July 2021 Newsletter
The July newsletter is our least-read sharing of the entire year. That means that if you’re reading this now, you’re one of our favorite people! Smile, knowing you are loved.
Speaking of love, we love to share contest winners, and this month, we get to do so!
Creative Recovery Winners
Though we worried we’d have heaps of trouble getting submissions for a contest mostly happening in a locked-down world, there were plenty of cool videos to work with, happily! Winners, finalists, and honorable mentions have all been sent links for their certificates, and winners and finalists have been contacted about prize money. If you’re in one of those categories and don’t see your email, let us know!
As for which ones came out on top as judged by a group of educators from around the world, read on!
How mRNA Vaccines Work: Coronavirus Edition
Student Strand Winner
Crystal Springs Uplands School – Belmont, California, USA
Teacher Strand Winner
Jane Kwon – Mountain View, California, USA
Congratulations to both of the above, as well as all our finalists. Watch the newsletters in the coming months for our next edu-video contest!
As I mentioned in the June newsletter, I co-teach a class called Creative Solutions for the Global Good. In May, our students and students from Parklands College in Cape Town, South Africa, presented their work to an audience of almost one hundred supporters from fifteen different countries.
If you are interested in having students develop projects that improve their communities, I’d love to be in touch with you! Just send me a note via this page.
Speaking of improving communities, feel free to start thinking about having students in the coming term participate in Service via Video ’21! We ask that they tell the story, in two minutes or less, of people or organizations making life better for others.
You can find all sixteen of our previous winners here, and we can help you develop lessons and activities for your students around the contest, if you like.
Get plenty of detail on this at our Service via Video project pages.
This summer, the number of gift cards in the monthly drawings is a function of how many entries we get. Five or fewer means one, six or more means two. In June, we again made it to the plural, and we send our congratulations to Dave Tchozewski and Cindy Lane for their wins in the drawing – a woohoo to you two!
This month, take a look at either the Creative Solutions for the Global Good program (it’s a little long, but will lift your spirits), or one of the videos from the page of winners of our service contest, and let us know what you think. We’ll be happy to add your name to the July drawing!
Thanks to the Future Crunch folks, we now have a quote that captures our sense of what school can be!
The world belongs to optimists. Pessimists are only spectators.
– French historian and orator François Guizot
What does July mean to you? For me, it includes both my wedding anniversary and my birthday, so that’s a lot of cool positive! And in case you’re looking for some positive that isn’t specific to me, in the United States, it’s National Ice Cream Month, signed into law in 1984. Really.
Even if where you are doesn’t have National Ice Cream Month, feel free to enjoy something sweet in celebration of receiving this free and fine newsletter! As always, we hope you’ll find all the freebies below a sweet addition to your month.
May you inspire, and be inspired, each and every day!
Rushton and the Next Vista team
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 can’t say I’ve often seen the term “crochet prodigy,” but it’s part of the title (Checking in with Jonah Larson, crochet prodigy) for this video from CNN’s 5 Things. It’s also a sweet story, and a nice reminder that perhaps everyone has some kind of talent waiting to be refined and celebrated. (6:55)
* You have probably seen pictures of Picasso’s Guernica many times. The jarring complexity of the painting is something anyone can experience, but in this TED-Ed animated talk, it explores each component and some of the context for the author. Sobering and powerful. (5:05)
* If you have ever been fortunate enough to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you understand the haunting beauty of these ancient temple ruins. In this short film directed by Le Berre Guillaume, you’ll see drone footage and close-ups that will leave the scenery in your thoughts for a long time to come. (3:59)
* Speaking of flying, what you see in the picture below is a car. This video is the story of its first flight between cities, specifically from Nitra to Bratislava in Slovakia on the 28th of June, just weeks ago. (2:59)
* Andrew Balfour is a Winnipeg composer of Cree descent, and in this video, you’ll hear Vision Chant, one of his works performed by the Canadian Chamber Choir, directed by Julia Davids. Those of you looking to introduce students to more variety in music will want this one in your set. (3:23)
