Friday, October 7, 2022

Brief Explanations of Indigenous Peoples' Day and Why Some States No Longer Have Columbus Day

Monday is Indigenous Peoples' Day here in Maine. In other states it is still referred to as Columbus Day. The Daily Bellringer offers a good video that explains the history of Columbus Day and why some cities and states are now celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day instead. Watch the video on YouTube and open the description to find a set of discussion questions to ask your students.

CBC Kids News offers a good video that is simply titled The Word Indigenous. The video provides an animated explanation of what the word indigenous means when referring to people. The video also does a great job of explaining why the word indigenous is preferrable to other words. The video was created for a Canadian audience so there are some references that students in United States might not understand, but those differences do present another teaching opportunity for those of us in the United States. 



You can find many more resources for teaching about Indigenous Peoples' Day and Columbus Day in this big list curated by Larry Ferlazzo.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Three Student Video Contests

Video creation contests can be a fun way to get students thinking about academic topics and then producing videos to demonstrate their understanding of those topics. This fall I've written blog posts featuring three different video contests for students. A summary of all three is included below. 

Economic Education Video Contest

The Council for Economics Education is hosting a student video contest to promote student awareness of how economics is a part of their daily lives. 

The contest is open to students and teachers in the United States in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. To participate students and teachers should create short videos (under 60 seconds) that answer the question, "how is economics part of my everyday life?" There are three divisions in the contest. Those are K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The teachers and students producing winning videos will receive prizes in the form of American Express gift cards. 

Other than the time limit it appears that the videos can be made in any style as long as they address the question of "how is economics part of my everyday life?" Multiple entries can be made by teachers on behalf of their students. The complete contest rules can be read here (link opens a PDF). The submission deadline is October 19th. 

Creative Storm 2022

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

C-SPAN StudentCam

Every year C-SPAN hosts the StudentCam video contest for middle school and high school students in the United States. This year's version of the contest was announced yesterday. The theme of this year's contest is "If you were a newly elected member of Congress, which issue would be your first priority and why?"

The StudentCam contest is open to students in sixth through twelfth grade. There is a category for middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Students can submit individual work or work in teams of up to three members. All videos must be between five and six minutes in length. The incorporation of C-SPAN footage into the videos is required. 

The StudentCam contest is open to students in the United States. The contest deadline is January 20, 2023. All videos must include some C-SPAN footage. This year more than $100,000 in prizes will be awarded. Complete contest rules can be found here and the prize list can be found here. There are prizes for students as well as for teachers. 

Tools for Creating Videos

If you're looking for ideas for how you and your students can produce videos for these contests, take a look at my recently updated big list of tools for classroom video projects

Everything You Need to Know About Computer Monitors

Back when I taught computer repair we got all kinds of old computers and monitors donated to our classroom. One of the seemingly never-ending challenges was matching monitors with computers. That was particularly true when my students would be confronted by units that had only VGA or DVI inputs. And there was always an conversation that included phrases like "this monitor is so old" and "can this monitor work with this input?" All that to say, I ended up spending time at the start of the course explaining various monitors and connections. I wish I had had Monitors Explained by PowerCert Videos back then. 

Monitors Explained by PowerCert Videos provides an excellent overview of monitor types, panel types, refresh rates, contrast ratios, and response time. 



Applications for Education
This video is obviously helpful for students who are in some type of computer repair class. It's also good to watch from the perspective of becoming an informed consumer before purchasing your next computer monitor.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Tutorials for Getting Started With the Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Smithsonian Learning Lab allows teachers to create and search for documents, images, videos, interactive animations, and lesson plans from a wide range of Smithsonian-hosted resources. It also lets you create collections to share with others as well as create assignments to give to your students. To start the new school year The Smithsonian published a collection of new tutorial videos that teach you how to collect, customize, and share collections of resources in the Smithsonian Learning Lab. You can watch all of those videos here. I've embedded a couple of them below. 





Applications for Education
The Smithsonian Learning Lab's collections feature on its own is great, but the collections are better when you can share them with others. In the Smithsonian Learning Lab you can create a classroom. Students join your classroom by entering the password that you choose for your classroom. Once students have joined your classroom you can share resources with them. You can also distribute assignments to students through your Smithsonian Learning Lab classroom.

How to Create Green Screen Videos in Canva

A couple of weeks ago Canva held an event to announce a bunch features that were going to be added over the coming months. One of those features is now available in the form of a background remover for video clips. Just like you can use Canva to remove image backgrounds you can now use Canva to remove the background from your video clips. 

By using Canva's background remover and video editor you can now create green screen videos even if you don't have an actual green screen to record in front of. Now you can simply record a video clip, upload it to your Canva account, and then use the built-in editor to remove the video's background. Once you've replaced your video's background you can replace it with any stock image available in Canva or any image that you own and upload to your Canva account. 

Watch my short that is embedded below to learn how to create a green screen video in Canva





You can find even more Canva tutorials in my playlist of more than 45 Canva tutorials.

Applications for Education
As someone who spent years teaching world geography classes, one of my favorite uses of green screens is to have students create "on location" video reports about places they've researched. Canva's new video editing options can make that process easier than ever before.