November 2020 Newsletter
Thanks for clicking your way to all that we’ve gathered for you this month! This is a month in which Americans celebrate what they’re thankful for, and we’re thankful that you take time to explore the resources, webinars, ideas, and contests we share each month.
And speaking of contests, let’s start with our annual Service via Video project and contest!
On the 20th of this month, we hope to be looking over a bumper crop of great service videos students have submitted as part of Service via Video. There’s still time to put one together, too – give our contest pages a look to learn how.
We’d also like to give a big shout-out to the good folks at the Utah Education Network, who are partnering with us to get the word out to students there about the contest. A few weeks ago, they invited us onto a podcast about video contests, which you can listen to at this page.
Here are two winners from past years to inspire you:
by students at Wyoming Middle School (Ohio)
Loaves and Fishes – Serving Those in Need
by students at Junipero Serra High School (California)
The Possibilities of Bicycles
We have been celebrating innovative and impressive organizations making a difference in the world over the last few months, and this month, we highlight World Bicycle Relief, an organization that gets strong bikes to people who can put them to great use: students, entrepreneurs, health workers, etc.
The video above, Mobilize Me, is not only a strong set of visuals for what the organization does, it’s also a good prompt for a discussion of how to tell one’s story. You can also learn more about their business model in this video. Inspire your students to see new possibilities for service to others through stories like these.
Ready for a holiday? If between now and whenever your next one is you plan to have students explore the history or practices of that day, join Susan Stewart and me on Thursday at 3:30p Pacific / 6:30p Eastern for an Activities Across Grade Levels webinar with the theme of “Celebrating Holidays.”
It’s free to join in, but you do need to register on this page. You can also find our archives of the show on the same page, including Gamified Learning, the last one we did in October.
Earlier in the afternoon on Thursday, Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) of Free Tech for Teachers and I will do another in our weekly episodes of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. If you have a question about tech and learning, drop by the Next Vista Contact Us page and let us know, and we’ll try and get to it on air.
Like the last two months, we’ll concentrate on the service videos, above, for your chance to win a $5 Starbucks card. Note that you can only win if you enter, and so many of the readers assume they’ll never win that there are months when we only get one or two people giving it a go. As you can imagine, that makes for great odds for those who go to the trouble.
Pick either (or both!) of the videos highlighted in the Service via Video section above, and let us know what you think of it. We’ll put your email address in the hat for our drawing.
And for this month’s drawing, the winner from October is…Laura Bartel! If you entered and didn’t win, keep trying. You can also win by attending webinars and having your name drawn.
“Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.”
– Keith Ellison
I hope you didn’t surrender!
We are thankful for all of you who read our little newsletter, and hope that you are finding ideas and encouragement in what we share.
As I finish this part of the newsletter every 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
* Let’s spend a little time flying around the Lake Country in western England. Literally. This jet suit is a tool developed for paramedic teams there, and if the simulation that starts the video doesn’t hook you, the scenery probably will. (5:57)
* How many challenges to living on Mars can you name? A heap of them are covered in this animated piece, called Building a Marsbase is a Horrible Idea – Let’s do it! It’s from the folks at Brilliant.org, and you can learn more about them if you keep watching to the end. (9:21)
* All kinds of things might inspire you. For Jamal Galves, it was the opportunity at age 11 to join a team on a boat. Watch this story about his work to save manatees, and also to help humans understand their place in the ecosystem. (3:13)
* Traveling is magical because of the constant exposure to the new. You see life and community in ways that might be a little (or worlds) different from what you know, and every image can spark a question. This video, Arroy: The Thai Food Cart, is one that gives the viewer that experience with Thailand. There is no dialogue, just some music and a stunning array of interesting scenes. (5:12)
* Also in the travel space is this video of drone footage of Mont Saint Michel. The site is a town and monastery originally established by an Irish hermit. As a tidal island, there are times you can walk to it, and times you can’t! A good piece for launching a variety of discussions, this. (2:42)
* There’s a library that checks out animal skulls. Another that catalogs the smells of the world. This Great Big Story compilation is called The World’s Most Magnificent Libraries, and there’s plenty to learn from them. (13:05)
* If asked about their experiences, what would exchange students from around the world have said about the United States in 1955? Here’s a recording of a program in which a group of high schoolers did just that. It’s longer than our usual share, but an interesting collection of viewpoints to consider. Thanks to my Rotary buddy (and Peace Corps Volunteer) Cal Mann for this share. (25:31)
* If you need a little percussion fix, here’s a pretty cool piece recorded back when being around others without masks was a thing. I was pleased to see in the description that the guy who did the filming has worked with the drummer (Gordo Drummer on YouTube) to share the proceeds of the video. (4:18)
* Staying with drumming, it turns out that the world’s fastest drummer is a guy who had his right hand amputated after an electrical accident. This video from Freethink is about progress with prosthetics that could blow your mind. (7:27)
* Also in the music realm, there is this: Thunderstruck from 2Cellos. I like the pinned comment from someone named David Guyton: “This was way more awesome than I was expecting.” Thanks to Phil Shapiro for the share. Ready to give it a watch? Better buckle up! (4:58)
* Finally, there is this from the Japan national high school championship for men’s rhythmic gymnastics. The winning team from Ibara High School shows a combination of precision, grace, and strength that is inspiring. (3:44)
Worth the Read
* Let’s assume that you know that sweeping statements about online vs in-person learning are surely simplistic. What works for one student might not for another, and the training and talents of the educator likely determine far more than the platform. If you are looking for a good article addressing these complexities, this EdSurge piece is a strong one. As an example, here’s this thought: “children who have the most support at home can make more progress in asynchronous online learning environments, which adds new dimensions to existing educational inequities.” Well said, and a strong professional discussion prompt.