* Asha Gond is a young woman from rural India. The arrival of a skateboarding park in her village meant that she found a path not just to something new and different, but to an international championship competition in China. This is the story of the intersection of that skatepark, that village, and that girl. (4:13)
* This video is a promo piece for the Purplehull Pea Festival, an annual event in Emerson, Arkansas. Emerson is just south of Magnolia, where I went to high school. The festival includes the World Championship Rotary Tiller Race (rototillers, they’re often called), and you can watch some of the action in the video. Does your community have a festival of some kind? (3:00)
* I’ll start by saying that while the people narrating this video were speaking in English, I understood very little. What I did understand, though, is that the tools for creating gaming environments have taken some kind of leap with this announcement, and your students wanting to know what value higher-level math and geometry have might find this a cool answer to the question. The video is called Welcome to Unreal Engine 5 Early Access, and it’s epic. (15:36)
* A timely science piece, this. In Bug Expert Explains Why Cicadas Are So Loud, you’ll learn more about the gazillion critters that have been sharing their song with the residents of major chunks of the U.S. this year. (8:38)
* In preparation for the Olympics, you might take in this Simone Biles floor routine and wonder what it is that she does with gravity that mere mortals can’t. (1:36)
Worth the Read
* Have you heard of “Open Source Advertising“? Neither had I. However, it’s an interesting case for upending traditional and (in their words) “annoying” ads we encounter on TV and in social media systems. The blog post from Unsplash clearly presents the case from their point of view, but could be an interesting conversation starter for your colleagues or your students.
* If you live in Zanzibar or another part of the world for which there isn’t much on Google Street View, what does that mean for your community? In this article from Rest of World, not only do they explore that issue, but also the influence of those playing GeoGuessr on the discussion. If you like the topic of Street View, you might also enjoy this video from Good Morning America about a guy who worked to get much more of Zimbabwe on Maps. (4:45)
* I’ll highlight another post from Michael Linsin this month, and the title is How To Handle A Bully Colleague. It’s a nice compilation of ideas that form some strong advice on being a professional as a teacher. A good follow-up is 3 Traits Of A Gifted Teacher, another Linsin post from June.
Worth the Try
* Some photographers bristle at how images get edited in smartphone apps and similar, but I enjoy the artwork of those who use photographs as a launching pad. In June I ran across the work of Abbi Al-Arouri, and will ask my students at some point to take a look at this artist’s Instagram feed to explain which image strikes them as most interesting.
* Like Tetris? Factris from Mathigon is a twist on the game that advantages those who can anticipate the factors of a given number in setting up one’s board. Thanks to the amazing Ed Campos for sharing this one.
* For real audio variety, try Radio Garden. Move the map to find a part of the world you are curious about, and then zero in on one of the green dots. The site will center on it and start playing the radio station the dot represents. Cool way to hear about different parts of your country, or listen to a language you’re trying to learn. Thanks to ELLI member Jen Gripman for sharing this one!
* Another nice recommendation from Jen is Window Swap, which has video taken from people’s windows in different parts of the world. At first you might think they are live webcams, but checking out different places and seeing a bright sky when it’s the middle of night will tip you off at least some of them are recordings.
* My buddy Richard shared a useful little site called Down for Everyone or Just Me. That is, when you can’t seem to get to a given site, you can go to this one to see if there’s something that’s an issue on your side, or if that site just isn’t “broadcasting” like it should. A good one for your tech toolbelt, this. Richard’s newsletter email had plenty of other good suggestions for when you’re having issues, and is a good reminder why it (his newsletter) is one you should sign up for.
* There are a lot of ways to present your ideas, and if you have used Nearpod or similar, you’re aware that sharing a link and taking your audience through your slides is convenient when people are in different places. Another tool in that vein is Swipe, which includes interactive polls, YouTube and Vimeo link support, and file uploads. The free version limits you to five presentations, but is otherwise full of the features one needs to check it out.
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And, just because it’s July:
See you next month!