Tuesday, February 16, 2016

4 Videos That Help Students & Parents Understand Financial Aid

The FAFSA and financial aid packages offered by universities can be difficult for the first-time college student to navigate. And if you're a first generation college student it can be even more difficult because you may not know who to turn to for advice. Fortunately, a lot of high school guidance departments are doing more than ever to help students understand the FAFSA and financial aid. Planet Nutshell produced two good videos that will also help students and parents understand the FAFSA and financial aid. The videos are embedded below.


Choosing Financial Aid in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.



Borrow Wisely: FAFSA in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.

Understanding how federal student loans are different from private student loans can help students and their parents choose the best financial aid package. The following two videos, also from Planet Nutshell, do a nice job of explaining private vs. federal student loans.



Understanding Federal Student Loans in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.



Federal vs. Private Student Loans in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.

These videos were produced by Planet Nutshell with funding from the U.S. Depart of Education, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, and the Utah Education Network.

5 Dice - A Fun Math Activity on iPads

5 Dice is a nice iPad app designed to provide students with a place to practice and develop their understanding of the order of operations.

The 5 Dice app presents students with a number that they have to write an equation for using all of the dice presented to them. When students think that they have created an equation that will result in the number given to them, they click "shoot" to hit the target number. If students have written a correct equation, 5 Dice will show them other equations that will also work. If they have not written a correct equation they will be prompted to try again.

Applications for Education
5 Dice is designed for upper elementary school and middle school students. In addition to the "target number game" students can simply use the app's whiteboard option to try out various ways to hit their target numbers.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Electoral College Explained

We're choosing a new President of the United States this year. We're still in the primary and caucus phase of picking candidates. Once that's done we'll be moving toward the general election in the fall. But unlike other elections in which popular vote decides the winner, the president is chosen based on the outcome of the Electoral College votes. It's a bit of a complicated process. Both of the videos embedded below do a good job of succinctly explaining how the Electoral College works.

How the Electoral College Works, embedded below, gives a nice overview of the Electoral College. The video isn't perfect, I wish the producer had included that the number of Electoral votes a state receives is tied to the number of Senators and Representative it has. Instead the video simply stated that the number of Electoral votes is tied to population. Overall, it's not a bad summary of the Electoral College.


Another good video overview of the Electoral College can be found in Common Craft's Electing a US President in Plain English. The video can be viewed on YouTube, but cannot be embedded unless you're a subscriber to Common Craft's service. (Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft).

The Clear Alternative to Evernote Clearly

Clearly was a popular Chrome extension that allowed you to view and save web pages without all of the sidebar and header content that appears on most websites. Evernote ended support for Clearly earlier this year. I've had a few people ask me for alternative options. The easiest alternative is to use the Evernote web clipper and choose "simplified article" when you want to save a page without saving the sidebar content. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how this works.

How to Create Video-based Quizzes on Blubbr

Blubbr is a neat quiz creation service that enables you to create interactive quizzes that are based on YouTube clips. Your quizzes can be about anything of your choosing. The structure of the quizzes has a viewer watch a short clip then answer a multiple choice question about the clip. Viewers know right away if they chose the correct answer or not. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Blubbr to create a video-based quiz.