Friday, June 1, 2018

Now You Can Duplicate Your Sites in New Google Sites

The "new" version of Google Sites (it has been out for two years now) has seen a steady increase in features over the last six months. Many of those features are things that existed in the old version of Google Sites and are now available in the new version. The latest feature it make it over from the old Google Sites to the new version is the option to duplicate a site.

Duplicating a Google Site will let you make an exact copy of an existing site and have it reside at a new URL. To do this just open the "more" menu (the little menu just to the left of the publish button) and click "duplicate." You can then change the name of the duplicated site. Your duplicated site won't be live on the web until you click the publish button on it.

Applications for Education
Duplicating a site could be a convenient option to use at the beginning of a school year. If you spent the previous school year maintaining a site and you're happy with the look and content, you could re-use it by duplicating it and then just updating parts of it through the year.

Duplicate sites could also be helpful for testing a new design or new feature without impacting your primary site. In other words, you can use the duplicate as a test site.

Three Good Resources for Learning About the Science of Baseball

Watching a Red Sox game or listening to one on the radio is one of my favorite things to do on a warm summer night like we're having tonight in Maine. During the pregame show this evening the broadcasters were talking about the launch angle of some of the homeruns hit by Red Sox players this year. That discussion of launch angle triggered my memory of some resources that I've shared over the years regarding the math and science of baseball.

Anatomy of a Pitch
ESPN's Sport Science has a handful of little resources about the science of baseball. Currently featured on ESPN's homepage is a Anatomy of a Pitch. In Anatomy of a Pitch seven pitchers from the Arizona Diamondbacks explain how they throw their signature pitches. Each explanation includes slow motion footage and the pitchers explaining the release points, finger positioning, leg uses, and rotations involved in each their pitches.

Science of Baseball
Exploratorium has a little feature called the Science of Baseball. The Science of Baseball is a bit dated in its looks, but it still has some nice resources that can help students understand how a bit of science and mathematics is involved in the game. The Science of Baseball includes video and audio clips of baseball players and scientists explaining how the weather affects the flight of the ball, the physics of various pitches, and reaction times to thrown and batted baseballs.

Physics of Baseball
This resource from PBS Learning Media is a lesson for students in high school. The lesson uses the context of baseball to teach about aerodynamics, energy transfer, and vibration.

Turning Milk Into Cheese - A Science Lesson

Reactions is a fantastic YouTube channel that science teachers should bookmark. Reactions is produced by PBS Digital Studios and the American Chemical Society. The purpose of the channel is to teach viewers about the role of chemistry in the things they may see in everyday life. For example, earlier this year they produced a video about the chemistry of gluten and a couple of weeks ago they published a video that explains how milk becomes cheese.


Try one of these tools to make a flipped lesson based on this video.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Why Do We Itch? - A Science Lesson

Summer here in northern New England brings long and sunny days that make us forget about the short and frigid days of winter. Those sunny days come with a catch. That catch is blooming poison ivy and biting insects that make us itch. But what really makes us itch? Is there any way to avoid itching? And how can you make those itchy feelings go away? Those questions and more are answered in the video Why Do We Itch? recently released by It's Okay To Be Smart.


Applications for Education
We've all heard of various home remedies for itchy skin and your students probably have too. Before watching this video have students share some of those home remedies. Then have them watch the video and see if the science matches what their home remedies are supposed to do.

Reminder - The End is Near for TodaysMeet

In case you missed the news at the end of April, one of my all-time favorite services is shutting down on June 16th. On that day TodaysMeet will go offline. For almost a decade TodaysMeet was the go-to tool for teachers who wanted to create a backchannel discussion forum for their students. I used in my classroom, in classrooms that I visited, and in conference settings. On June 16th I and everyone else who enjoyed TodaysMeet will have to find an alternative. These are the alternatives that I like:

Tozzl
This tool is no longer available. February - 2020
Tozzl is a chat platform that allows you to quickly create private, password-protected message boards as well as public boards. To get started visit Tozzl and select "create a new Tozzl." Then you can name your message board and set a privacy password (optional). Tozzl assigns a new, unique URL to each message board. On your message board you can add sections for chat, file sharing, to-do lists, and YouTube videos. You can also import the feed of a Twitter hashtag into your Tozzl boards.



Backchannel Chat
This is a service that provides exactly what its name implies. On Backchannel Chat you can create a free backchannel room (AKA chat room) in which you can post comments and questions for your students to respond to. Your students can respond in realtime. Students can ask you and their classmates questions within the confines of your Backchannel Chat room. The free version of Backchannel Chat limits you to 30 participants at a time.

GoSoapBox
GoSoapBox allows you to have your audience respond to questions through their laptops, tablets, and phones. Polls and Discussion in GoSoapBox are the meat and potatoes of the service. The Polls tool allows you to survey your audience by having them select an answer choice in response to a question. The Discussions tool allows you to have audience members reply to open-ended questions. One of the simplest yet effective survey options in GoSoapBox is a tools called a Confusion Meter. The Confusion Meter allows members of your audience to simply say, "yes, I get it" or "no, I don't get it." The Confusion Meter, like all of the GoSoapBox survey tools, can accept anonymous feedback. You can use the Social Q&A tool in GoSoapBox to have students submit their questions to you. Students can see each other's question submissions and vote them up if they want to.