Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Make a Terrarium

Build a Tiny Plant World! is the title of a new SciShow Kids video. The video explains how plants stay alive inside of terrariums and what you need to create your own plant terrarium. The video does a good job of explaining what students will need to create a terrarium and the elements within the terrarium create an ecosystem. If you would like printable directions for building a terrarium, take a look at this National Geographic page or this Climate Kids page. Both pages were recommend by SciShow Kids.

How to Search for Creative Commons Images

screenshot of CC search site
Last week, through Larry Ferlazzo, I learned about a new Creative Commons image search engine. The search engine is a part of the Creative Commons website. One of the best aspects of the search engine is that the results generated include a quick way to copy the correct image attribution information that you need when you use an image. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use the new Creative Commons image search engine.



If you're not sure what Creative Commons is, watch the following short video from Common Craft.



Common Craft videos can be viewed for free online but to download them or embed them you do have to be a subscriber to their service. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft which means that I have received a subscription in exchange for advising Common Craft on some product offerings.

Valentine's Day Math, Science, and Philosophy Lessons

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Whether you buy into the "holiday" or not, your students probably do. Here are three short video lessons related to Valentine's Day.

The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friends who teach middle school and high school health classes.


The following fun video, also from It's Okay to Smart, attempts to use math to determine the odds of a 25 year old woman finding love in New York. (Remember, the video is just for fun).



Why Do We Love? is a TED-Ed lesson that explores some philosophies on why people love. The lesson won't provide you with any clear answers, but it will make you think. And isn't that what philosophers want you to do?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

View Animals and Their Ranges Through WWF Apps

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) offers a neat app and corresponding website for learning about animals around the world. The WWF Together app (available for iPad and some Android devices) features interactive stories about endangered animals around the world. Each of the interactive stories includes beautiful images and videos, facts about the animals and their habitats, and the threats to each of the animals.

WWF Wildfinder is an interactive map through which you can see the distribution of more than 26,000 animals around the world. You can browse the map, search by region and ecosystem, or search for a specific animal. When you find an animal on the map you can open a tab of information about its habitat, whether or not its population is threatened, and view pictures of the animal.

Applications for Education
Students can explore the WWF Together app in a couple of ways. Students can choose an animal by selecting it from the menu that unfolds when the origami polar bear is tapped. Alternatively, students can find animals by spinning a globe in the app and tapping on the blue dots that represent the locations of animals. If students have location services enabled on their iPads they can quickly learn how far the animals are from where they are using their iPads.

WWF Wildfinder could be a great resource for students to explore to learn about the species native to various eco-regions of the world. I would have students attempt to make correlations between maps of the distribution of a threatened species to maps about pollution and or population density.

Practical Ed Tech Handbook - 2017 Edition

In 2015 and 2016 I published a 30 page PDF that I called the Practical Ed Tech Handbook. Those have been accessed more than 100,000 times. Today, I revised the Practical Ed Tech Handbook for 2017. Within the pages of the 30 page document you will find short reviews of my favorite tools for creating videos, the best tools communicating with parents including blogging and text messaging, and my favorite options for creating digital portfolios. The Practical Ed Tech Handbook also includes reviews of tools for recording and publishing audio files and tools for conducting formative assessments. Finally, the Practical Ed Tech Handbook includes resources for teaching digital citizenship and for helping students improve their web search skills.

The free Practical Ed Tech Handbook can be downloaded here or through the display embedded below.


The file is hosted on Box.com. If your school blocks Box.com you won't be able to see the embedded display.