Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Please Practice Good Digital Citizenship

I talked about this briefly on my Anchor podcast yesterday, but I need to elaborate a bit here. During the last year I have increasingly seen teachers sharing and or reacting to posts on social media without actually reading the full article. For example, see the screenshots below in which teachers have shared Facebook posts without actually reading the article or trying the tools mentioned in the article. How do I know they haven't? They say to the friends they've tagged, "I haven't read this, but I thought of you." See a few examples below (click the images to view them in full size).
What's funny about showing a video to your students that you haven't watched?

I don't know about you, but I don't want people making recommendations to me if they haven't actually tried the product or read the article.

I'm also concerned about this pattern because if a teacher is using this bad practice in his/ her social media accounts, what is he/she teaching to students about digital citizenship? In an era in which we are increasingly hearing about viral fake news stories, it's important to make sure we're not the ones contributing to the problem.

A similar problem reared its ugly head on Sunday on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page. I posted this article about gaining access to sites your school filters. Roughly half of the comments on the post were from people who clearly didn't read the article at all. In other words, they were responding to the headline. After 24 hours I took the post down because I was tired of moderating uninformed comments and spats between those commenting.

Please, use social media to share things that you think are helpful to your friends and colleagues. Just read before you share. Your colleagues, friends, and students will thank you.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Note About Toontastic 3D on Chromebooks

A couple of hours ago I received an email from a reader who seemed slightly annoyed with me because she couldn't find Toontastic 3D for Chrome. It is available to use on Chromebooks, the video that I shared here was made on an Acer R11 Chromebook, but you need to be viewing the Google Play store on a Chromebook that supports Toontastic 3D and other Android apps.

If you're using a school-issued Chromebook, you may need to check with your network/ domain administrator to make sure that he/she hasn't placed any restrictions on your Chromebook that would prevent you from installing Toontastic 3D.

A Map of Languages

Locallingual is an interactive map of languages and dialects around the world. You can click on the map to read the language(s) spoken within a country, province, state, or city. You can then click on the listed language(s) to hear words and phrases spoken by people who live in that area. It's a neat way to discover the differences in how a language is spoken from one region to the next.

Applications for Education
Locallingual is a crowd-sourced project which means there are audio contributions from all kinds of people. Rather than directing your students to explore the site on their own, I would select some specific examples and play them for my students. In other words, you'll want to moderate what is played in your classroom. I listened to about a dozen recordings today and heard one recording that I definitely would not play in my classroom.

H/T to Maps Mania for the Locallingual link. 

MoocNote Offers a Chrome Extension for Taking Notes on Videos

MoocNote is a good tool for adding time-stamped notes to the videos that you watch. You can also use it to create time-stamped questions for others to answer while watching a shared video. MoocNote works with videos from YouTube as well as videos that you import from Google Drive or Dropbox.

The latest update to MoocNote introduced a Chrome extension for taking notes and answering questions while watching a video on YouTube. With the extension installed you don't need to open the MoocNote site in a separate tab or window.

Applications for Education
MoocNote includes an option for creating groups or classes. You can create public or private groups with which you share your video lessons. You can arrange all of your videos into courses then share those courses with the group. If your course is a work in progress, you can add to it as needed and everyone in your group will see the additional content as you add it.

Next Vista's Video Contests Show Great Examples of Student Productions

This is a guest post from Ruston Hurley, the founder of Next Vista for Learning.

Imagine that your students are thinking of ways to explain challenging concepts to their peers or younger students. Can they put "Think of it this way…" into short videos that would help others for years to come?

Getting an idea for making such pieces is a lot easier if your students have watched a variety of videos made with exactly that aim in mind. But where do you find such videos?

Next Vista for Learning's 90-second video contests are designed to highlight clear and creative approaches to learning something one might encounter in school. Here are three finalists from recent contests:

Symbolism in Shakespeare: Ophelia's Flowers

Pi Day


Once students understand that a video could be built many ways - stop motion, narrated art, footage from phones, etc. - they can become more creative about what they put together for your class.

Next Vista's fall contest finished in December, and if you would like to help choose the winners (and see a nice variety of short videos, too), send an email to info@nextvista.org (with "contest judging" in the subject line), and they'll get info to you on how to take part.

Share the videos with your students, and they can get a sense of what others do to explain challenging concepts in a concise video.

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