Friday, September 18, 2020

GCF Learn Free - Excellent Tutorials for Computer Science Basics

 

GCF Learn Free is a website and YouTube channel that I discovered this week when looking for some new tutorial videos to post in Google Classroom for my PC repair class and for my Intro to Computer Science class. Based on the number of subscribers GCF Learn Free has, I appear to be late to the party in "discovering" this great resource. 

On GCF Learn Free you'll find dozens of tutorials on basic topics related to computer science. This week I shared the Inside a Computer video with my PC repair students. Today, I shared GCF Learn Free's video about algorithms with my Intro to Computer Science students.  What I liked about the videos is the brevity and clarity. Both videos gave students just enough information to remind them of the lessons that I taught in class. 

 

How to Make a Similar Video

Both of the videos featured above are made using clip art and simple animations that you can find in Google Slides, PowerPoint, and Keynote. Record those slides with a screencasting tool and you have a simple animated video. In this video I demonstrate that process. 

How to Protect Privacy When Publishing Recordings of Virtual Meetings

During yesterday's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff someone asked for a suggestion on how to blur or mask students' faces when publishing the recording of a Zoom class meeting. My suggestion was to upload the recording to YouTube and then use the automatic blurring tool built into YouTube's video editor. The automatic blurring tool will automatically detect faces in the video and blur them out for the entirety of the video. Alternatively, you can use the blurring tool to selectively blur faces and or objects in your video. 

Here's my video on how to use the automatic blurring function in YouTube. 

 
Alternative Solutions: 
If you don't want to or can't use YouTube, you could import your Zoom recording into a video editor like WeVideo or iMovie and then selectively blur or hide faces. Doing it that way would take a lot more time than using the automatic blurring tool in YouTube.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

How to Add Co-Teachers to Google Classroom

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who wanted to know if I had a video about what a substitute teacher added to Google Classroom can do in the Classroom. I didn't have a video about that so I made this short one. In this new video I demonstrate how to add a co-teacher to Google Classroom, how that co-teacher accepts the invitation, and how you can remove a co-teacher from Google Classroom.

The important take-aways from this video are:
1. A co-teacher can only be added if he/she has an email account in the same G Suite domain as you.
2. A co-teacher can do everything you can except delete/ archive the classroom.
3. You can remove a co-teacher from the classroom.

Resources for Teaching and Learning About the Colorful Leaves of Fall

 Autumn is my favorite time of year. So much so that I wanted to name my younger daughter Autumn (vetoed by her mother). The crisp air, the smells of apple harvest, the colors of spawning brook trout, and the colors of leaves are just a few things that I enjoy about fall. All that to say, it's time for my annual posting of resources for teaching and learning about the transition from summer into fall.

The 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a feature of the SmokyMountains.com 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. 

The 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.

Videos
Reactions is a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society. I've featured a handful or more of their videos over the years. This video from Reactions explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees create the red, yellow, and brown of fall foliage.



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



Science Filmmaking Tips (previously known as Untamed Science) offers a good, partially animated, explanation of why leaves change colors, what produces the colors, and why bright and sunny days are best for viewing red leaves. The video is embedded below.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Newspaper Navigator - A New Search Tool from the Library of Congress

This week the Library of Congress launched a new search tool called Newspaper Navigator. Newspaper Navigator is an index of 1.5 million images published in newspapers between 1900 and 1963. You can search Newspaper Navigator by keyword and then narrow your results by date and or the U.S. state in which the newspaper was published. There is a highly detailed tutorial on how to use the LOC's Newspaper Navigator right on its search page.

I gave the Newspaper Navigator a try this afternoon. It's easy to use, but I was a little disappointed in the results. It appears that the results are based on the tags associated with the images in the newspapers as opposed to the words on the pages themselves. For example, I attempted to find items from Maine newspapers related to the Clean Water Act. Not only did that search not yield any results a broader search without the specification of a state didn't yield any results. Likewise, a search for "moose" didn't yield any results.

Applications for Education
The LOC's Newspaper Navigator could be useful if you or your students are conducting a general interest search for historical photographs from newspapers. But if you're searching for something specific about a topic from a historical newspaper, you'll be better served by using the Google Newspaper Archives. Here's a video about how to search the Google Newspaper Archive.