February 2020 Newsletter
February is a month to love, for sure! You know it includes Valentine’s Day and that it’s when we celebrate Black History Month, but did you know it’s also National Children’s Dental Health Month? Can’t say I did.
Well, we have some good possibilities for you to chew on, and as always, we hope you love the ideas and resources!
Let’s start with the winners from Creative Bridge ’19, our fall contest. We have three strands: students, teachers, and collaboration. For those who don’t know, that last one is for videos that at least one student and at least one teacher work together to plan and/or edit. That is to say, who appears in the video is not what’s important.
Photosynthesis From Stop Motion
Creative Bridge ’19 Student Winner
Do You Remember When We…?
Creative Bridge ’19 Teacher Winner
No Time To Waste
Creative Bridge ’19 Collaboration Winner
You can find these three and the winners from all our 90-second edu-video contests at this page. Use what’s there for inspiration!
We also hope you’ll be involved in our spring contest, Creative Strength ’20!
Our annual Service via Video contest is also in motion, but the deadline is coming up in late March! We hope your students are working on their scripts and video drafts, and are excited to see what they create.
Here’s a winner from 2015 to inspire you:
Service via Video ’15 Winner
British Columbia, Canada
On Sunday the 9th I gave a presentation called “What Leaders at Great Schools Do Better: Tech and Inspiring One’s Team” as part of the Learning 4 All online conference put on by the Friday Institute from North Carolina State University. If you’re interested in that presentation, feel free to give it a look (I believe it will be up through the end of February), and if you have any questions, send me a note.
January’s caffeine drawing goes to Anne Tipton in Los Angeles – congratulations! If you’d like your name in the February drawing, watch any one of the four videos highlighted above, and let us know what you think is interesting about it.
We also encourage you to get your students to share what they think of it as well. If you include their impressions, your name will go in the hat twice! Such an opportunity, this.
Coming up in March (12th-21st) is CUE ’20 in Palm Springs, California, which, as you’d imagine, is a pretty great place to hang out for a few days with loads of very cool educators sharing cool tools, resources, and techniques.
In April (14th-16th), the National Catholic Education Association is having its big gig in Baltimore, Maryland, and I’ll be there to share ideas from my new book for school leaders, Technology, Teamwork, & Excellence.
For those who prefer a smaller, summer gathering, you might plan on DBC Pirate Con happening in San Diego in June (12th-14th). A bunch of fellow authors from Dave Burgess Books will be there for this “adventurous, uncommon PD experience.” High quality, fun, and boatloads of intriguing ideas make this one to attend.
While February is a shorter month, it seems the list of things I need to do has gotten uncomfortably long, so I’ll move us on to the freebies section a little earlier this month. Thanks, as always, for taking in what we share!
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.
Worth the Watch
* I enjoy watching crazy-talented musicians in almost any genre. If you enjoy classical, you might check out this performance by Elisey Mysin, a student at a music school in Moscow. Dude is five years old, and plays with stunning confidence and skill. (9:48)
* For Valentine’s Day, we add this clip from the BBC Planet Earth series. It’s the bird of paradise courtship dance. Can’t say I knew that male birds as a part of working to woo a mate, clean up their space before dancing. Props. (3:23)
* Moving from classical music to hip hop dance, here is a competition-winning performance from The Royal Family. Note that there are suggestive moves and this may not be for all audiences, but the talent and choreography is truly impressive. (4:13)
* This piece is called Light Moves at Washington National Cathedral. It’s time lapse footage by Colin Winterbottom of sunlight streaming through stained glass. There is a beautiful accompanying music track of Gregorian chanting, though it ends rather abruptly when the footage ends. Fade has its place. (4:02)
* I was recently explaining to a student about various styles of videos, and asked if he’d seen any Common Craft ones. He hadn’t, so I did a search, and was surprised to find that over a dozen years ago, they posted one called Zombies in Plain English. Could prove useful as a way to ask (older) students what more immediate threats they’d create a safety video for. (2:59)
Worth the Read
* Let’s start the reads with an idea that is no longer science fiction. A Silicon Valley company called Mojo Vision has created a strand of contact lens computing, using augmented reality to help people with vision challenges better navigate their environments, read more easily (you still see the words after closing your eyes!), and more. What ideas do your students come up with when asked to consider such possibilities?
