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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The End of Daylight Saving Time is Near...for this year

This coming Saturday night is the end of Daylight Saving Time for this year in North America. I'm excited to turn the clocks back one hour because it means the sunrise will be earlier in the day. As someone who gets up at 5am or earlier every day and lives in a northern latitude, I welcome the change as I'll see the sun an hour earlier. And as the dad of two little kids I welcome the time change in autumn because it means there's a chance my kids will sleep in and I'll get some extra time to drink my coffee in silence on Sunday morning. 

As I do almost every time Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, I have gathered together a handful of short video explanations about why we have Daylight Saving Time. Take a look and see if there is one that can help you explain Daylight Saving Time to your students. 

National Geographic has two videos titled Daylight Saving Time 101. The first one, published in 2015, is a bit more upbeat than the second one that was published in 2019. Both versions are embedded below. 





The Telegraph has a 90 second explanation of Daylight Saving Time. The video doesn't have any narration so it can be watched without sound.



CGP Grey's video explanation of Daylight Saving Time is still a good one even if it isn't as succinct as the videos above.



Has someone told you that Daylight Saving Time was ended by Congress? If so, I'm sorry to tell you that only the Senate has moved to enact law to end Daylight Saving Time. The bill hasn't reached the House and is still a long way from becoming an enacted law. WXYZ-TV in Detroit has a good explanation of the process and of the potential impact of the end of DST in northern cities like Detroit. Watch the video here or as embedded below.



TED-Ed has two lessons that aren't specifically about Daylight Saving Time but are related to the topic. First, The History of Keeping Time explains sundials, hourglasses, and the development of timezones. Second, How Did Trains Standardize Time in the United States? explains the role of railroads in the development of the timezones used in the United States (and most of Canada) today.