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Friday, November 20, 2020

How to Make Digital Thanksgiving Thankfulness Turkeys

The switch to online and hybrid classes presents lots of challenges and requires changing the way that we have done some of our "old standby" activities. For example, this morning I received an email from a reader who was looking for some ideas on how do a digital version of the classic Thanksgiving Thankfulness Turkey project in which students add feathers to a drawing of turkey and each feather has something they're thankful for written on it. 

My suggestion for creating a digital version of the Thankful Turkey was to use a combination of Pixabay and Google Drawings. I made this short video to illustrate how that process would work. 

Alternatives to Google Expeditions

Last week's announcement from Google that Google Expeditions will be discontinued in 2021 was disappointing news for many of us. Since then I've answered a handful of questions from people who are looking for alternatives to using the Google Expeditions app. Here's a summary of what I've been saying and suggesting to those looking for an alternative to the Google Expeditions app. 

Don't Rush
The Expeditions app will still function until the end of June, 2021. So if you are currently using it, you don't have to replace it this school year. You have about seven months to search for and test alternatives to the Google Expeditions app. 

Google Arts & Culture
The Google Arts & Culture app includes many of the experiences that are present in Google Expeditions. The one thing that you can't do is guide students on tours. They're on their own to find and navigate through the tours that you want them to see. 

Sites in VR
Sites in VR is a free app that features immersive imagery of notable landmarks around the world. The imagery can be viewed in VR headsets or without them. Unfortunately, there is not any audio accompanying the views in Sites in VR. 

National Geographic
National Geographic's YouTube channel has more than 50 videos that are designed to be watched in virtual reality. In fact, you can find lots of YouTube videos that are intended for viewing in VR by simply refining your search to 360 or 180 VR in YouTube's search filters. See my screenshot below for more information about that. 

A 15 Second Video Contest for Students

The New York Times is hosting a video contest called the 15 Second Vocabulary Video Challenge. The contest is open to middle school and high school students. The contest asks students to produce a fifteen second video about one of the words from The New York Times Learning Network's word-of-the-day list (link opens a PDF). The video should define or teach the meaning of one of the words in fifteen seconds or less. 

Entries into the 15 Second Vocabulary Video Challenge have to be uploaded to YouTube and listed as public or unlisted videos. Teachers and or parents can upload submissions on behalf of their students. Directions for making submissions are available here. Students can work individually or in groups, but can only make one submission in total. The deadline for submissions is December 15th. Complete rules can be found here.

One of the rules of the contest is that any background music or sound effects music must be licensed for re-use and credited. Mixkit, which I reviewed earlier this year, is a good place to find music and sound effects that are labeled for re-use. More good sources of free music and sound effects are listed in the free Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Have your students take a look at the winners of last year's 15 Second Vocabulary Video Challenge to get some inspiration to participate in this year's contest. 



H/T to Larry Ferlazzo.