Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Feel Better, Teach Better in 2019 #EdTechFitness

I announced this on my YouTube channel, on Twitter, and on my Facebook page yesterday. If you don't follow me there, here it is. I started a new site for 2019. The site is called Ed Tech Fitness and I created it mostly as an accountability tool for myself to make better health and fitness choices in the new year. But I would love to have company in my quest to get back to eating well and exercising regularly. That's why I created this Flipgrid grid and included it in the Ed Tech Fitness site.

Here's a video about EdTechFitness.com. Here's the first post on the new site.

The Science of Snow and Ice

How to Survive the Snow and Ice is a new compilation video published on the Reactions YouTube channel. The video features segments about how snow (both natural and man-made) is formed, how ice is made, why saltwater takes longer to freeze than freshwater, and why kitty litter is better than regular sand for getting traction on ice.

I spent the morning skiing and playing in the snow with my daughters. That's how we survive the snow and ice. If you're looking for some outdoor activities to do in the snow, take a look at this list.

Here are three more videos about the science of snow and ice:
How to Make Snow (If You're Not Elsa) is a short video produced by SciShow that explains how snow is made at ski resorts by using cooled water and compressed air.

Reactions, a YouTube channel that produces lots of science videos, has a short video that explains how snowflakes are naturally created.

The National Science Foundation has a neat video that explains how high speed cameras capture images of snowflakes forming. The video then goes on to explain why some snow is light and fluffy while other snow feels wet and heavy. (Jump to the 4:25 mark to get to the section about the formation of snowflakes).

Three Chrome Extensions That Help Students Stay on Task

If you or your students need a little help staying on task when working online, try one of these Chrome extensions to help limit distractions whenever a new tab is opened. A video overview of these three extensions is included below.

StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that lets you specify the sites that you want to block from yourself or limit your time spent viewing. After you set your time limit and list of sites you'll see a countdown timer for the amount of time that you have left to view that site for the next 24 hours.

ReCall Study Time is a Chrome extension for limiting the amount of time you spend on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. When you have ReCall Study Time enabled you will see a huge reminder to get back to work if you try to open one of those five social media sites.

FlashTabs is a free Chrome extension that will display flashcards whenever you open a new Chrome tab. The thing that I like about FlashTabs is that it is easy to create your own flashcards to have displayed in your new tabs.

It's Public Domain Day!

Happy New Year! This new year is important because many many copyrighted works are entering the public domain. Copyrighted works published in 1923 are entering the public domain today. That's hundreds of thousands of images, sounds, novels, short stories, and poems! It has been twenty years since the last big batch of works has entered the public domain. Smithsonian magazine has a great article that explains why 1998 was the last time there was a mass expiration of copyright. The short version is "blame Disney."

On the topic of public domain, I recently published this guide to finding and using media in classroom projects.

Monday, December 31, 2018

These Chrome Extensions Show Vocabulary Words When You Open New Tabs

Opening a new Chrome tab so that you can check Facebook for "just a minute" is a dangerous game. If it's not Facebook it could be any number of equally time-sucking sites like Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube. In the past I've suggested using Recall Study Time to see a reminder whenever a new Chrome tab is opened. That extension just shows you a reminder to get back on task. Another option is to try one of the following extensions that show you a vocabulary word or review question whenever a new Chrome tab is opened.

New Tab Quizlet is a Chrome extension that will display a flashcard from your Quizlet sets whenever you open a new tab. If you have questions on your cards, you'll see the question and answer. If you have vocabulary words on your cards, you'll see the word and definition.

FlashTabs is a Chrome extension that will show you one of your flashcards whenever you open a new tab. FlashTabs does require that you create your flashcards on their site. When you open a new tab you will see one of the flashcard questions. The answer is only revealed when you choose to see it. FlashTabs is probably a better choice for those who don't have Quizlet accounts.

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