December 2018 Newsletter
Whoosh. That’s the sound of another year zipping by. Don’t let the cool video contest opportunities below zip past you, though! Read on for more details, and then keep reading for freebies galore.
Storm’s About to Pass
That makes this a good opportunity for you to submit something that will stand a better-than-average chance of making the finalist round. Why not give it a try?
Find all the details here: http://www.nextvista.org/contests/storm18/index.phtml
Pay close attention to the rules for sources and citations, too. If we had a dollar for every video we’d received that didn’t get judged because there were no citations, or the images or music had been taken from sites not listed in the rules, we’d have some major moola to spend!
Speaking of deadlines, next Monday is the deadline for Global Student Voice Film Festival entries to get a response on whether they meet the sources and citations rules. If they pass, they’ll get some tech feedback from three participating student film program participants, which is pretty cool, too.
This year’s theme is “Activating Change,” and the video (excluding credits) should be 60 seconds or shorter. Students can use up to an additional 60 seconds for credits, showing that they used only content they created and material from sources specified in the rules. Find the rules and models for citations here.
Service to Others
Those interested in having students make videos about those who help others (charities, student service programs, etc.) should contact Rushton to get tips on entering videos for our Service via Video project.
Every year we get some wonderful videos, like the honorable mention below from Costa Rica, entered in last year’s contest:
Del Mar Academy
Find all the details here for this project to help kids know how much they can help others through some simple digital media.
Something to Sip
Some months we get lots of entries from people wanting to win the $5 Starbucks card we like to give away. Occasionally, though, no one enters, and November was just such a month. Shocking, no? Yep, had you entered, you would have won.
Rather than nag, though, let’s make an opportunity out of it. We’ll give away TWO cards this month, and if you’re the only person who enters, you’ll score $10 worth of Starbucks goodness. A serious deal, that could be.
How to make this happen? Watch the two-minute video highlighted above (or any of the ones from the Del Mar Academy last year – pura vida!) and fill out our contact form to let us know what you think of it.
image: Know Where You Come From by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash
In January, the Future of Education Technology Conference is happening January 27th-30th in Orlando, Florida. The list of sessions is a long one, and there are tracks for educators, administrators, early learning, information technology, and special education. Find the program overview here. I’ll be presenting several sessions and workshops, and I hope to see you there!
We’ll pull a quote from a movie for this month’s share. I figure it applies to everyone, whatever the language used in the film. It’s a quote that certainly applies to teachers.
Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
– Clarence, in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
In the spirit of the quote above, take a moment this month to send a kind word to someone whose life has touched yours in a meaningful way. A few minutes of your time may make someone else’s year.
May you inspire, and be inspired, each and every day.
We love sharing cool free stuff, and invite you to help us out. You can find the best of what we’ve gathered over the years on the Next Vista Resources pages, but if there is something free and powerful you love that you don’t find there, let us know about it using our resources submission form.
Images in the freebies section are screenshots from videos or web pages unless otherwise noted.
* This story is of a child with physical challenges who gets help from an organization that focuses on therapeutic horseback riding. Shining Hope Farms serves children in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, and some students submitted a Service via Video piece about their work a few years ago (see it here). You might use this story to talk about what kind of experiences can be life-changing for one with challenges, or even for the families of those with challenges. (3:32)
* The short film Immersion (Moises in Math Class) was posted to YouTube almost a decade ago, but it’s a story that many of us will find familiar. The piece artfully explores the challenges of a student with limited English, as well as those of his teacher, in a school under pressure to perform on tests. I learned of this video from George Barcenas (@mvsgbarcenas) during his wonderful keynote at a conference in Virginia. If you’ve never seen George present, watch for him – his story is a powerful one that speaks to every educator. (12:23)
* “According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 85% of black male 4th graders are not proficient in reading.” This line comes from a TED talk by educator and comedian Alvin Irby on inspiring children to become readers. He founded an organization called Barbershop Books with this mission: “Help black boys ages 4-8 to identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male-centered space and by involving men in boys’ early reading experiences.” This guy is a hero. (7:28)
* It might well seem that if you have an average of 16 seizures a day, you aren’t going to enter a marathon. If you’re Katie Cooke, though, running is a way to deal with the challenges she faces. This piece from BBC Stories is a testament to the desire to achieve, despite severe challenges. (2:59)
* Why should young people study science and problems that are crazy big? In part, because they might figure out a promising way to combat that crazy big problem. This video is about a young guy named Boyan Slat, who leads a company working to clean up the plastic in the oceans. This second video explains the working of the company’s system for doing so. (3:01, 2:32)
* Another video that explores environmental impacts is this one from TED-Ed on the parts of cell phones. It’s a rather dark piece, but arguably needs to be, given the contentions put forward. It might also be the spark that encourages one of your students to imagine a method of improving communication device construction so as to minimize or avoid the impacts identified. (4:55)
* So there’s this guy who decided that “super-adobe” homes built on the principles of domes and arches could solve lots of humanity’s problems. That’s the basis of this video from BBC Reel titled, “The Strange Homes Built for Mars,” and it’s a thought-provoker. (3:45)
* Ever have a class where some students are really into it and some just aren’t? This captures those days. A big thanks to the guitar player and his two birds for sharing their moment with the world. (1:42)
* This EdSurge article titled “Most Professors Think They’re Above-Average Teachers. And That’s a Problem.” is certainly one that would catch my attention. Do you agree with either sentence in the title? Is it different for elementary and secondary teachers? How well do you and your colleagues assess yourselves?
