February 2019 Newsletter
As February is the shortest month, I’ll celebrate by giving you a short intro.
Done! And away we go:
The deadline for the Global Student Voice Film Festival is only one week away! Have your one-minute video in by the end of day (US Pacific time) on Monday, February 18th. As always, see the detailed rules to enter and to make sure yours will be eligible to be judged.
A Storm of Winners
We are ready to share with you the winners from our fall contest, Creative Storm ’18! Below are the two student winners, along with a great art-and-tech piece from our teacher winner. Enjoy!
The Change in Momentum Equation
Mililani, Hawaii, USA
How to Draw a Zentangle Drawing
Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA
You can find all the winners and finalists on the linked pages. All who made those levels should have received their certificates, so if your video is on one of those pages and you don’t have an email with the link to your certificate, please let us know.
Our spring contest, Creative Wave ’19, is in motion, and we’d love to celebrate the creative insights you and your students bring to short videos. Give the rules a look and get a submission in before the early bonus deadline so you can get feedback on your work.
If your students are interested in sharing the stories of those who help others, we hope they’ll make a video! Our annual Service via Video contest is happening, and we want to get as many people as we can to take on the challenge of sharing some inspiration.
The idea is to get to know a person, group, or organization in your community that makes life better for others. After some research, perhaps some interviews, and feedback on script and video drafts, share it with us, and we’ll work to have it inspire others to make a difference where they are! Click on the link above to find out more.
This month, you could win by writing us to tell what you think of any of the winning videos from Storm ’18, above. Style points if you also convince colleagues and/or students to submit videos to our spring contest, too!
image: Know Where You Come From by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash
As we’ve already mentioned coffee twice in this note, let’s go for the triple and grab a quote from Dave Barry for the quick thought this month:
“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.”
However long or short is your list of things that get you going, I hope somewhere on it you find the amazing possibilities of teaching. Giving a kid hope for the future is the kind of love we should celebrate every month.
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.
* Lego was a big part of my childhood. Yours, too? Well, for David Aguilar, it’s an extension of him. Literally. This young man from Andorra, a small country sandwiched between Spain and France, decided to build his own prosthetic arm using Lego, and you’ll be charmed by the story. Thanks to the Great Big Story folks for this, one of their most-viewed from 2018. (2:40)
* Ever wanted to fly? This farmer in China decided he could make that happen by building his own flying machines. Yet another great piece from Great Big Story! (2:54)
* While this video, Caffeine 101, could be used with students as a health information piece, it might be more the choice of teachers curious about all that coffee they find themselves consuming. Practicing Mormons avoiding caffeine can chuckle at the rest of us! Kudos on your health, though while I too am not a coffee drinker, I can’t give up my chai. (2:54)
* Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote in state and national elections? The Above the Noise team from KQED posted a video exploring this question in January, and it’s a strong prompt for asking American students about their sense of participation. For those outside the U.S., this video might be an interesting comparison with the rules in their countries. (6:00)
* While a polar vortex is no laughing matter, the BBC did find material from a number of Americans who were generating what we’ll call some science moments. This short piece on our wild weather includes frozen t-shirts, eggs, bubbles, and more. (1:18)
* This video is a fascinating combination of straight-down drone footage and an audio recording of a speech by Alan Watts. Called Mindless Crowd, the audio content is complex and better-suited for older students, while the visuals would be interesting for all ages. (4:35)
* The idea that a single injection might cure cancer is one that can lead those suffering from the disease or caring for those who do to dare to hope. Researchers from Stanford, however, may be on track to develop just such a cure. I include this article from Big Think here, though, as it may be a powerful prompt for students to think about biological advances and medical research.
* This NAIS blog post comes from Ann Klotz, the head of Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA. She discusses the abstract reasons and concrete approaches to teaching resilience to students at her school. Lots of good thoughts here about how schools and parents can work together (and training the parents to understand why working together is important).
* Wikipedia is, as you would expect, an organization that champions having ideas and media freely available to the public. An annual photo contest they run asks participants to contribute images under a Creative Commons license, and this year’s was titled, “Wiki Loves Earth.” The post shares the story of the contest and its fifteen winning photos, and those of you who are into breathtaking natural photography and stories of great images will love it.
* As one who frequently gives advice to teachers about strategies for improving what they do, the Edutopia post “Learning from Elementary Teachers” caught my eye. The author is Sherine Aboelezz, a high school teacher who became an upper elementary instructional coach and found that there were plenty of strategies secondary teachers could learn from elementary colleagues. I’ve long thought the healthiest professional environments are those in which people of different subjects and grade levels seek each other out for ideas, and this piece shows the potential of that hope. Kudos to her school and district for making that a possibility!
* This sobering read is about expected developments with AI in the coming year. It covers some expected material around AI-based political manipulation bots and surveillance, but also dives into algorithmic discrimination and peace movements. This could be intriguing for your students ready to explore questions with the next level of technology.
* Speaking of the future, Isaac Asimov made a number of predictions about 2019 at the end of 1983. You’ll find these ideas interesting, both for what he got right and what he didn’t. Thanks to the Toronto Star for reaching out to him for the piece a little over 35 years ago!
* For those who find an extra word grating, you might orbit around (see what I did there) this post from Benjamin Dreyer in Medium, which will leave you surrounded on all sides (chuckle) with phrases that typically are far better off without one or more of their elements. The read is rather short in length (guffaw), but be warned: this will make you aware of more in your conversations than you might want.
* TechSmith, the makers of Camtasia and SnagIt, have a 19-minute short course on the basics of recording audio that might be of interest to those of you doing screencasts or podcasts.
* One of my favorite web-based media tools is Book Creator, and they’ve just released news that you can publish a library of your digital books, rather than just individual books one at a time. Find out more details on their announcement page. Kudos to them for highlighting on that page Write Our World, a very cool project, as well.
* If you are looking for tech tips in videos by students, head to CLICK, a project by Nancy Watson of Region 10 ESC in Texas. Several dozen videos cover Chromebooks, graphics, digital citizenship, file management, add-ons and more. She is always looking for more material to add, so if you’re interested in having students create something to share, take a look at this page. Good stuff!
* The recent mass entry of works into the public domain (a Smithsonian Magazine article on this) is a nice reminder that there are sites dedicated to sharing such works digitally. The Internet Archive is one of the best places to go for public domain books, movies, and more, and you can also find books in the Archive arranged by language. I noticed items in Bosnian, Catalan, Javanese, Hmong, and more. For students struggling with English but needing more sophisticated content in their first language, this may be a great option.
* If you aren’t afraid of spreadsheets and need a way to display progress for a fundraising goal, you’re reading the right blurb. I posted a note to a group I belong to asking about this idea, and Dr. Jeran Ott put together a cool blog post showing how it can work. Dr. Ott, you rock!
* Some people who bill themselves as “a group of enthusiasts” at a company called TeachMe created a simple but fun little game called PlayGeography. There are options for identifying countries on a map, or clicking on a country based on seeing its flag (rather hard, that), or testing knowledge of capital cities. A nice little escape, and our thanks to EdSurge for sharing.
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Last Saturday my babe wife and I drove up to San Francisco to take in the tulips at Pier 39. Really. There was a shindig called TulipMania, and while the flowers were quite cool, it was the sun poking through the clouds that got me the shot I liked the best:
Boats in Light
by Rushton Hurley
CC by 4.0
See you next month!