Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Add Videos to Your Dotstorming Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions

Dotstorming is a cool tool for hosting collaborative brainstorming sessions. The neat thing about Dotstorming is that you can have everyone contribute their ideas on an online corkboard then vote for their favorite ideas. When Dotstorming launched you could only add text and picture notes. In the last week an option to include video notes was added to Dotstorming. To add a video to a note simply paste a YouTube URL into a note.

Another new feature of Dotstorming is the option to remove participants from a session. As the creator and administrator of a Dotstorming board you can simply hover your cursor over a name and then select "remove" to kick that person out of the session.

Learn more about how Dotstorming works by watching my how-to video embedded below.

Applications for Education
One of the ways that you could use Dotstorming is to post set of answer choices for your students and have them vote for the answer that they think is correct.

Dotstorming could be a helpful tool in planning Edcamp schedules. Have folks post their session titles and short descriptions then give everyone a few votes to determine which sessions will be held.

5 Tips to Improve Critical Thinking Skills - A TED-Ed Lesson

5 Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking is the latest TED-Ed lesson. The introduction to the lesson is a bit long for my liking but once you get past that the tips are solid. The lesson presents critical thinking as a process of five steps. The last step is the one that students will probably struggle to implement, "explore other points of view."

Digitize Your Whiteboard and Paper Notes With OneDrive

From Evernote to Google Drive to CamScanner there are plenty of mobile apps that you can use to snap a picture of a whiteboard or paper note and have that turned into a PDF. Now Microsoft is trying to get into the same game with the latest beta version of OneDrive for Android.

In the latest beta version of the OneDrive Android app you can open the app, tap scan, and digitize any physical note. The note will be saved as a PDF in your OneDrive account.

Applications for Education
If you or your students are already using OneDrive then you will probably appreciate this new feature as it will make it easy to save sketches and notes. If you're not already using OneDrive, this is not a reason to switch to it because there are other apps that do the same thing.

H/T to Lifehacker

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Wall of Birds - Hear the Calls of Birds and See Their Ranges

Wall of Birds is a new site published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Wall of Birds features a mural of 243 hand-painted birds. The mural's backdrop is a map of the world. You can zoom and pan across the mural to see all of the birds. Clicking on a bird will open a side pane that contains information about that bird's habitat and habits. The side pane also contains an audio recording of the bird's call.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a YouTube channel that is full of short videos about birds in their natural habitats. The videos provide students with another way to see and hear a variety of birds.

Applications for Education
As the weather warms in the Northern Hemisphere a fun outdoor learning activity is to take students on nature walks during which they try to identify as many different birds as possible. They could do this by sight and sound with the help of some of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's resources.

Merlin Bird ID is another tool that could help students identify birds. It is a free iPhone and Android app that helps you identify birds that you see in North America. To help you identify a bird you've see Merlin Bird ID asks you a few questions about the color of the bird, its size, where you saw it, and when you saw it. Merlin Bird ID will suggest which bird you saw based on your answers to the identification questions.The suggestion will come with pictures of the bird and some information about it. In some cases you will be able to listen to a recording of the bird's call.

H/T to Google Maps Mania for the Wall of Birds. 

Best Job Ever - Short Stories About Outdoor Jobs #bestjobever

National Geographic's YouTube channel has a relatively new playlist called #bestjobever.  The playlist features short stories about people who have interesting jobs that are primarily in the outdoors. These are primarily jobs incorporating some kind of conservation and or awareness missions. The playlist is embedded below. The first video in the series is about photographing beluga whales.

Applications for Education
One of the responsibilities that I feel I have as an educator is to expose students to job and career opportunities that don't fall into the traditional tracks. Videos like these can help students see that if they have a passion for something they could potentially turn that passion into a profession that they'll love.