Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I'm Feeling Lucky - A Google Earth Lesson

From voyages to games to simple measuring tools, the web version of Google Earth has a lot of neat features that can help students learn about the world. One of those neat features is the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button that is found on the left hand toolbar in Google Earth. Clicking that button will take students to a randomly-selected place in the world. 

On its own the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button provides a good way for students to discover new places. That said, students learn more through the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button  if you give them a little more direction than just "click the button and look around." That's why I created a little question sheet to prompt students to do a little research about the places they discover in Google Earth via "I'm Feeling Lucky." My question sheet can be found here as a Google Doc. 

This short video demonstrates how students can explore Google Earth in more detail after clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky."



To learn more about using Google Earth in your classroom, take a look at my Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies.

Five Ways to Use Wakelet in Your Classroom

Yesterday's blog post about using Wakelet to create instructional videos got me thinking about other ways that Wakelet can be used in classrooms. Here's an overview of five ways to think about using Wakelet in your classroom. 

Create an Instructional Video



Prompt of the Day.
If you're not using a learning management system that contains an easy way to post daily prompts for your students to reply to, consider using Wakelet. You can post a prompt in the form of text, picture, or video and then have your students reply by writing a reply, recording a video, or by uploading an image. Just make sure you've enabled collaboration on your Wakelet collections.

Video collections.
Want to do more than just make a playlist in YouTube? Consider making a collection of videos in Wakelet. You can include videos from many sources besides YouTube and organize collections by theme or topic.



Organize Research
With Wakelet's browser extension it's easy to save links and files to then organize into collections for a research project. Here's a video on how to use Wakelet's browser extensions.



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow - A Great STEM Contest for Students!

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post about a topic I've covered in the past. 

The 12th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is now open for submissions until November 8th. This year the contest asks students to consider how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can be used to create change in their communities. The overall contest winners will receive a prize package that includes $100,000 in classroom technology and materials for their school. National finalists will receive $50,000 in classroom technology prizes. And state finalists receive $6,500 in prizes for their schools.

This year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest requires students and teachers to think about how STEM can be used to create change in their communities. Samsung provides an example of STEM impacting a community in the article Starving Out Hunger: Students Use STEM to Fight Food Insecurity. As you’ll see in that example as well as others, for the purpose of this contest community can refer to the area immediately around your school or it can refer to the global community. Furthermore, when you register for the contest you’ll see that it is seeking submissions that can align with U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Benefits of Contest Entry
There are other benefits to entering the contest besides the chance to win $100,000 in classroom technology. One of those is that it can help your students identify and propose solutions to problems that affect their local communities. But, as you can see from past contest finalists, the problems and solutions that students identify often have global applications. Furthermore, creating Solve for Tomorrow projects can help your students see the importance of integrating skills from science, technology, engineering, arts, and math into meaningful solutions to real world problems.

Another benefit of participating in Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest is that it can be used to help students learn how to propose solutions, plan a project, and measure the impact of the project. You’ll see that after filling out the initial application information, the second page includes the following question, “What assessments will you put in place to measure the impact of your solution (pre, during and post project) that can be presented by Spring 2022?”

Take a look at some videos of previous winners to get ideas and inspiration for this year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.

Contest Timeline
As in previous years, Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest has an initial entry deadline. This year that deadline is November 8th! State winners are chosen just ten days later!

After the initial entry deadline submissions will be judged and state winners will be announced in early December. State winners will receive one (1) Samsung Video Kit (approximate retail value $2,600) and a $6,500 prize package to be redeemed through DonorsChoose.

The state winners will then create three minute videos to demonstrate how STEM can be applied to help improve their community. The videos should show the application of a specific STEM activity/topic used to address the issue submitted in their initial entry into the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. Ten national finalists will be selected from submissions of the state winners. Judging of national finalists’ submissions will begin in February and run through April of 2022.

Initial entries are due by November 8th. It only takes a few minutes to enter today!

How to Enter!
Entry into the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest must be made by a teacher on behalf of their students. Samsung provides a comprehensive set of resources and an FAQ page for teachers to consult as they prepare to enter the contest with their students. Those resources include a sample entry form and a sheet of tips for bringing PBL (project based learning) into virtual classrooms as well as in-person classrooms.

To enter Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest you do need to register for a free account on the contest homepage. When you register you’ll answer a few short questions about your school and the project that your students envision. Once you’ve done that you’ll unlock the full project plan sheet and the scoring rubric for the contest.

Register here to enter Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, it only takes a few minutes to complete the initial entry.

How to Record an Instructional Video in Wakelet

Wakelet is an excellent tool for creating collections of bookmarks, notes, and files to share with your students. It has has a built-in video creation tool in the form of a Flipgrid integration. That integration allows you to create videos with your webcam, by recording your screen, by recording on a virtual whiteboard, or a combination of those options. You can record short instructional videos by recording with your webcam and the virtual whiteboard within Wakelet. In this short video I demonstrate how to do that. 



Applications for Education
You can use Wakelet's Flipgrid integration to create short instructional videos that you add to a collection of resources in Wakelet. Consider creating collections based on topics or units of instruction to make it easier for students to quickly find the help resources that they need when working on a homework or other assignment.

Students can also use Wakelet's Flipgrid integration to create instructional videos. I'd consider having students make short instructional videos to demonstrate their understanding of a problem solving process. I'd also consider having students make instructional videos to talk about and teach a lesson on topics their passionate about outside of school.

An Easy Way to Make an Animated Video in Canva

Last week Canva launched a new online video editing studio. I gave it a try last week and recorded a short overview of the basics of how it works. Yesterday, I spent more time diving into all of the features within Canva's video editor and found some gems. One of those gems is the ability to edit and combine stock animation clips within the frames of a larger video project. 

Canva has always had a large collection of free animated GIFs and animated video clips to add to graphics. Now you can trim those clips, combine them, and duplicate them in Canva's video editor. Doing that provides an easy way to make an animated video. The video editor will also let you add audio to accompany the animations that you combine in Canva. Watch this short demonstration to see how I made a short animated video with Canva's new video editor studio. 


Applications for Education
Creating an animated video with stock footage from Canva's gallery could be a good way for students to bring their writing to life. Another way to think about using this is to have students create animations to illustrate science concepts in a manner similar to PhET simulations. Canva is designed for online collaboration and so students can work in pairs to edit their videos together.