November 2018 Newsletter
Here’s a fun announcement for those of you who have known about Next Vista’s efforts for some time: we now have over 2500 videos posted to the site! That qualifies as a woohoo in our book, and if you haven’t had a good woohoo lately (and even if you have), you are welcome to join in with ours.
First is the Creative Storm ’18 90-second educational video contest. The details are on the contest pages, but know that anything submitted properly by November 16th (11:59p US Pacific time) is also eligible for a small bump in score. Why? Because we like for students to have the chance to work with feedback on their entries and make them even better! The final deadline is December 14th.
The contest is for students of all ages, and here’s a gem from some littles in Illinois:
Second is the Global Student Voice Film Festival early bonus deadline of December 17th (11:59p US Pacific time). All entries submitted by the end of day, U.S. Pacific time, on that day will be informed whether the entry met the rules regarding sources and citations we have for encouraging digital citizenship. The final deadline for the GSVFF is February 18th, and you can learn more at the Student Voice Foundation website. Next Vista for Learning works with ISTE, EdTechTeam, and WeVideo to offer the Global Student Voice Film Festival to students worldwide.
It also isn’t too late to be researching the stories of charities and good people who improve their communities as part of Next Vista’s annual Service via Video contest. The stories of their work aren’t due until March, but looking over the rules now can be great for building the best possible videos your students can put together.
For EL Learners Everywhere
Our effort to create the largest collection of free videos for those learning English continues with the addition of a set we call Telling About Time. These videos cover time, hobbies, numbers, technology, discussion, and more. Here’s an example from the new set I chose based on the recent switch in my country:
Like all the videos in Next Vista’s EL Project, videos are about individual vocabulary terms in high-frequency topics. Each term has two videos: one that is subtitled, and one that isn’t. The hope is that students who need the subtitles can use them to become familiar with the terms, and then learn to catch them by listening carefully using the videos without subtitles.
The sets we’ve developed vary in terms of the level of English they address. The ones for colors, for example, use very simple English, while those for discussion terms are more sophisticated and designed to be good for those preparing for university-level studies in an English-speaking country.
Please share what we’re doing with anyone you know who teaches English as a second (or third or eighth) language!
Style Points for Jeff
We draw a name from among the entries each month to our caffeine card drawing. This month’s winner is Nissa Hales, and we hope she enjoys her coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or whatever Starbucks offers for up to a fiver as she thinks about entering one of our video contests.
An extra-special shout-out goes to Jeff Simmons, our September winner. In the long history of Next Vista Newsletter giveaways, Jeff was the first person ever to send us a picture of the good moment that attends the big win. Jeff, we raise our own mugs in your direction for your honorable share!
Want to win a $5 caffeine card as part of our November drawing? We’d love for you to have that chance! Do so by taking a look at one or more videos from this set of art explanations by a high schooler. Let us know what you think, and also tell us what kind of video set would be useful for your students.
A Dig Cit Moment
As you’ll see in the “Worth the Read” section below, Common Sense Media has released its latest report on teens and social media use. It addresses issues in cyberbullying and digital citizenship among others, and can serve as fodder for some good conversations. In the spirit of the topic, here’s a little challenge for your students:
You are with a parent who is working with some email when he suddenly says, “Oh, my!” You look over, and it turns out that the parent has received a message from his bank with an alert to a problem with an account. The message has the bank logo and a link to log in to get more details about the problem. What would you advise him to do?
Gather their ideas and discuss them, making sure no one thinks it’s a good move to actually click on the link and then enter a username and password. There are any number of smart moves, including calling the bank (using a number other than one in the email) to confirm the message or opening a new tab to go to the normal web page (not the link in the email) for the bank and look for messages. The key, of course, is to help them become suspicious of anyone asking for login info.
I am sometimes asked to read books being written by friends, and one I was reviewing in the last couple of weeks yielded this nice quote:
You may be the one thing your students are looking forward to today.
– Brent Coley
This is from the upcoming Stories of EduInfluence book – watch for it! Get a feel for Coley’s focus on stories via his podcast, Teaching Tales.
Those in New England will want to check out the Christa McAuliffe Transforming, Teaching & Technology Conference coming up in Manchester, New Hampshire, on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of November. Keynote speakers are Ginger Lewman, Thomas Murray, and Jennie Magiera. Great stuff!
And in January, FETC is happening January 27th-30th in Orlando, Florida. The list of sessions goes fo’ days, and there are tracks for educators, administrators, early learning, information technology, and inclusion and special education. Find the program overview here. I’ll be presenting several sessions and workshops, and I hope to see you there! (Let me know if you haven’t registered and need a discount.)
Just in case you need something to balance out all the political ads, here’s a contest entry from a few years back I haven’t highlighted in a while: How to Be Batman.
This was a hard one to categorize. It’s not really history, has a tenuous connection to literature and writing, and it’s definitely not math. It is, however, far better than most of the campaign ads.
