Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wind Chill and Our Perception of Cold

As I mentioned earlier this week, we've had a couple of exceptionally cold days here in Maine this week. One town near me recorded a wind chill of -36F on Tuesday. This weekend is supposed to be just as cold.  I've gone ice fishing in similar conditions without moaning about it (at least that's how I remember it). The cold got me wondering, "am I being a wimp about the cold or has my perception of cold changed?" At that line of thinking brought me back to an older Minute Earth video about perceptions of extreme weather. 

The psychology of extreme weather
Is the weather really "extreme" or is that just our impression of it? The following Minute Earth video takes on the topic of how extreme weather affects our thinking about weather patterns in general. I found the video to be interesting from a psychology perspective. The video is embedded below.



How wind chill is calculated
As I mentioned above, the wind chill was -36F earlier this week in a town near mine. Wind chill or not, that's cold! The following video explains how wind chill is calculated. The video comes from Presh Talwalkar.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

How to Enable Spell Check in Blogger

Yesterday afternoon I answered an email from an old colleague who needed a little help with a frustrating little setting in Blogger. She wanted her students to be able to spell check their weekly reflection blog posts before they published them. Her frustration was caused by the fact that Blogger doesn't have a built-in spell check setting. 

At one point Blogger had spell check built into it. Then at some point over the last five or so years it disappeared from all of the settings menus that are built into Blogger. Today, if you want to use a spell check in Blogger you have to enable spell check in your Chrome browser settings. When you've done that you'll then have a spell check function in the blog post editor in Blogger. 

Watch this short video to see how to enable a spell check option for Blogger

A New Smithsonian Learning Lab Tool for History and Art Teachers

This week the Smithsonian Learning Lab released a new tool that could be very helpful to history and art teachers. The tool is simply called Canvas (no connection to the LMS of the same name). Smithsonian Learning Lab's Canvas tool lets you build colllections of Smithsonian digitized artifacts and arrange the display of those artifacts however you like. 

The Canvas tool will work with new collections that you create in your Smithsonian Learning Lab account and it will work with your existing collections. In both cases you can select the layout for the collection, the size of the images, and the color scheme of the notes in your collection. You can also share your Canvas so that your students can view it. Complete directions for using the new Smithsonian Learning Lab Canvas can be found here. Directions for creating collections can be seen here



Applications for Education
In the announcement of the Canvas tool the Smithsonian Learning Lab provided a couple of uses for the new tool. Those uses include arranging artifacts for making side-by-side comparisons (great for art teachers/ students) and creating thematic collections that span multiple areas. This Canvas of postcards is a good example of arranging a collection thematically. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

ReadWriteThink Interactives Now Work Without Flash!

For many years ReadWriteThink offered a great collection of interactive templates for students to use to create all kinds of things including poems, story plots, timelines, compare & contrast maps, and much more. Unfortunately, the deprecation of Flash caused nearly all of the ReadWriteThink templates to stop working. That is until now!

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo's weekly Ed Tech Digest post, this morning I learned that ReadWriteThink has released updated versions of their popular student interactives. The updated versions retain all of the great aspects of the originals, but now they work without Flash. You can find all of them right here

In this video I provide a brief overview of the updated ReadWriteThink student interactives collection. The video includes a demonstration of one of my favorite templates, the Trading Card Creator.


Applications for Education
Some of the ways that the ReadWriteThink Trading Card Creator could be used by students is to create a set of trading cards about characters in a novel, to create a set of cards about people of historical significance, or to create cards about places that they're studying in their geography lessons.

Understanding Negative Temperatures

It is a very cold day here in Maine. It's not the coldest that I've experienced in Maine, but it's still not a pleasant day outside. When I let my dogs out at 5am it was -9F and when I took my daughters to school it was -1F. It was on the way to school that I my five-year-old asked, "what's negative mean?" I did my best to explain it while driving, but I'm not sure I explained it well. We'll revisit that topic at dinner tonight. 

I turned to YouTube for help in my quest to develop a better explanation of negative temperatures to my daughters. I found two videos good explanations that were helpful and whose visuals I'll probably use when I try to explain it negative temperatures to my daughters.

If you find yourself also trying to explain negative temperatures to kids, take a look at the following videos. 

Negative Numbers: An Overview is an animated video from GCF Learn Free. The video explains negative numbers in the context of temperature and in the context of money (debt). One thing for American audiences to note is that the temperatures used in the examples are expressed in Celsius. 



Understanding Positive and Negative Numbers With Temperatures is a LearnZillion video lesson for kids. This video covers the concept of negative and positive numbers in the context of temperatures on both the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales. It also explains how to write negative temperatures.



Both of these videos are just the right length and format to work well as self-paced lessons created and distributed in platforms like EDpuzzle. Here's a tutorial on how to use videos like those above in EDpuzzle.


More tools and ideas for teaching with existing videos are included in my ebook, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips