Friday, March 28, 2014

The Strength of Simple Videos

Over the last month I've facilitated a handful of workshops on the topic of video creation in the classroom. One of the points that I always try to stress in those workshops is that the focus of most student video projects should be on developing and delivering clear story lines. Yes, it is great if students use slick transitions and special effects, but those don't mean a thing if the video doesn't have a clear purpose (unless that purpose is to demonstrate editing skills).

Most of us are not teachers of video production, we're teaching some other subject and using the video project as a means to get students engaged in demonstrating their knowledge and skills. To that end, I always start video projects by outlining what it is I want students to demonstrate through their videos. Then I think about the video creation tools that will fit that purpose. You can see an outline of my process and the tools that I like here.

There two examples on Next Vista that I frequently share to illustrate the strength of simple videos that have clear story lines and purposes. First, is the Black Death In 90 Seconds in which a teacher uses still shots of Legos and other toys to explain the Black Death to students. This video packs in all the basics while entertaining at the same time. Second, is My Name is Michael in which a student named Michael explains what life is like living with Autism. Both videos are embedded below.

Both of the videos above were created with iMovie (now pre-installed on new iPads), but they could have just as easily been created with WeVideo or Windows Movie Maker.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Handful of Google Calendar Tutorials for Teachers

From simply keeping track of personal appointments to sharing important information with students, Google Calendar is a versatile tool for teachers. The following tutorials can help you get the most out of using Google Calendar.

A Short Guide to Creating and Sharing Google Calendars - The basics

How to Add Attachments to Google Calendar Events

How to Embed a Google Calendar Into Your Blogger Blog

How to Create Google Calendar Event Reminders

How to Create Appointment Slots in Google Apps Calendars

Gooru Adds a Collaboration Option for Building Resource Collections With Your Colleagues

Gooru is a service designed to help teachers create and share collections of educational videos, texts, and images. This week Gooru released a few new features that you could find helpful in building your collections. First, Gooru now allows you to collaborate on collections with up to twenty of your colleagues. Simply invite them by email while you're working on a collection and they can start adding materials to the collection. Click here to learn more about collaborating on Gooru collections.

The second Gooru update of note is a new folders tool for organizing multiple collections into one folder. The third update to note is an updated standards library. The Gooru standards library contains collections of materials aligned to the Common Core math standards for grades five through twelve.

Applications for Education
As a teacher on Gooru you can create collections, add text narration to each element in the collection, create quiz questions about items in your collections, and share your collections with students either publicly or privately. Being able to add quiz questions for students to answer as they go through one of the collections you've created is the feature of Gooru that I like best. By having students answer as they go through the collection I can get a sense of what I need to spend more or less time covering in my classroom.

Free iBook - 16 Online Resources & Ideas for Teaching Geography

Online Resources for Teaching IB DP Geography is a free iBook published by Richard Allaway. The free iBook contains sixteen chapters addressing sixteen topics in the geography theme of "patterns and change." Within each chapter you will find a featured online resource and suggestions for using it to teach the topic of the chapter. For example, in chapter three Movement Responses - Migration you will learn about and glean some ideas for how you can use it to teach students about the causes of migration.

Applications for Education
Geography teachers who are looking for some new tools, particularly tools around data analysis, would do well to download Online Resources for Teaching IB DP Geography. As with most professional development books the value of Online Resources for Teaching IB DP Geography lies more in the ideas shared than in the tools themselves.

Learn Computer Science and Coding With This edX Course

Through edX Harvard has made an updated version of their popular CS50 course available to everyone. The twelve week course is designed for people who do not have any prior coding experience. The course begins with the basics of how computers work before moving through the languages C, PHP, and JavaScript plus SQL, CSS, and HTML. Other topics covered in the course include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development.

Applications for Education
If you have high school students who are interested in computer science, but your school doesn't offer a course for them, working through CS50 on edX could be a good way for those students to receive a comprehensive introduction to computer science and programming.

H/T to Open Culture