Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Library of Congress Poses a Search Challenge for Anyone to Try

In the 2019-20 Practical Ed Tech Handbook I included a section about creating image-based search challenges for students. The idea behind giving students image-based search challenges is to provide them with some prompts that force them to use all available clues and tools in order to arrive at the correct answers. That concept is taken to the extreme in a new "contest" presented by the Library of Congress. I put contest in quotes because there are not any prizes other than the joy of being right.

Who Am I? Mystery Photo Contest is a blog post that appeared on Monday on the Library of Congress's blog. The blog post contains nine pictures of people that the LOC needs help identifying. The only clues provided are that the images are publicity stills from the library's moving image section and that performing a reverse image search did not yield and matches.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a difficult search challenge activity to use with your students, the LOC's Who Am I? Mystery Photo Contest could be just what you need. Students will have to string together as many clues as possible in order to get to arrive at an answer.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Creative Bridge - A Next Vista for Learning Video Contest

I have been a fan and supporter of Next Vista for Learning for the last decade. Next Vista is a video site for students and teachers to share video lessons with other students and teachers. Videos submitted to Next Vista are reviewed for accuracy before they appear on the site. Speaking of videos on the site, one of the ways that Next Vista acquires new submissions is through student and teacher video contests.

The latest Next Vista for Learning video contest is called Creative Bridge and it is now open for submissions. Submissions will be accepted until midnight on December 13th. Submissions received by November 15th receive bonus points. The contest is open to students and teachers. There is a category for student-produced videos, a category for teacher-produced videos, and a category for videos created through the collaborative efforts of teachers and students. Regardless of the category, all videos must teach a lesson in 90 seconds or less. The lesson can be about almost any concept a person would learn about in elementary, middle, or high school. Take a look at this video made by a Kindergarten class or any of the previous contest's finalists here for some inspiration.

Contest winners receive iTunes gift cards and the pride of showcasing their videos for a larger audience.

Complete Creative Bridge contest rules and guidelines are available here.

Google Forms Features You Should Know How to Use - Video

After Google Earth, Google Forms is the Google product that I get the most excited about helping other teachers use. From gathering survey data to organizing event registration to creating online quizzes there are lots of things that can be done efficiently if you know how to use Google Forms. That said, Google Forms has lots of little features that are sometimes overlooked even by people who have made lots of forms in Google Forms. In the following video I demonstrate five features of Google Forms that every teacher should know how to use (if they use Google Forms).

The add-on that I mentioned at the end of the video is called Certify'em. My tutorial on how to use is is embedded below.

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Mind Maps, Rubrics, and Cats - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where the sun is setting on a busy month of September. Between webinars, working on a book, and taking over a computer science program the posting here was a little less frequent than usual. I still managed to publish more than 60 new posts. It will get back up to my usual 85-95 posts in October.

These were the most popular posts in September:
1. Ten Free Tools for Creating Mind Maps and Flowcharts - Updated for 2019-20
2. My Top Twelve Tools for Social Studies Teachers and Students
3. How to Avoid the Google Calendar Scheduling Mistake I Keep Making
4. Ten Google Product Updates for Teachers to Note
5. Ten Sites & Apps to Help Students Learn New Vocabulary Words - Updated for 2019-20
6. My Top 5 Google Tools for Social Studies Teachers and Students
7. How to Use Rubrics in Google Classroom
8. 15 Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12
9. Fraidy Cats' Book of Courage - An eBook of Writing Prompts
10. 5 Features of Google's Advanced Search Menu

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What's in Pumpkin Spice?

Walk into a Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, or Tim Horton's at this time of year and you're bombarded with offerings for pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that! According to this CNBC report pumpkin spice is a $600 million flavor.

What's in the pumpkin spice that so many people love? That question is in this SciShow Kids video. Before answering that question the video explains what spices and herbs are and how they are combined to create flavors. Click here to watch the video or watch it as embedded below.