Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Crash Course in U.S. History

At about this time last year John Green launched Crash Course World History. That video series now contains 42 short video lessons on World History.

Today, John Green launched a new Crash Course series. This one is all about U.S. History. The first video in the Crash Course U.S. History series is now up on YouTube. I've embedded it below. The series starts before Europeans arrived in North America.



Applications for Education
The fast pace of the Crash Course videos makes them better suited to being reviews or introductions to topics rather than a replacement for lectures and documentary videos. Green definitely puts a bit of his own bias into some of the videos. You may want to discuss that with your students. Green also occasionally makes some remarks that border on PG-13 so keep that in mind before playing the videos in front of a classroom of middle school students.

A Simple Tool for Cleaning Up Your YouTube Viewing Experience

Today, I spent the day running workshops in Springfield, Massachusetts. In a few of my workshops the question of how to go about safely showing YouTube videos in the classroom came up. The tool that I shared today and have shared since I discovered it is A Cleaner Internet. A Cleaner Internet is an extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. The extension allows you to search YouTube and view YouTube videos without viewing the "related" content, advertisements, and comments that appear on YouTube. I included a short demonstration if it in the video below.


Virtually Hike the Grand Canyon in Google Maps

Last fall Google announced that it had a team setting out to capture "street view" imagery of trails through the Grand Canyon. Today, the first batch of that imagery was released. You can now explore more than 75 miles of trails in the Grand Canyon in Street View (I think they should call it Trail View). Get a taste of the imagery in the video below then start exploring the new Grand Canyon imagery.


Applications for Education
One of my former colleagues used to teach an entire unit on geology by walking students through the Grand Canyon with pictures she had taken. The new Grand Canyon Street View imagery will enable more teachers to use the same model for teaching geology.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Collaboration Option in Google Forms

From creating short surveys to delivering multiple choice quizzes Google Forms is a great tool for teachers. Today, Google announced the addition some useful new features to Google Forms. The most significant enhancement in the option to collaborate on Form creation and editing. Now you can share your forms and add comments to them just like you can in Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides.

Another enhancement that I think a lot of frequent users of Forms will appreciate is the option to choose the destination for responses. Now you can quickly specify if responses should be recorded in a new spreadsheet or added to an existing spreadsheet.

Forms also has a new copy and paste function for handling lists. Learn more about that in the video below.

Five Good Feeds for ELA and ELL Teachers

Earlier this week I shared five good feeds for mathematics teachers and five good feeds for history teachers. These lists were born out of a common request that I get and that is "can you recommend some good blogs for X?" So this week I'm going to publish a short list each day of the blogs that usually come to mind when someone asks me to make a recommendation for a blog related to teaching a particular subject area. Today, I have five good feeds for ELA and ELL teachers.

This list cannot begin without mentioning Larry Ferlazzo. He says that his blog is for sharing websites that will help you teach ELL, ESL, and EFL, but really anyone can benefit from subscribing to Larry's blog. He regularly shares resources that can be used in all subject areas.

Kevin's Meandering Mind written by Kevin Hodgson is a must-read for anyone interested in the use of digital storytelling and games in their language arts lessons. Kevin also regularly posts book reviews. Take a look at his recent post about using Stykz for creating stopmotion movies.

Jeffrey Hill's The English Blog is a good resource for teachers of high school age and older ELL/ ESL students. The English Blog regularly features political cartoons and news clips that can be used in ELL/ ESL lessons.

Life Feast written by Ana Marie Menezes is an excellent blog for teachers interested in using technology in elementary and middle school ELL/EFL lessons. Check out this post about using VOKI with EFL students for a sense of what you'll get by following Life Feast.

Jim Burke's English Companion is more of a website of excellent resources than it is a blog. If you haven't bookmarked it, you should. Follow Jim Burke on Twitter to keep up with what he's doing and sharing.