Sunday, April 15, 2018

DIY Solar Updraft Tower - A Hands-on Elementary Science Lesson

SciShow Kids has a playlist of videos titled Super Simple Machines. The videos in that playlist feature explanations and demonstrations of simple machines that students could make in your classroom. One of those videos is Spin a Wheel With Sunlight.

By watching Spin a Wheel With Sunlight students can learn how solar energy can be transferred through a solar updraft tower. The video provides clear directions on how students can make their own solar updraft towers with materials commonly found in classrooms or homes. In the example in the video, the solar updraft tower makes a pinwheel spin.

By Request - Life on Minimum Wage Simulation

Last week I received a handful of requests for the Google Docs version of my Life on Minimum Wage economics game. While I no longer grant print or edit access to my public Google Docs, I do make PDFs of my documents available to download through Box.com.

The purpose of Life on Minimum Wage is for students to recognize how difficult it is to save money when your only job(s) pay minimum wage without benefits. To win at Life on Minimum Wage the students have to reach five financial goals that they select. To earn money the students have to complete the tasks of their assigned jobs. The students then have to pay required bills before using money for their selected financial goals. As the game progresses students will be issued "surprise" cards which require them to spend money on things like speeding tickets, trips to a health clinic, and increases in rent.

All of the jobs in Life on Minimum Wage are connected so that if one "business" slows production or closes, the workers of another business are also effected. The goal here is to demonstrate the effects of a business closing on a small town's economy.

The PDF is embedded below. You can also access it here on Box.com.



(Note, before you email me about the Browning rifle goal card in Life on Minimum Wage, please understand that these were goals chosen by my students in a rural community in which hunting is a way of life for many students. You're welcome to change that card for use in your own classroom).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

My Go-to Tool for Making Stop Motion Movies

Update October 2020: This resource is no longer available. 

This evening I received an email from a reader who was looking for a free tool to use to have his students make stop-motion videos. (By the way, I get emails from readers every day and I try to answer all of them). JellyCam is the free tool that have recommended for years and still recommend for making stop-motion videos on Mac and Windows computers.

JellyCam is free software for creating stop motion movies. Using JellyCam you can create stop motion movies using images from your computer or images that you capture via your webcam. Once you've selected images you can quickly arrange them into a sequence. After the sequence is set you can specify how many images you want per frame. A soundtrack can be uploaded to your video.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use JellyCam.

Spark, Parks, and Jeopardy - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where it is snowing, again. This week was a classic spring week in Maine in which we had both sunshine and snow. We're still weeks away from seeing green grass like I saw yesterday when I was in Greenwich, Connecticut where I facilitated a professional development workshop.

Speaking of professional development, I only have a handful of days left in my summer calendar for school and conference workshops. If you're interested in having me lead a professional development workshop at your school, please get in touch by sending an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com or by using the contact form here.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Adobe Launches Spark for Education
2. Jungle Jeopardy - A Game About Ecosystems
3. NASA's Interactive Guide to the Solar System
4. Sympathy for Padlet
5. An Animated Map of the Rise and Fall of Communism
6. National Geographic Publishes Fun Facts About All National Parks
7. 5 Alternatives to Padlet

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Click here to book me today.

Online Professional Development
On PracticalEdTech.com I offer on-demand professional development webinars and courses. There are significant discounts for groups who enroll in G Suite for Teachers or Teaching History With Technology.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
MySimpleShow offers a great way to create animated videos for free.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
QuickKey provides an efficient way to conduct online and in-person formative assessments.

Tube - A Distraction-free Way to Search and Watch YouTube

Tube is a new tool providing a minimalist view of YouTube. When you go to Tube all you will see is "Tube," a disclaimer, a link to the developer's Twitter account, and a search box. Enter your search terms into the Tube search box and a list of results appears below it without showing any advertising or other sidebar content. When you click one of the videos in the search results it is displayed nearly full-screen on a plain white background.

Applications for Education
If you have ever wanted to show a YouTube video in your classroom but got discouraged by "related" videos or advertisements in the sidebar, Tube is a tool that you should try. Tube won't remove advertisements that are played within the video itself, but it does hide everything else.

A few similar tools that I also like are Quietube, ViewPure, and Watchkin.