Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cooking With Solar Energy - A Hands-on Project for Students is a good place for teachers to find videos, interactive activities, and lesson plans for teaching about climates and climate change. One of the teaching activities that I found on I think elementary, middle, and high school students could enjoy is making a solar oven (link opens a PDF). The Making a Solar Oven PDF includes directions for building your solar oven and tips for cooking in it. You and your students can build a solar oven using materials that are commonly found in schools, homes, and grocery stores.

Applications for Education
Making a solar oven and baking some cookies in it could be a great way to get students excited to learn about solar energy. At the middle school and high school levels you could have students experiment with modifications of the original design to see if they can increase or decrease temperatures and cooking times in their solar ovens.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adam Savage Shares Lessons from Failure, like TED, features videos of talks and presentations from intelligent and notable people from a variety of fields. One of the talks that I like and showed parts of to my students a couple of years ago is this talk given by Adam Savage at MAKER Faire 2009. Adam Savage is one of the hosts of the popular Discovery series Mythbusters. In this talk he discusses the lessons learned from being a freelancer and the lessons learned from producing Mythbusters. A preview of the talk is embedded below.

MythBuster Adam Savage's Colossal Failures from Maker Faire on
Applications for Education
This is a long talk with many segments in it that may be worth showing to high school students. If you watch the video on you can view it broken into segments which makes it easier to narrow in on the specific parts you want to show to students.

Two Video Guides to Website Evaluation

Writing the previous post about RADCAB reminded me of a Common Craft video about website evaluation. That video is embedded below.

Common Craft videos are free to watch for evaluation purposes, but to share them you do have to be a subscriber to their service (I am). I realize that not everyone can or wants to convince their schools to pay for a Common Craft subscription so I went to YouTube to look for some free videos about website evaluation. Sadly, many of the videos that I found on YouTube either promoted .org domains as being automatically more valid than .com domains. Other videos on the topic were so dry that a student would never watch them all the way through. Eventually, I did find one that I think students would watch and is accurate. That video is embedded below.

RADCAB - A Website Evaluation Framework for Students

Thanks to Patty Eyer today I learned about a great mnemonic acronym to help students remember a process for website evaluation. RADCAB, which you can learn about at, stands for relevancy, appropriateness, detail, currency, authority, and bias. The RADCAB website provides a short explanation of each of the aspects of evaluation and why they are significant.

Applications for Education
Teaching students about RADCAB could be a great way to help them remember what to look for when they are evaluating websites. The RADCAB website provides an information assessment rubric that you can download for free.

How to Use B-Roll Footage In Videos

Earlier today at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp I talked about the idea of creating a gallery of b-roll media that your students can use in their slideshows and videos. That suggestion was part of a larger conversation about helping students avoid using another person's work and accidentally violating that person's copyright rights. One way to avoid any worry about copyright is by having students use media that they have created from scratch. Building up a gallery of media that is large enough for all of your students to use takes time. One way to build up the gallery is to create shared Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive folders that students put b-roll submissions into.

As the folks at Wistia explain and demonstrate in the video below, using b-roll footage can be a good way to improve your videos. Watch the video below to learn how they do it.