Monday, May 20, 2013

The History and Meaning of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one week from today. Here are a couple of quick resources that you may want to include in a lesson about Memorial Day.

The Meaning of Memorial Day is a two minute video covering the origins of the holiday in the United States. The video is embedded below.




For more resources for teaching about Memorial Day, visit Larry Ferlazzo's list of resources.

Tips for Leading Google Apps Trainings - Part 2

As the school year winds-down many of us are planning summer PD sessions. If you're going to be leading a PD session about Google Apps this summer, here are some of my tips for leading a successful session. These tips are based on my experiences gained from leading dozens of Google Apps trainings over the last few years.

Device Choice
Unless your training session is specifically about using iPads or Android tablets, the best way to introduce new users to all of the Google Documents features is to have them use a browser (again Chrome is preferable) on their laptops. You can certainly have people bring their iPads and or Android tablets to your training session, but make sure that they know that not all of the features available in a desktop browser are also available in the iOS and Android apps.

When I have participants bringing iPads or Android tablets to one of my workshops, my preference is to have people try all of the features of Google Documents in their browsers before moving to their tablets. This way they have exposure to all of the functions of Google Docs. Then when they move to their tablets they can clearly see the differences between the browser experience and the tablet app experience.

Tips for Leading Google Apps Trainings - Part 1

As the school year winds-down many of us are planning summer PD sessions. If you're going to be leading a PD session about Google Apps this summer, here are some of my tips for leading a successful session. These tips are based on my experiences gained from leading dozens of Google Apps trainings over the last few years.

Unified browser choice. 
Not all browsers support every feature in Google Documents. Not surprisingly, Google Chrome does support all features of Google Documents and Google Drive. For that reason it is preferable to have all participants in your training sessions use Google Chrome. Google Chrome automatically updates whenever a new update is released by Google. A day or two before your training session send an email to all participants asking them to install Chrome if it’s not already installed on their laptops.

If getting all participants in your training session to use Chrome is not an option for you, at the very least stress to them importance of having the latest version of their preferred browsers installed. Not only is this a browser security issue (older versions of browsers are more susceptible to security threats) it is a Google Documents functionality issue. The latest versions of browsers support the most functions of Google Documents. For example, as of this writing Google has officially ceased supporting Internet Explorer 8.

Finally, regardless of which browser you ultimately have participants in your training sessions use, have them all use the same browser during your training session. Initially, this might be uncomfortable for some participants, but by the end of the day most people will be comfortable with a different browser. Having everyone use the same browser will make your day easier. When everyone uses the same browser if there are unexpected glitches or problems they will likely be the same for everyone in your training session. Solve the glitch once and you’ve solved it for the whole group for the day.

Vimeo Video School - Storytelling the Stillmotion Way

Stillmotion is a video production company based in Oregon. Last month they produced a series of videos all about how to tell stories through video. The series takes you through the planning, shooting, and editing of a video. The series isn't a how-to on the technical side of production as it is a how-to plan and think about the process of producing a great video. The first video in the series is embedded below. Below the video I've linked to the other videos and text outlines in the series.


Storytelling The Stillmotion Way: Part 1 from stillmotion on Vimeo.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Study Jams - Elementary Math and Science With Music

Study Jams is a Scholastic website designed to help elementary school students learn and review math and science information through songs and videos. To use Study Jams students search for a topic in the math or science category. Each Study Jam offers a short tutorial on that topic in the form of a video, slideshow, or song. When there is a song available Study Jams provides a karaoke format for kids to sing along if they like.

Applications for Education
Study Jams could provide a fun way for students to independently review topics or learn about new topics. To extend the activity you could challenge students to write an additional verse for one of the karaoke tunes. Or challenge them to create their own Study Jam when one doesn't exist for a topic they're studying.