Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How To Use Pixabay to Find Free Images

Last month I wrote a post about a great public domain image source called Pixabay. I've been using Pixabay consistently since I published that post. But, I have had a number of people of express confusion about how to locate free images through Pixabay so I'm writing this post to address that confusion.

Pixabay hosts high quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. Pixabay is an ad-supported site so when you search for images a set of sponsored Shutterstock images appears at the top of the results much like when some Google search results display ads before the authentic results. The set of images appearing below the Shutterstock images on Pixabay are free to download. When you find a Pixabay image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture.
Click to view full size.

Surface Languages - Learn 38 Languages

Surface Languages is a free service offering flashcards and practice activities to help students learn the basics of a new language. Surface Languages supports 38 languages. To use the site simply select the language that you are trying to learn then select a set of words or phrases to practice. After selecting a set of words or phrases you will be able to listen to the pronunciations of those words or phrases. You can also flip through the words and phrases in flashcard format.

Applications for Education
Surface Languages could be a handy little resource for students to use to listen to pronunciations of words and phrases of the languages that they're studying. Students can use the free Surface Languages Android apps to continue their practice on the go. 

Questions to Consider While Assessing Video Projects

In my previous post I shared a list of questions to consider while planning student video projects. Part of the planning should include thinking about the assessment of your students' final video productions. A list of questions and ideas to consider in planning the assessment of student projects is included below.

*Assessing the student video project: pre-production.
-See “what do you students to demonstrate?”
-Require students to outline project goals before searching for or creating media to use in the project.
-Approve the outline yourself.
-Require students to write a script and submit it to you before they start using the production tools. This gives them a focus which in turn leads to less time wasted.

*Assessing the student video project: post-production.
-Did students demonstrate what they said they would in their outlines and scripts?
-Did students demonstrate what you wanted them to demonstrate?
-Was the final product engaging?
-Audience evaluation  sheets.
-Did the audience (classmates) learn something from the final product?

Common Core Standards that can be addressed through video projects:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2a Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2b Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2f Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.

Questions to Ask When Planning Video Projects

This morning at the NCTIES conference I gave a presentation on having students use mobile apps to create multimedia projects. Part of that presentation included video projects. Part of my presentation included a set of questions that I think teachers should consider when planning a video project. Those questions are listed below:

*Planning questions to ask yourself.
-What do you want students to demonstrate?
- What is your knowledge of the creation process?
- What is your students' level of knowledge of content?
- What are yours and your students' skills in writing, research, editing, assembling?
- How much time can you allot to this project?
- What are your skills? (Tip do the project yourself from scratch)
- What are your students’ skills?
- What kind of equipment do you have at your disposal? How often can you access that equipment?

Padlet Streams - A Simple Way to Create a Group Blog

Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) is one of my favorite tools to use to have students quickly share ideas, questions, and multimedia notes on one page. Until today all of the notes that were added to a Padlet page appeared wherever a visitor double clicked. You can still use that free form format, but now you can also use a chronological format that Padlet is calling "streams."  Streams places all notes into a chronological order based on the timestamp of when each note is written.

Applications for Education
Creating a Padlet page in the stream format could be a good way to create a simple, collaborative blog for students. You could create the page, select "stream" format, and make the page accessible for students to write short posts on. Their posts could include images and videos. If you want to, you can password protect your Padlet pages and moderate messages before they appear on your Padlet page. Please see A Teacher's Guide to Backchannels and Informal Assessment Tools to learn more about using Padlet.