* Also in the cool science stuff department is this article on laser-guided mosquito eradication. The value for you might be getting students to creatively explore what a system would need to be able to do to zap a mosquito with a laser. The article provides good lead-in on the problems with existing systems such as DEET and ultraviolet light bug zappers. I’ll admit it was good fun to read anything that seriously discusses “laser-guided mosquito eradication,” as I can’t say I’ve ever been that positive about mosquitoes.
* This Upworthy article is about a far more interestingly designed nursing home than one normally sees. The CEO of Lantern, a company that builds assisted living facilities, decided to pursue all sorts of new ideas, from making the inside of the home look like a street with homes from several decades ago, to strategically timed aromatherapy, to ceilings that are digital displays of the sky appropriate to that time of day. Might your students come up with ways to rethink schools?
* This Medium article on things confident people don’t do sounds like a straightforward self-help piece, but there are good questions one could build from its ideas about what makes for a confident teacher. Do you dwell on past mistakes, or expect too much of yourself? There are thoughts on how to redirect these and other habits – habits that may be getting in the way of becoming better at what you do.
* How much does your classroom wall help or hurt your students’ academic achievement? There’s no easy answer, of course, but this article in Edutopia on classroom decorations has some interesting data and useful suggestions.
* Another solid offering from Edutopia is this post, called, “7 Ways to Make Teaching a More Sustainable Profession.” Katy Farber writes in compelling and concise fashion about how leaders can build a culture that strengthens teachers, rather than one that pushes them out.
Worth the Try
* Follow a science expedition at Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, an effort launched by the Canadian Space Agency. There were eight expeditions on the front page just for Feb. 3-6, so I’m guessing it’s an ongoing wealth of opportunities to follow cool stuff. As a classroom effort, it may be limited to North American classrooms. Thanks to Patrick Vallez-Kelly for sharing this one.
* Kialo is a tool for argument mapping and debate, and they make a free educator version via their mission “to promote well-reasoned discussion online.” Given what we have happening in the U.S. this year, any “tool to teach critical thinking and rational debate” is one I welcome.
* This simple page allows you to scroll down, seeing what kinds of sea creatures live at what depths. There isn’t much of any info beyond that, but it’s still quite cool.
* This tool allows you to convert regular text to upside-down and/or backwards text. Can’t say I have any sense of why this is a good idea, but perhaps you or your students can suggest something.
* Next Vista is certainly not the only organization celebrating student film! Take a look at this from Monterey Bay CUE for ideas on how they work with student-created content. Look over not just their rules, but also their scoring rubrics, samples from previous festivals, and more.
* In January at FETC I walked into a presentation by Nate Green, who was making an impassioned argument for the possibilities of social media for helping students take their interests to higher academic levels. He also created a site called Social Media Marketplace which allows one to find, by interest or subject, the social media feeds for well-respected organizations in that field. You might also give Nate’s blog a look.
* At one district I visit, my contact and I were looking at the most-used sites from one of the elementary schools, and Ducksters showed up near the top, which is not one I knew. This is an ad-supported site with short explanations (think simplified encyclopedia), but also has some games (math, puzzles, arcade, typing, etc.). No sign-in required.
Worth the Look
* Something of a combination of worth the try and worth the look, here from the Google Blog is the “15 Favorite Street Views,” including Machu Picchu, Mont Blanc, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and the International Space Station, just to name a few.
* The images in this Instagram post are cool calculus-inspired maker illusions from students at the Thacher School. Thanks to NAIS’ mailing for drawing my attention to this one.
* The Wikimedia Foundation does a number of different (and all very cool) photo contests. Find here the 2019 Wiki Loves Earth photo contest winners for some amazing and highly varied shots of nature. The one below is by Vladimir Voychuk (CC by-sa 4.0).
* My favorite images site, Unsplash, which makes material legally available for free to us all, posted A Year in Review 2019 to share some of the beautiful contributions of their highly talented photographers. Remember to show those photographers some love with a citation and a link to the page of the photo! The one below is by Satyam Bhuyan (license).
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We’ll both start and finish this month’s newsletter with some love.
See you next month!