And however it all turns out, 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
* This video is called What Is School For?, and it’s a challenge to traditional arrangements of schooling. For every issue that the maker, Prince Ea, puts forward that I disagree with, there are multiple points that I can’t critique. The ideas aren’t all that new to many of those active in the educational technology community, but it is worth the watch for the chance to ask hard questions of ourselves. You can find out more the work of Prince Ea and his colleagues at Innovation Playlist. (8:13)
* This video addresses ideas of art, accessibility, and design thinking. It’s an introduction to Creatability, a Google project for encouraging the development of more accessible tools and resources through web and AI technologies. You might also share the post about the project with students to spark their sense of what’s possible, or go straight to the Creatability page to try some of these out yourselves. I played a marimba by letting my webcam track my nose. (3:48)
* Friends and longtime readers of the newsletter will know that I have strong connections to Japan, and I love running across a story that captures something truly special about Japanese culture. This piece from BBC Earth Unplugged is about the only female bonsai master, and I find what she has to say about her work and its connection to her ancestors to be downright beautiful. (4:13)
* Astrophysicist Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil describes her team’s discovery of a rare galaxy which is challenging the current understanding of the universe in this short TED talk. This is a nice example of a woman wearing a burka showing excitement for science, and sharing it may be a great moment for your Muslim students and your girls, as well as a nice prompt for everyone for a discussion of astronomy. (4:40)
* The story of Robbie Ivey is a story of the best side of technology – that side that shows what we can do now that we couldn’t before. This short video is about a young man with some serious challenges, but with no problems with his voice and his mind. He got some help with Google’s voice activation tools, and you can watch to see the difference it made. Yes, this is a piece that supports a company, but this is exactly the kind of tech company story I like and am happy to see many more of. (4:42)
* When kids have the encouragement to take what they do to another level, they can make great things happen. In this case, middle school students from the Kamehameha Schools Maui created a short, impressive video report on a taro farmer, whose story captures important elements of the concern Hawaiian farmers have for their work and its integral relationship to Hawaiian culture. The interviewee uses a number of Hawaiian terms in the piece, which could make for an activity to try and guess what they mean. (Google can help you find answers, as in searching for “hawaiian ohana meaning.”) (3:00)
* This TED Talk by Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad is about ways companies use data from apps after we let them know we’ve “read” the terms. His examples can make for powerful discussions: could our health data in exercise apps end up in the hands of a health insurance company that chooses, based on that data, to deny us coverage? This is good info, but admittedly may not be the most uplifting thing you watch this week. (12:12)
* Going to this article, you might think I misplaced it among these resources, and that it should be a read. Nope. The video at the top of the page is the piece from this post from Entrepreneur that stands out, and it’s all about techniques for memory. In this case, it’s particularly about learning others’ names. While I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the approach to recording the interview, the content is strong, and may be interesting for challenging students to think of themselves as people who can remember much more when they put forth the effort. (11:30)
Worth the Listen
* I’m fascinated by systems designed to change behavior, particularly systems that are designed as games. This podcast from Stanford University is an interview with Balaji Prabhakar called Nudging Your Commute, and explores his research and experiments with incentives for changes in how people commute to campus. Two of the cool topics explored in this half-hour piece are what motivates people in terms of lotteries and how Rose Bowl tickets can make a difference. (27:17)
* Vicki Davis (CoolCatTeacher.com) has put out almost four hundred episodes of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast, and earlier this month, she posted one with some dude describing how to have a better staff meeting. That dude is me, and the conversation is based on one of my most popular presentations, called Much Better Staff and Team Meetings. The idea is to make staff, grade level, and/or departmental meetings far more effective and interesting. (11:22)
* I listened to an episode of the CTRL Art Delete edtech podcast for the first time about a week ago. Amy and Bill, the two Indiana hosts, have a fun rapport, though for you very serious people who don’t like listening to fun banter, you might start at about the eight minute mark. There is about equal quantities of content and banter, so know what you’re getting into. They discuss BHAG (pronounced, tragically, “bee-hag”), which stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The idea of setting impressive goals is a cool topic (despite the resulting acronym), and I enjoyed their encouraging their listeners to identify and pursue their own BHAGs. (27:48)
Worth the Read
* Edutopia is an organization that specializes in prompting all sorts of powerful thinking about what school is and what it can be. In this September post, Designing a Public School from Scratch, you can read about Design 39 Campus, a K-8 school near San Diego that started in 2014 and took some interesting angles on how a school can work. The post also contains several illustrative videos about the school that can also prompt good discussions.
* Here’s another from Edutopia. Those of you who have read my book, Making Your Teaching Something Special, know that I start the book with advice on connecting with your students. So, when I saw that there was a post titled, 6 Ways to Build a Rapport With Students, I knew I had to give it a read, and it didn’t disappoint.
* I recently met Amber Harper at a conference, and she told me about her work to help teachers dealing with burnout. Called the “Burned-In Teacher,” her site has ideas, posts, and podcasts for helping us battle what brings us down. This post is called Three Ways to Suck the Joy Out of Teaching, and captures what she is doing nicely. At this site, you can also check out Amber’s podcast.
