Monday, May 25, 2015

9 Ideas for Using ClassDojo

In my previous post I mentioned my new-found appreciation for ClassDojo. More importantly I have a new appreciation of why kids like it so much. If you haven't tried ClassDojo before or you have looked at it and thought, "my students won't go for that" take a look at the following nine videos featuring the various ways that you can use ClassDojo.


What Strava Taught Me About Why Kids Love ClassDojo and Digital Badges

Warning! Small humble brag ahead.

This morning I set out on my bicycle to complete a challenge that I had accepted on Strava a couple of weeks ago. (Strava is an app for tracking running and cycling activities. It also has a social networking component through which you can give your friends kudos for their rides and runs). The challenge was to ride 100km or more in a single, continuous trip. I finished it 3 hours and 24 minutes later. It was my first metric century ride.

I recorded the ride in the Strava app on my phone then crashed on my couch to recover from the ride. A minute later I heard an alert on my phone and expected it to be a friend giving kudos on the ride. Instead it was Strava congratulating me and telling me that I had unlocked the Gran Fondo challenge award. The award is the right to purchase a cycling jersey commemorating the achievement. At $120 and in a color I would never wear, I passed on the purchase opportunity. Nonetheless, I was stoked to have the opportunity. That's when I realized that the way I feel about Strava is the way that students feel about ClassDojo and other services that have digital badges/ recognition.

For a couple of years I've had teachers telling me how much they and their students love ClassDojo. I never got terribly excited about it. I understood that kids liked seeing a record of their points for classroom behaviors, yet I didn't understand the excitement that some kids express in earning digital recognition. I felt much the same way about ClassBadges. My experience today gave me a new understanding of digital badges. It's not about the badge. It's about the feeling that comes with the badge.

Old NYC & Old SF - Maps of Images of New York and San Francisco

Old NYC and Old SF are two great websites featuring thousands of historical photographs of New York City and San Francisco. The images are sourced from the New York Public Library and the San Francisco Public Library. Each image is geolocated on the map according to the latitude and longitude coordinates of where it was taken. In most cases those coordinates match street addresses, but not always.

Applications for Education
Old NYC and Old SF were featured on Maps Mania last week. I couldn't stop thinking about the maps (I'm a maps junky). As I thought about the maps over the weekend I realized that the images in the maps could be helpful to students who are reading about the history of either city or reading stories set in either city. For example, students reading The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye may be interested to see images of NYC from those decades.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Crash Course for Kids on Weathering & Erosion

A couple of months ago the producers of the popular Crash Course channel on YouTube started a Crash Course for Kids channel. Crash Course for Kids offers overviews of various topics (mostly science) through the use of greenscreen visuals and a lot of talking. Weathering and Erosion is the topic of one of the more recent releases on Crash Course for Kids. In the video students will see a comparison of Cape Cod's coastline in 1984 and 2014. That image combined with the commentary does a great job of showing students the effects of erosion.


Applications for Education
Like a lot of people this spring I've been spending time working on landscaping my yard. One of my projects has been to build terraces to slow erosion on my lot. After watching Weathering and Erosion: Crash Course Kids ask your students to find and take pictures of examples of erosion and erosion prevention measures in their neighborhoods.

You could also continue the lesson with Shape It Up. Shape It Up is one of many good educational games and activities on Kinetic CityShape It Up is an activity that would be good for use in an elementary school Earth Science lesson. The activity presents students with "before" and "after" images of a piece of Earth. Students then have to select the force nature and the span of time it took to create the "after" picture. If students choose incorrectly, Shape It Up will tell the student and they can choose again.

How to Quickly Create a Variety of Data Visualizations

On Friday afternoon I wrote about Silk.co's updated tools for creating data visualizations. The first time that you use Silk the account dashboard can be a little confusing. A couple of folks emailed me about it last night and this morning so I decided to make a little screencast about Silk.co. That video is embedded below.