* In all the discussions of how to deal with teaching and learning during the pandemic, not enough attention (in the spaces I follow, anyway) has been given to moving classes outdoors. This piece explores the work of the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, and can provide plenty of ideas for those trying to open up new options for their schools.
* Pat Hensley is a South Carolina educator who has been blogging over a decade, with more than two million visitors in that span. Serious cred, that! In this post from September, she looks at positive and negative thinking for teachers, and shares advice that may be helpful for you or a colleague to read.
* In October, Michael Linsin posted a piece called “10 Ways To Slow Down And Sleep Well After A Long Day Of Teaching” on his blog. The suggestions are highly practical, and good suggestions for taking care of yourself.
* Stories of innovation by young people can make for memorable learning moments. While talking with my friend Nate, he mentioned this story of Richard Turere of Kenya, who at the age of 11, invented a system for keeping lions from attacking the goats that belong to his family and their neighbors.
* To finish the reads, here’s the first of two good news pieces I learned about from the folks at Future Crunch. This story is about a machine into which you feed your old clothes, and it generates new clothes – all without water or chemicals, says the article.
* The second of these two is about a massive and highly successful environmental restoration program off the coast of Virginia. Seagrass was replanted in an area that had been barren for decades, and now covers an area that, if my math is correct, equates to over 6000 football fields. That’s a lot of carbon and nitrogen not polluting the atmosphere!
Worth the Try
* For those looking for a free captioning option, consider the browser-based offering from Web Captioner. You’ll need to devote a window to the tool, and perhaps put it behind another window (with the lower part showing) if you are screensharing slides or similar. I learned about this tool from Jen from Tech Tips 411, and here’s her short tutorial for it.
* If you want to get a better sense of the most common accessibility features for Chromebooks, Windows, and Macs, this article in Edutopia points you to screen readers, speech to text tools, writing supports, magnifiers, and more. Add the captioning in Google Slides or Web Captioner (above), and you’ll be better prepared to make a suggestion when a student is having trouble.
* My buddy for the Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff, Richard Byrne, put out a video to share YouTube videos without the comments below or sidebar recommended videos. He looks at SafeShare.tv, quietube, WatchKin, and embedding videos in Slides. (5:06)
* Another Byrne-inspired share! Those of you who like Flippity might be intrigued by the new Board Game option. It’s rather involved, so I’ll paste a screenshot below and point to Richard’s video tutorial for this one, too.
* What does the world economy look like? Where is the wealth? This graphic from VisualCapitalist is quite the prompt for discussion on issues of economics, governance, and disparity.
* Those using Google Meet may know that there is a new breakout rooms feature, but only for those with the “enterprise edition” (i.e., the school has to have purchased it). The highly talented and cool Eric Curts has a tutorial video on this new feature (5:32), but also another video for those with the free version and looking for an alternative. (6:55)
* Those looking for strong SEL activities might take a look at the Random Acts of Kindness site. They have a variety of materials from inspirational messages to lesson plans, and a curriculum they call Kindness in the Classroom. While much of their content is focused on K-8, they have added a 16-week program for high schools. Thanks to my Rotary buddy Sandy Stabile for sharing this one.
* John Meeham is the author of a book from DBC Publishing called EDrenaline Rush, which focuses on “the same mystery and mastery you’d expect from a twisting escape room of puzzles and surprises.” He also has a blog, and this entry has some great slides you can copy and adapt for getting to know your students better. The slides look great, and he’s happy to share them, so why not?
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See you next month!