July 2018 Newsletter
If you are looking for a cool but wildly easy book study, or perhaps a reason to take an August trip to Monterey in California, or another couple of inspiring videos from the Global Student Voice Film Festival, then you have absolutely found the right spot.
This month we have great goodies and plenty you’ll want to share, so let’s dive in!
Book Study Simplicity
This month, join a bunch of amazing educators exploring simple ways to get better at rapport with students, assignments and assessments, delivery, professionalism and collegiality, and logistics in a gig that’s easy. How easy?
It’s The Easiest Book Study Ever, and I’m working with Illinois Computing Educators and Participate to offer this mid-July to mid-August program. Why so easy? You only need to read a few pages of the set of chapters focused upon each week, and then share some thoughts in the online portal.
You can find find the book on its Amazon page, and then get ready for some great idea sharing! A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book supports Next Vista for Learning, too. You become a better teacher, you connect with other excellent educators, and you help a cool charity at the same time. A win-win-win, this.
You, in Monterey
August 18th-19th is a weekend you may decide is a good time to be in beautiful Monterey, California. So what is it, other than the beautiful coastline, great food, and perfect temperatures that might mean making that trip at that time?
That would be the Monterey Summit hosted by The York School, a place that’s way interesting even when there aren’t a bunch of visiting dynamic educators there sharing ideas. The Saturday even includes a social at the MY Museum and will include wood-fired pizza, craft beer, and local wines.
If you’re paying your own way, may I suggest figuring out if you can itemize the expenses on your tax return. All in favor of taking advantage of any help the system offers, I am.
You can click here to register and start planning for a great weekend!
More Student Voice
At ISTE in Chicago, I had the pleasure of working with Jennie Magiera, Mark Wagner, and Kern Kelley of EdTechTeam, along with great folks from WeVideo and the conference, to honor the students who made the winning videos in the Global Student Voice Film Festival. You may recall that the theme was “In Another’s Shoes,” and both of these entries took interesting angles in addressing it:
Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences (Denver, Colorado, USA)
A Wall of Ideas
Nazareth College (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
You can find the set of exceptional GSVFF videos we’ve posted at this page. Watch, be inspired, and share widely.
Want a shot at a $5 gift card to Starbucks for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, a frappathing, or whatever else they may serve up with the interesting names they use? This month, you can earn that shot from us by watching the two videos from GSVFF, above, and letting us know what you think. We hope to hear from you!
In May, a colleague and I visited Palo Alto High School to talk with Emily Garrison and Chris Bell, who lead the PAUSD Blended Learning Program. The teachers are exploring interesting possibilities within a system that has developed over the last decade or so.
I was so impressed that I asked Emily if she might write a description of their efforts for others interested in figuring out how to take blended learning – a mixing of online learning tools and traditional in-classroom instruction – something powerful for their schools and districts.
A big thank-you to Emily for sharing her thoughts, which you can read in detail here.
Having time between school terms can be a wonderful vehicle for exploring the creativity inside of you. In addition to trips, home projects, etc., take time to ask what in the realm of the wildly cool you might bring to your students when everything kicks back into gear. It’s a much better way to spend time than concentrating on worries you have, of course.
Here’s how Ralph Waldo Emerson put a similar thought:
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.
What do you dream of when thinking about the work you do? We would love for some of your creative energy to go toward dreaming up short videos you and your students would make that help your future students (and others around the world) learn something new.
For over a decade, Next Vista for Learning has been helping teachers explore creative approaches to teaching and learning. Our projects and contests are designed to give you avenues to have students experience something truly memorable in their learning. If there is anything in our educational or service video contests, our careers or English language offerings, or our resources section that you’d like to learn more about it, you are always welcome to reach out to us. We hope to hear from you.
As we finish each month before launching into all the fabulous freebies we collect for you: 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 Listen
* If you enjoy in-depth journalism that explores issues around the world from a variety of perspectives, take a look at NPR’s line-up of programs on this nicely-arranged page. Thanks to Rose Arnell (@MsArnell) for sharing this link!
Worth the Watch
* What if you could build a home in less than 24 hours for less than US $4000? This video is about the work of a pair of companies (New Story and ICON) building a system for 3D printing homes, and they’ll be testing it out by using it to create homes in El Salvador. The video includes some intriguing shots of the system creating the houses, which can end up like what you see in the screenshot below.
* One of the most celebrated tech-focused high schools in the United States is near San Diego, California, not far from the border with Mexico. High Tech High Chula Vista is a place where students are engaged in all sorts of cool projects, and this intro to Beyond the Crossfire (one strand of their campus) is a nice example of students telling the world what they do. Find more examples of student-created video on the school’s projects page.
