Friday, November 4, 2022

Get Ready for The Great Thanksgiving Listen 2022

During Tuesday night's episode of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions the topic of audio recording came up. That prompted me to go on a little bit of a tangent (as I'm prone to doing) about The Great Thanksgiving Listen hosted by StoryCorps. 

The Great Thanksgiving Listen hosted by StoryCorps is back for the eigth year in a row. This annual event is intended to get people to record audio stories with family and friends. The Great Thanksgiving Listen was originally developed to get high school students to record the stories of their parents, grandparents, and other older family members. It has expanded over the years to be open to anyone who wants to participate.

StoryCorps has always provided materials to help students and teachers get involved in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Some of those resources include a video overview of how to use the StoryCorps Connect platform to remotely record stories. If students can record in-person, the StoryCorps mobile app is a good recording tool to use. Resources for teachers include lesson plans, handouts, and even letters and a permission slip that you can send home to help explain the project to parents.

Applications for Education 
I love Thanksgiving and I love oral histories. I would have my students participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen as a way to have them gather local history stories in the context of personal stories. Before The Great Thanksgiving Listen came along I did this kind of project with a social studies class by having them use VoiceThread to record their parents' and grandparents' stories about going to our local county fair.

This video provides little tip about recording that makes post-production a little easier. It's one you'll want to teach to your students before they record for The Great Thanksgiving Listen. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Why We Procrastinate and Tips to Stop Doing It

I meant to write about this a few days ago. TED-Ed recently published a new lesson that tackles an issue that most of us have dealt with at one time or another. That issue is procrastination. 

Why You Procrastinate Even When It Feels Bad is a TED-Ed lesson that explains why people procrastinate. It does a great job of explaining the biggest psychological cause of procrastination. That cause being the fight-or-flight response in our brains to tasks that we perceive as difficult or otherwise stress-inducing. The lesson explains why we procrastinate when faced with a task that actually isn't that difficult once we get started. 

The end of Why You Procrastinate Even When It Feels Bad includes a couple of tips for breaking procrastination habits. Those tips include breaking tasks into smaller pieces and journaling about the feelings associated with a task that are causing you to avoid it. That's essentially what Focusable helps you do. I've been using Focusable since September and it has helped me avoid procrastinating on some difficult tasks. Read this blog post to learn more about how Focusable can help you avoid procrastination. 

Applications for Education
Helping students identify what it is about an assignment that's causing them to avoid it could go a long way toward helping the get started on the process of completing it. This TED-Ed lesson can help them understand why they're avoiding academic assignments. A tool like Focusable can help students get started on those assignments they perceive as difficult and help them journal their thoughts about it.

ICYMI - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions

A couple of nights ago Rushton Hurley and I resumed our Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions series. We were joined by a handful of fine folks and even more people were registered to join us. If you missed our live broadcast, you can now watch the recording and find all of the associated links right here on Next Vista for Learning. The recording is also available to view here on Rushton's YouTube channel and as embedded below. 

Make believe bonus points for anyone who recognizes the shirt I'm wearing and knows the year it's from. Email me if you know or if you want to know. 

We'll be hosting the next episode of this series on December 6th. Watch this page for updated registration information. Until then feel free to email me or Rushton with your questions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

A New Primary Source Crowd-sourcing Project from the Library of Congress

By the People is a crowd-sourcing project that enlists the help of the public to transcribe thousands of primary source documents that are housed by and have been scanned by the Library of Congress. Over the years there have been collections of documents from the American Civil War, papers from the American Revolution, presidential papers, documents about suffrage, and documents about the integration of Major League Baseball. A collection of nearly 6,000 documents written by President James A. Garfield is the latest addition to By the People.

Today, James Garfield is one of the lesser-known former Presidents of the United States. That's partly due to his short time in office before he was assassinated in 1881. His papers in the By the People collection provide insight into who he was and what he thought about a wide range of topics from business to marriage to politics.

Applications for Education
Anyone can participate in the LOC's By the People project to transcribe documents in the Garfield collection of notes and diaries. Having high school students attempt to transcribe some of the documents could be a good way for them to learn about the 20th President of the United States and learn about the value of primary sources. 

To get started transcribing documents in the the By the People project simply go to the collection and choose a document. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review. A demonstration of the process is included in the video below.

How to Make Multimedia Maps on Padlet

Geography Awareness Week is coming up in a couple of weeks. In preparation for my favorite academic week of the year, I've recorded an updated tutorial on how to make multimedia maps with Padlet

Padlet is one of the most versatile tools you can put in your digital toolbox. Creating multimedia maps is just one of the many things that you can do with Padlet. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate creating a multimedia map by using Padlet's built-in maps. The video also covers how to share your Padlet maps, how to add collaborators to the map, and settings you need to know before inviting students to be collaborators on your Padlet maps. 

Applications for Education
In the video above I used Padlet to create a multimedia map of the birthplaces of U.S. Vice Presidents. Your students can do a similar thing for any list of famous (or not so famous) people that you give to them. 

During Geography Awareness Week creating multimedia maps in Padlet could be a good way to help students develop an understanding of where places are relative to each other. For a little deeper lesson on geography awareness, give students a list of places to locate and then list in the placemarks aspects of the five themes of geography for each place.