Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Tips & Tricks for Using Zoom and Google Meet - Free Webinar Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 5pm ET/ 2pm PT Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning is hosting the next installment of his Activities Across Grade Levels series. Tomorrow's free webinar is all tips for improving your use of Zoom and Google Meet with students. You can register for the webinar here. Recordings of all previous installments in the series can be seen here.

You can get a sense of what the Activities Across Grade Levels webinars are like by watching last week's episode. Last week's episode was about simple video editing. The recording of that episode is embedded below.

Jamboard + Screencastify = Whiteboard Video

Yesterday morning someone on Twitter asked me for a recommendation for making a whiteboard video in a web browser without using Seesaw. (By the way, here's how to do it Seesaw). My suggestion was to try using Screencastify to record over the free drawing space provided by Google's online version of Jamboard. The online version of Jamboard is free unlike the physical product of the same name that Google sells. Here's a video of how that process works.


One of the benefits of using Jamboard for this kind of video is that when you are done you can share the Jamboard images with your students. You could even share the Jamboard via Google Classroom so that students have a copy of the process that you demonstrated while making your video.

How to Use Pictures in Google Forms

After last week's post on five overlooked features of Google Forms quizzes I received a few questions about using pictures in quizzes. Specifically, folks were having trouble with pictures not matching to questions when they enabled the shuffle question order option. The solution to that problem is to insert the image into the question itself rather than inserting the image as a stand-alone item above the question.

In the following video I demonstrate how to insert pictures into questions in Google Forms and how to insert pictures into answer choices in Google Forms.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Video: The Solar System to Scale

I guess I've been a bit of a space kick lately as over the weekend I shared an augmented reality app about spacecraft and yesterday I featured the NASA selfies app. This morning I found an interesting video about creating a true-to-scale model of the solar system. The video is titled To Scale: The Solar System.

To Scale: The Solar System begins by explaining why most pictures (like the one in the featured image in this post) and models of the solar system are not accurate. From there the video transitions into documenting how a small group of people made a scale model of the solar system in Black Rock Desert in Nevada. After building the model they then drove around the orbits of each planet with a light to show just how far apart the planets are, how big their orbits are, and how long each orbit actually is. When video gets to placing the model of Neptune you really get an appreciation for the size and scale of solar system. Once the model is built the builders offer an explanation of how they know their model is correct (click here to jump to that segment). Finally, the video concludes with some clips of astronauts talking about what Earth looks like from space.


Applications for Education
One of the YouTube comments below this video reads, "I had to watch this for school and I actually found something that my teacher told me to watch interesting." I think that statement will be true for many other students as the video is fantastic.

There's potential for using this video in mathematics classes to talk about scale and calculating the relative size of objects as well as calculating relative distance between objects.

Expedition Everest - 360 Video from National Geographic

National Geographic has one of my favorite YouTube channels. I've been fascinated with Mount Everest for as long as I can remember That's why I was excited yesterday when Nat Geo published a new 360 video about a scientific expedition to Mount Everest.

Expedition Everest: The Mission is a five minute overview and introduction to a scientific expedition to Mount Everest. The purpose of the expedition is to study the effects of climate change on glaciers on the world's tallest mountains.

When you watch Expedition Everest: The Mission in your computer's web browser, you can click and drag to move the viewing angle while listening to the narration. If you have a VR viewer, watch the video in that and you can move your head to explore the immersive imagery while listening to the narration.



National Geographic has some companion photographs of the expedition available on their website, but they're only available to paid National Geographic subscribers. If you don't have a subscription, check with your school's librarian to see if your school has a subscription for student access.

On a related note, Google Expeditions includes a terrific tour of Mount Everest base camp. If you're not familiar with how to use Google Expeditions, take a look at this video.