Monday, September 9, 2019

Diving Into Google - Learn Search Techniques from Dan Russell

Longtime followers of this blog may have picked up on my appreciation for Dan Russell's excellent Search ReSearch blog where he posts interesting search challenges designed to help readers become better web researchers. His forthcoming book, The Joy of Search, is sure to be excellent too. If you're not familiar with Dan's work or you are and you want to learn more search techniques, check out this video that he recently posted on his YouTube channel.

Diving into Google: An advanced search methods tutorial is a video of a presentation that he gave at the National Geographic Society back in 2014. The strategies and techniques he covers in the presentation are as useful today as they were five years ago. The best part of the video is that because it is the recording of a live presentation, there is time for you to try some of the techniques while you're watching the video.

On a related note, here's a challenge that I created using the framework that Dan employs: In July my three-year-old daughter found this mushroom (picture below) while we were walking in the woods near our home in Paris, Maine. I initially thought that it might be a Lobster Mushroom but it didn't look quite right so I took a picture of it with my phone so that I could look it up later. What kind of mushroom is it? (I'll post the answer later this week).

Dozens of Constitution Day Activities and Resources

Next Tuesday is Constitution Day in the United States. According to federal law all schools that receive federal funding have to teach some type of lesson about the Constitution on this day. C-SPAN, DocsTeach, and the National Constitution Center all offer either lesson plans or resources for building your own Constitution Day lesson plans.

25 Constitution Day Lesson Plans from C-SPAN Classroom
C-SPAN Classroom offers 25 lesson plans that were either designed for Constitution Day or can be used to meet the requirements of Constitution Day. All of the lesson plans incorporate short video clips addressing topics like enumerated and implied powers of Congress, interpretation of the Constitution, and checks and balances. You can find all of the lesson plans and additional resources in this Google Doc.

Constitution Hall Pass
The National Constitution Center offers an online program called the Constitution Hall Pass. The Constitution Hall Pass is a series of videos mostly featuring scholars discussing elements of the Constitution and issues relating to it. There are also a few "discussion starter" videos that are intended to get students thinking about how the Constitution can have a direct impact on their lives. I know from experience that this Freedom of Expression video and accompanying questions will get high school students talking.

DocsTeach is a National Archives website that all middle school and high school U.S. History teachers should have in their bookmarks. DocsTeach lets you build online activities based upon curated collections of primary source documents. DocsTeach also provides some pre-made activities that you can give to your students. DocsTeach has sixteen pre-made Constitution Day activities that you can use today. An additional 35 documents and artifacts about the Constitution can be found through a quick search on DocsTeach.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

How to Use the Mindful Internet Use Chrome Extension

On Friday morning I wrote about a Chrome extension called Mindful Internet Use that I recently added to my browser. The extension displays motivation quotes and asks thought-provoking questions whenever you access a time-wasting site like Facebook or stay on a time-wasting activity for too long. It's an interesting alternative to just blocking yourself from going on the sites that you tend to waste time on. In the following video I demonstrate how Mindful Internet Use works.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

2019 Fall Foliage Map - And Why Leaves Change Color

The 2019 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a feature of the website. The map displays a week-by-week prediction of when leaves in the continental United States will be changing colors from now through the end of November. You can see the predictions change by moving the timeline at the bottom of the map.

On the same page as the 2019 Fall Foliage Prediction Map there is a graph of average temperatures in the United States since 1900. The graph is accompanied by a short explanation of why leaves change colors in the fall and the relationship to air temperatures.

Applications for Education
The 2019 Fall Foliage Prediction Map doesn't tell the whole story of why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I'd use the incomplete nature of the map's explanation as a jumping-off point for students to hypothesize and investigate why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I might also have them investigate why some trees have brighter leaves than others in the fall. 

Additional Resources for Teaching and Learning About Fall Foliage
A couple of weeks ago I shared a couple of good videos that explain why leaves change colors in the fall. Those videos are included below.

For an explanation of why leaves change colors that elementary school students can understand, watch the following SciShow Kids video.

Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode #6 Featuring Dr. Scott McLeod

In the last episode of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast I mentioned that I had recently spoken with Dr. Scott McLeod about his new book, co-authored with Julie Graber, Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning. I was going to wait a few more days before publishing the conversation as a podcast, but I couldn't wait. So here it is.

I've known Scott for ten years or more. He's one of the people in the educational technology space that I've always looked up to and trusted for good advice. Our conversation for the podcast ranged beyond just talking about his new book.

You might not be familiar with Scott's written work, but there's a good chance you've seen the video that he did with Karl Fisch, Did You Know; Shift Happens. I kicked off the conversation by asking him, "what's changed since Did You Know; Shift Happens was published twelve years ago?" Give the podcast a listen to hear his response.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast can be heard on, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple PodcastsRadio Public, Breaker, and Pocket Casts. And you can find the RSS feed for it here.