staff, myself, and administration the wireless and wired networks that were built in my classroom were unceremoniously dismantled before a proper schematic was made. So I'm looking at this as an opportunity to rebuild it better than before.

Seeing my colleagues
Even if we're masked and six+ apart from each other it will still be nice to see them face-to-face again. Other than my immediate family and a few socially distant conversations with neighbors, I haven't had any in-person social interactions since March 13th and I think it's making me a bit nutty.

Disclosure: Phidgets is currently an advertiser on this blog.