* For many stories of exemplary design, the insights for creating something that was more effective than its predecessor involved copying nature. Biomimicry is the applicable term, and this video about changing designs of high-speed trains in Japan gives a sense of this in ways that may capture the attention of students fascinated by trains, or fast things, or Japan.
* This video may seem a bit self-serving, as it’s about NextVista.org. I post it, though, because Andrew Shauver, the Michigan educator who made the video, does a great job of summarizing how one might use our site, and how we hope students can take what it offers to another level in terms of the quality of their work. If watching this sparks questions for how you might want to collaborate with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Find more strong videos on instructional technology from Andrew on his YouTube channel.
* What gets an artist into an amazing project? In the case of Annyem Lam, it was a challenge to do cut-paper art every day for a year. In this video, she describes the process with amazing openness about her doubts, and the result is a strong piece for encouraging one’s artistic creativity.
* Total moment of family pride, here. The kid doing this high jump of 6′ is my nephew. He’s 5’6″, and apparently had the highest jump in the country among eighth graders this school year. The video is on his older brother’s Instagram feed. #goodboys #prouduncle
* James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is a phenomenon, but I’d never watched one all the way through until my buddy Hadar sent me this one with Paul McCartney. If you’re like me, you’ll be interested at how emotionally moving this is to those who encounter them, and to those of us watching it happen.
Worth the Read
* You’ve probably heard the term “hacks” as a way to describe little ways to make something easier. This article by Susan Barber and Adrian Nester is about strategies for simplifying your grading practices. One of these seven ideas might save you a mountain of hours in the coming school year, and if so, make sure to send us a thank-you for sharing the post. 8^)
* This short interview on Rotary.org is with a young woman who has developed a low-cost device for those wanting to express themselves but unable to speak. It’s a great example of someone seeing both a challenge and an opportunity, and a nice discussion prompt for your students.
* This Edutopia piece encourages each of us to find a mentor. Called (appropriately) Every Teacher Needs a Mentor, it identifies qualities worth seeking out, from sharing good ideas to being willing to disagree with you. The author also takes time to discuss the possibility that a newer teacher might also be a mentor, such as when a rookie shares an attitude that can reinvigorate a veteran.
* This is one of the shortest reads I’ve ever posted in the newsletter, but it’s a nice reminder that the little things we do can mean so, so much to our students. Specifically, it’s an Australian student who got some help from his teacher before his first job interview. Thanks to sunnyskyz for sharing it. I should also note that this is a site with clickbait under the story.
Worth the Try
* You and your students can join an international community looking for rogue planets via a program with NASA. This article on ISTE’s blog gives great background as to what the search for planets and brown dwarf stars entails, including how a science teacher in Australia was one of the first to identify something new through this program.
* If you balked at joining the Flipgrid community because there was a cost for some of the features, it may be time to reconsider. Microsoft bought Flipgrid, and has made it free for every educator. Here’s the announcement with several answers to questions people are asking.
* Vicki Davis published a piece with Edutopia called 8 Epic Ideas for Ending the School Year, and it covers possibilities such as celebrations of learning, surveying students, writing letters of compliments and kindness to each other, and more. For those of you planning the main pieces of the coming school year, this might be a good resource for choosing the final item on your list.
* I am a major fan of Book Creator as a digital media tool, but if you are looking for something that is simpler for elementary students, give WriteReader a look. Students can create books, adding voice recordings on any page. Only the teacher can download (as a PDF) or publish the book, though. A big thanks to Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) both for blogging about this tool, and also for making a video tutorial on how to use it.
* Those of you teaching high school seniors might give Google’s new search tools for colleges a look. Their idea is to bring together the most important questions one might have when looking at college options. As this is a new feature, you might ask students to try it and examine whether it is as useful an approach as other methods they might use. That might be more effective than telling them that figuring this out soon is for their own good.
* Natalie Priester (@natalie.priester) pointed out Talk to Books in an Instagram post. It’s a way to ask a question and get responses tied to books that cover the subject matter in some way. This is one to experiment with – ask your students what kind of cool possibilities they can come up with after looking over the samples and trying a few of their own questions.
* The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing partnered with Google Arts & Culture for a celebration of the museum’s 100th anniversary with an exhibit of some of its collection. Follow the link to get the summary from Google’s blog and more detail on some of the works being exhibited. Great content, this, for launching discussions with students.
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A few days ago I got back home from #ISTE18, and have been getting back to normal after the exhilarating and exhausting whirlwind that the conference is every year. Apparently it was one of their largest ever, with about 18,000 attendees and exhibitors.
I spent most of last Sunday walking around Chicago, enjoying the wonderful weather and a step away from the conference intensity. Like everyone who goes to Millenium Park, I had to get a picture of Cloud Gate, known to some as The Bean.
by Rushton Hurley
(CC by 4.0)
See you next month!