* Some articles inspire us to consider what it means to appreciate what we have, and perhaps what we have overcome, with some help from science. In this piece from the BBC, an implant is being used that has helped those with paralysis due to spinal cord injury walk again. Have your students ever thought something along the lines of, “I’ll never be good at math,” when someone who was told he would never walk again is getting that chance?
* For those who feel a very different model of college is in order, you might check out Wayfinding Academy in Portland, Oregon. This EdSurge article gives a nice picture of what it is trying to do and how it got going. Is it needed focus on what’s important, kumbaya masquerading as college, or something in between? You decide.
* Speaking of finding one’s way, here’s a story of a ship that lost its way. The oldest intact shipwreck ever discovered has been identified on the floor of the Black Sea, and it may yield valuable clues to what life was like a thousand or more years ago. You never know when a story may awaken in a child an interest in reading more academic material, but you do run across articles like this which are so cool they clearly hold that potential.
* For anyone who loves travel, this article (sent to me by my wife as some sort of suggestion) is a charming one. Titled, “21 of the Most Beautiful Streets in the World,” it’s an Architectural Digest piece about a variety of beautiful places around the world. Use it as a prompt for talking about what students find beautiful in their own communities, or where they would like to visit and why.
* Do you like articles that predict major changes in the world around us? This one from the BBC says that you probably have bought your last car. In more detail, the exploration is of decreasing costs through self-driving Uber-like vehicles. The comparison of the two pictures of New York City (1900 and 1913, before and after the launch of the Model T) are worth the click all by themselves.
Worth the Try
* The New York Times asked a number of women photographers in different countries to capture what it means in their countries/places to turn 18. The result, This is 18 Around the World, is a collection of pictures and stories that may both empower and depress. Your teen students might find this a mesmerizing exploration of cross-cultural coming-of-age, and will surely spark some strong discussions.
* Dr. Leigh Zeitz of UNI presented at the recent ITEC conference in Des Moines about Write Our World, an effort to build a library of online books by and for kids everywhere. Because they are using Book Creator, these books typically include not merely the stories of the child authors, but also their voices as they read what they’ve written. Read, listen, and take part!
* This read is full of things to try. Mike Roberts posted a pice at the NAIS site called 20 Simple-yet-meaningful Things Educators Can Do Every Day, and if you read this and don’t have something you immediately can try, you are guilty of RWD (reading while distracted). Kudos to Roberts for the great advice.
* Dr Jess Wade is a scientist who recently made a presentation to my service club called Handedness and the Future of Electronics (find the half-hour recording at the bottom of this page). I was really impressed with her passion for helping girls consider possibilities in the sciences, and made a note of this resource for teachers from the Institute of Physics, with research and project information on gender balance.
* Monica Burns has a blog titled Class Tech Tips, and in this post called Four Strategies for Google-Friendly Classrooms, she discusses ways to use Google Classroom and other tools. This is also an interview with Holly Clark of the Google-Infused Classroom book Holly wrote with Tanya Avrith, and their discussion allows getting beyond tools to why these may be of value to you.
* This try is a just-under-thirty-second video, showing you how to have Google Slides do closed captioning in real time. Give it a shot!
* Though in my newsletter it’s a little late for Halloween, you might see what your students think of Ghostbusters World, a new game using Google Maps. It’s an app you download for your Android or iOS device, and lets you collaborate or compete with others to build your ghost team of captured scaries. Learn more at the post announcing the game.
* In Indiana last month, teacher Katie Belloli was in a workshop I ran, and shared her enthusiasm for anything that has to do with space. She also blogs, and in this post, maps out an involved and very cool set of lessons related to Voyager. You’ll find a number of videos that can support the lesson ideas, as well.
* Life of a Can is a site from Discovery Education and Novelis designed to help elementary students better understand recycling concepts and why they are important for our communities and our environment. You’ll find learning activities for 3rd- to 5th-graders, along with information on how to start a recycling program. Thanks to Hall Davidson for sharing this one.
* While at a conference in Iowa in October, I attended a session by Nick Proud, a principal who has put together a doc with plenty of resources for school leaders. Called Tech Tools for School Leaders, it houses examples of forms you might want to use, tips for using tech in constructive ways for leaders, and several videos that are quite clever and worth a look for those working to tell the stories of their schools. The video using the drone to help people understand campus traffic patterns is one I enjoyed.
* Looking for demonstrations of clever uses of Google tools? There’s a regular show put together by Lee Webster, Trevor Beck, and others, and this archive has over two hundred short (3 minutes or shorter) slams you can search and watch to get better at all sorts of Google stuff. The shortcut is: bit.ly/demoslams
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Sometimes the gate is as good as the temple.
May you find a spot that inspires you over the coming week!
by Rushton Hurley
(CC by 4.0)
See you next month!