* This piece from Forbes is about how to make a workplace a good one for Millennials, but it’s a strong set of thoughts for any leader working to make the professional atmosphere at a school a good one. Thanks to Dr. Greg Martin for sharing this post.
* If you are suspicious that people are using the term AI (artificial intelligence) to make a product/service sound better, you’re on the same side of that question I find myself. This article on what AI is by Karen Hao in the MIT Technology Review, though, addresses this question with a really, really interesting diagram. Just to be cheeky, they put it on the back of an envelope. This is the most interesting description of evolving technologies I think I’ve seen.
* Internet access in rural parts of the United States can be a challenge, as this Wired article explains. Its title uses the term “homework gap,” which raises the ever-more interesting question about the value of homework that students get. Are you in a rural area where your school has approached this issue in a novel way? If so, please let me know.
* Do your students do memorable projects? The idea of project-based learning might be daunting for many teachers, but learning about what others have tried and what has come of their efforts can help move one forward. This Edutopia post about a teacher who decided her 3rd graders could learn loads from raising chickens is a great example, and it may egg you on to give a project a go. Hahaha.
* Geekwire posted a summary of the most recent report from Common Sense Media on teens and social media. It’s a quick read, but also a strong one for getting a sense of the developing conversation about not just how teens are using social media, but how we can strengthen our efforts to help them develop critical thinking and digital citizenship skills. There are plenty of interesting surprises in the info, from positive uses of social media, to the number of teens who feel their parents are too distracted by their own cell phones.
* Imagine a group of teachers sharing insights about teaching using digital media tools like Soundtrap, WeVideo, and VoiceThread, and bringing what they put together into a digital book using Book Creator. This all happened in Vermont at the VermontFest annual state edtech conference in November, and you can find their work here. In addition to enjoying the clever use of digital tools, you’ll get some great advice about teaching.
* The National Parks Service has over five thousand videos that have been taken (or are shown) at U.S. national parks. Click here for the videos, though on their site you can find audio, webcams, and plenty of photos for your projects, as well. Thanks to Mike Harmon from the CTE Online group for sharing this one.
* Do you know what a pipette, a hemocytometer, or a vortex mixer is? Stanford grad student Alex Dainis put together a set of ten videos in this YouTube playlist under the banner, “What is this thing?” Each video explains something that you may or may not have heard of. Dainis’ general channel has over 30,000 subscribers, and loads of videos for helping understand a variety of science concepts. Great stuff for inspiring your girls!
* YouTube has a new video editing tool, and when you go to a video you have uploaded, you can find this by clicking on the blue “EDIT VIDEO” button beneath the lower right corner of the video window. One way to get there is via the new YouTube Studio dashboard. I’m jazzed to start experimenting with this! For the curious, the screenshot below comes from a video I recorded using Zoom.us interviewing a guy who started an organization empowering teens around the world. Cool stuff.
* This Edutopia article has tips for remembering students’ names. For those of you whose school years began in August or September, if this is something you are still needing to do, then it’s definitely time to get going.
* The Robert F. Kennedy Foundation has a collection of pieces about (and writings by) accomplished defenders of human rights. Each comes with a PDF that has the reading and a detailed lesson plan. The topics covered can be quite sobering, so this is probably more for older students. Thanks to Hall Davidson of Discovery for sharing this resource.
* It’s been years since I last saw a compelling new presentation tool, but I am intrigued by Genial.ly. Visually interesting and fairly easy to use, it reminds me a bit of Haiku for the iPad, but with many more tools and features. I couldn’t find a way to add a link to text in a slide I created, but I’m probably looking right past it. The free version appears to be one a teacher can experiment with comfortably. Here’s one I put together quickly on my number one hobby of 2018, and here’s one of their samples on sounds of the London Underground that I spent some time with.
* This color and vision simulator from CK12 allows the user to look at different colored cars under some color of light through rose (or other colored) glasses. It’s an intriguing science prompt, and may be a fun activity for your students. You can learn a bit about it from this under-three-minute video tutorial.
* I recently met Bjorn Behrendt, who created BadgerPD. It’s a Google Sheet add-on for badge tracking, and can be used for PD projects including micro-credentialing or similar. This is the same guy who created the very cool Choice Eliminator add-on for Forms, so he’s got good cred with me.
* The Prelinger Archives (on archive.org) contain a bunch of educational videos from the 1940s and 1950s, including a variety of World War II-related, including content from Britain and the Soviet Union. Those with some history background may have encountered the 1951 Duck and Cover video, which is a cartoon turtle letting us know what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Given the content, think carefully before showing the video to students.
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May you dance your way into 2019!
See you next year!