Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New C-SPAN Bell Ringers - Good Lesson Ideas for Social Studies Teachers

One of the features of C-SPAN Classroom that I particularly like is the Bell Ringer category of activities. Bell Ringers are short videos about contemporary issues in government, politics, and business. Each Bell Ringer video is accompanied by a list of key vocabulary terms and a list of discussion questions to use in your classroom.

C-SPAN Classroom recently released a new batch of Bell Ringers. Two of the Bell Ringers that grabbed my attention were World War II - The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and The Role of the Speaker of the House. I've embedded both videos below, but the videos alone aren't nearly as valuable as the vocabulary lists and teaching ideas that can be found by clicking through to each of the lessons.

You will need to be a registered member of C-SPAN Classroom in order to access all of the Bell Ringer materials. Registering is free and only takes a minute.

Spell Up - A Fun Way to Learn to Spell in Chrome

Spell Up is a fun new Google Chrome experiment. Spell Up is a game in which you hear a prompt to spell a word then have to speak into your laptop or Chromebook to see the word spelled on your screen. If you spell the word correctly it stays on the screen where it becomes part of a tower of words. If you spell a word incorrectly, it will fall off the screen and you will be prompted to try again (you can skip a word after a few tries). Learn more about Spell Up in the video below.

Applications for Education
Spell Up could be a fun way for students to practice spelling new words. In my test of the game I had to articulate my letters very carefully or my words were not recognized as being spelled correctly. For example, "b" and "p" were difficult in my testing and knowing myself I'm sure that Spell Up would have difficulty with my "f" and "s" sounds. In that regard Spell Up could be good for helping students practice correcly articulating their sounds.

Locate & Distribute CCSS-Aligned Practice Quizzes With CK-12 Edmodo Apps

CK-12, the producers of the Flexbook tool for creating online textbooks, offers Edmodo apps for locating and distributing Common Core-aligned math and science practice quizzes. The CK-12 Math Edmodo app and the CK-12 Science Edmodo app provide libraries of quizzes that cover middle and high school science and mathematics concepts. Practice quizzes are posted as assignments and your students' scores automatically show up in your Edmodo Gradebook.

Applications for Education
The CK-12 Edmodo apps could be useful for quickly locating practice assessments to distribute to your students as prior knowledge check before embarking on a new series of lessons.

#DCMOOC - A MOOC About Digital Citizenship

Whether we work with preschool children or college students, digital citizenship is something that we should all be talking about with our students. To help you help students understand digital citizenship Alec Couros is facilitating a MOOC on the topic of digital citizenship. The MOOC is supported by the Government of Saskatchewan.

#DCMOOC begins tonight, May 13th at 7pm Saskatchewan Time (use this tool to convert the time to your local time). If you cannot make it to tonight's session it will be held again on May 14th at 3:45pm Saskatchewan Time. Click here to register for the #DCMOOC.  #DCMOOC will run for five weeks. An outline of the five week #DCMOOC can be found here.

H/T to Jen Deyenberg for the Tweet about #DCMOOC

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tips for Shooting and Editing Videos

Thanks to mobile devices and wealth of video editing tools we can all be video producers today. But creating a good video requires more than just having access to the tools of production. Creating good videos begins with some basic steps like holding your phone or camera the right way and knowing when to zoom with a lens or zoom with your feet.

In the video below WeVideo offers three key tips for shooting better videos.

The Vimeo Video School offers more than five dozen videos about creating better videos. Two of their videos are embedded below.

Quick Focusing Tips from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

Zoom vs. Moving Camera from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

The TED Blog recently published a list of ten tips for editing video. The tips focus on when and where to cut videos for creating the smoothest video you can. Each tip is accompanied by "before" and "after" samples.

Applications for Education
Between commencements, spring sporting events, banquets, and award ceremonies as the end of the school year approaches there will be lots of occasions for capturing videos of school events. Take advantage of these tips to capture better raw footage that will in turn help you and your students edit better videos.