Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Creative Storm - A Student Video Contest

Creative Storm 2022 is the title of the latest Next Vista for Learning video contest. Like previous Next Vista contests, this one 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.

Entries into Next Vista's Creative Storm video contest must be received by December 16th. There is a small bonus for those who submit their entries by November 18th. Contest winners receive Amazon gift cards and the pride of showcasing their videos for a larger audience. Complete contest rules and instructions can be read here

Take a look at this video made by a Kindergarten class or any of the previous contest's finalists here for some inspiration.

And for some ideas and instruction on making videos take a look at Creating Animated Explanations

Monday, October 3, 2022

The DMCA Scam Returns in the Form of Nationwide Legal Services

As you may recall, last spring I unravelled a scam in which someone pretending to be an attorney sent out phony DMCA takedown notices. That scam was centered around a website that pretended to be the law firm of Arthur Davidson Legal. Eventually, that website was suspended by its web hosting company. Well it appears that scam has popped-up again. This time in the form of a website that pretends to be the law firm of Nationwide Legal in Austin, Texas. 

Over the weekend I got an email from someone pretending to be a trademark attorney with the law firm of Nationwide Legal. I won't link to it, but you can find it at nationwidelaw (dot) org. The email had all of the same tell-tale signs of being a fraud as the previous scam that employed a website pretending to be the law firm of Arthur Davidson. Those signs include not actually addressing me by name and not asking for anything other than a link to some shady website. Take a look at the screenshot of the email below and see what other signs of a scam you can spot. 


Other signs of the scam:

When I went to the website, I found the picture of the person who pretends to be "Alicia Weber, Trademark Attorney." I then did a reverse image search of her picture and found that she also goes by the name of Maria and is a professor of history at MetaTeaching and appears on dozens of other websites. 

A variation on the same attorney website domain has already been suspended by its host. And once I report this one to its hosting company, I'm sure it will also be suspended. 

The lessons!

1. If you get an email from someone claiming to be an attorney, don't believe it if they can't even bother to address you by name. 

2. Don't be a sleazy, lazy scammer.

Using Focusable as a Progress Journal

Disclosure: Focusable is an advertiser on my websites.

About a month ago I started using Focusable to help me focus on my work even when I really didn’t want to. That includes working on a particularly frustrating project that I have to get done. The project is rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website from the ground up. That includes rebuilding and or editing some databases and doing a lot of quality assurance checks. The work is rather tedious, frustrating, and something I’d just pay someone else to do if I could.

I started using Focusable to help me focus on the work of rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website. It has helped a lot! I’ve gotten more done in the last few weeks than I did all summer. Last week while recording my reflection in between time blocks in Focusable I realized that I was journaling my progress. In each reflection I was stating what I had just tried and what I was going to try next.

When I start to work on my project again today after a weekend away from it, I’ll watch my last Focusable reflection video to remind myself of where I was when I stopped and where I need to start the next step of the project.

Applications for Education
Focusable was built for the purpose of helping students learn how to focus on their work while ignoring distractions. An ancillary benefit of using Focusable is creating a little journal to document progress on a project. If you give students a little direction like “state what worked and what didn’t,” they can use Focusable to develop the skill of focusing while also documenting their progress on a project. You can then use your Focusable teacher account to view your students’ progress.

See A Great Tool to Help Students Learn to Focus for a complete overview of how Focusable works.

Webinar This Week - Search Strategies Students Need to Know

Many students will spend just a minute or two looking at search results before declaring, "Google has nothing on this." If you have ever had a student say that to you, you know that they think of search as a function and not a process. In a webinar this Thursday I'll teach you how to get students to approach search as a process and employ a variety of strategies to discover new information. 

During Search Strategies Students Need to Know on October 6th at 4pm ET you’ll learn the tools and strategies that students need to know to conduct good online research. Register Here!



Highlights of this webinar include:
➡ How to formulate search lessons for your students.
🔎 The alternative search tools students often overlook.
🔖 Tools and tips for organizing online research findings.
🏫 How to make your own school-safe search engine.
🤔 Why you should be on a first-name basis with your school’s librarian.

Join Live or Watch the Recording!
The live webinar is at 4pm ET on October 6th. It will be recorded for those who register in advance but cannot attend the live session. Register here!

Physical Education With a Halloween Theme

Justin Cahill runs a great blog called Keeping Kids in Motion. One of the regular features of his blog is a monthly thematic challenge. Those challenges are accompanied by printable calendars and handouts for teachers. The challenges for this month are Trick or Treat, Move Your Feet, The Pumpkin Dice Latte Challenge, and The Fitness Spooktacle.

Trick or Treat, Move Your Feet is a kids fitness challenge for the month of October (adults can do it too). There is a downloadable calendar of little workouts that you can do with your students throughout the month of October. Each workout is represented by either a jack-o-lantern, a skull, or a bat.

When students complete the Fitness is Spooktacular challenge they can receive a certificate. Certificates are available for teachers to download and print for free from the Keeping Kids in Motion blog.

Applications for Education
Keeping Kids in Motion is a blog that's great for elementary school physical education teachers as well as anyone who is looking for ideas on how to encourage kids to stay physically fit. The blog is full of ideas that can be implemented across a school and not just in the gym.