Maybe I have been watching a little too much TV with G, my 4 year old, but I am absolutely LOVING Peg + Cat on PBS. It is the perfect mix of math concepts, problem solving strategies, songs, stories, and all around silliness. All of this stuffed into a cute little girl named Peg and her “AMAZZZINNNNGGG”, talking pet cat. One of the best parts of the show is when they finish every challenge with this song…
I am so inspired by all that G is learning from Peg and Cat that I thought I might share some Math inspiration for your kiddos in your classrooms. The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story from Dan Myer is very similar to Peg+Cat in that teachers create a story built around real-life math.
Here’s the idea :
Act 1 – “Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible.” (check his site for examples)
Act 2 – “The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools.”
Act 3 – “Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension.”
Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers, trainers, and administrators. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.
Constructivism is a key component of the eMINTS model. Basically, the belief is that students learn better when they build their own knowledge from observation and inquiry. However, the challenge is providing adequate experiences that allow for this knowledge construction.
One solution for providing these experiences is YouTube. On a daily basis, users are uploading phenomena that need to be seen in order to understand.
For example, watch the video below…
What do you see?
The video shows a 747 sitting idle on the runway. However, strong winds literally lift the giant plane off the ground. The wind flowing over the wings are enough to slightly lift the plane without any assistance from the plane’s engines.
This is the point where students consider the reasons why this might happen. Ideas about the air flow over the wings would eventually arise. At some point, students would consider the shape of the wings as being a contributing factor. Further discussion may even make connections between the wind and how air moves over the wings when the engines are running.
Student observations (along with some supplemental information about the shape of the wings) would lead to Bernoulli’s Principle. This principle explains how a wing’s shape contributes to lift. Air flows more quickly over the top of the wing thanks to its downward curve. Quicker moving air means lower air pressure. If the pressure on top is less than the pressure below, the plane moves upward. The only difference in the video and a plane actually taking off is that the air is moving due to wind instead jet engines moving the plane through the air.
A video like the one above can demonstrate a complex idea like Bernoulli’s and give students something to which they can connect. This is not the only example found on YouTube. There are countless natural phenomena all over YouTube. It just takes a little searching.
How have you used YouTube to expand your students’ experiences? How have you used YouTube to help students construct knowledge? What other kinds of phenomena could you find on YouTube for this sort of activity?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.
PowerPoint has grown to be one of the most popular presentation tools inside and outside of the classroom. However, newer versions don’t always convert well on older editions of the software. It can also be easy to forget a copy of one’s presentation. So, having an online copy of a presentation can be valuable. Three online tools make it easy to share PowerPoint presentations anywhere there’s an internet connection.
Google Docs has its own presentation feature, but it also allows users to host and share PowerPoint presentations online. It’s an easy uploading process where users may choose to do additional editing using Google’s interface. Google Docs then allow multiple parties to contribute to the same presentation. Plus, Google Presentations are embeddable on almost any website or blog. The only drawback is that presentations will lose their animations, sounds, and transitions.
Another alternate way to share a PowerPoint is to upload it to YouTube. Unlike with Google Docs, this requires a simple process. When saving a PowerPoint, select a picture format such as PNG or JPEG. Then, load those files onto video editing software such as MovieMaker or iMovie. The slides work as images one can arrange in a project’s timeline. Then, go through the process to export the presentation to YouTube.
The third process for sharing PowerPoint presentations online will transform your presentations completely. The online presentation tool Prezi is something entirely different, but now it allows users to upload PowerPoint files and change them into an engaging format that breaks the traditionally linear nature of presentation software. Once the file is uploaded, users are faced with several options for making their presentations come alive. Just watch…
No longer do we have to be limited by the traditional desktop presentation as monopolized by PowerPoint. The online tools mentioned above give users new options for presentation and sharing that were previously not possible with PowerPoint presentations.
What are some other ways you have found for sharing PowerPoint presentations? How will these tools inject your PowerPoint presentations with a dose of energy?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger with the eMINTS National Center.
With the success of sites such as the Khan Academy and the plethora of universitylectures availableonline, teachers and students are on the lookout for the best in classroom lessons accessible throughout the internet. Now, the leading online lecture series, TED, has created a YouTube channel of the best teachers giving the best lectures one will find anywhere. To amplify these lectures, TED is recruiting inventive animators to bring the talks to life.
Check out their promotional video. There are links at the end of the presentation to nominate an educator, suggest a lesson, or nominate an animator. Watch…
TED-Ed’s mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos.
The collection is just starting to accumulate topics, but some impressive talks are already available. Categories currently available include Awesome Nature, How Things Work, Playing with Language, Questions No One (Yet) Knows the Answers To, and Inventions that Shaped History. The cross-curricular nature of the videos are a great starting point for any teacher looking to design an interdisciplinary unit.
Of course, one could always submit their own lecture for the series at TED-Ed’s website. TED sends a kit for recording your lesson. Animators then make the lesson come to life. The result, as one can see from the videos already available, are pretty engaging, even entertaining.
How do you see the TED-Ed video series fitting in with your teaching? Which topics would you like to see in the series? How are these videos more useful to teachers than the normal TED talk series?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.
This busy week has caused me to fall behind with the posts. So, for the online tool feature, I will give you five six for the price of one. Enjoy…
Students have a difficult time putting into context statistics involving large numbers of people. The BBC now offers How Many Really?, an online tool that allows one to put historical and current statistics in a context students can better understand. There are options for using Facebook or Twitter lists for comparisons, but one can also enter their own number of people (maybe a classroom’s worth) in order to see how these statistics would play out in a smaller, more manageable context. One could visualize how many of their Facebook friends would have died at Gettysburg or how many would be homeowners. via Larry Ferlazzo, via Infosthetics)
SafeShare is the tool for which schools weary of questionable YouTube content have been searching. With SafeShare, teachers can enter a YouTube URL and the tool will filter out ads, related videos, and comments. This makes YouTube a much safer resource for the classroom.
WikiHow has always been a fantastic resource for the how-to’s for almost anything. WH’s list of commonly misused words is just one example of how this site can be used as a help tool for your students. The list links to easy-to-understand anecdotes and definitions that explain when and where a word is best used. Now, there’s a simple way to explain the difference between “affect” and “effect.” (via EdGalaxy)
Chrome Experiments brings us the Web GL Globe, a tool that allows us to visualize world data in a prety slick, 3-D image of the earth. There are a few globes already submitted on the site, but it is easy to grab the Java Script and insert your own data sets.
Over the last few days, new tool to help with classroom management has been floating around the eMINTS discussion list. Class Dojo is an online tool that allows teachers to keep track of both positive and negative behaviors during class. Students might be rewarded for participation or helping others. Conversely, a teacher can track negative behaviors such as disruptions or missing homework. Data is collected in nice inforgraphics for the entire class as well as individual students. This data can then be easily shared with stakeholders for each student. One can even remotely record data with a smart phone, although no app seems to be available at the moment.
Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.
Have you ever wanted to show a small portion of a video from YouTube during a lesson or presentation?
What I usually did was create a link to the full video and then during the lesson/presentation I would drag the play-head to the exact time I wanted to start playing. I usually ended up waiting forever for the video to load, taking up tons of time that I didn’t have, and it never seemed to work out as I had planned.
Now TubeChop makes this task simple.
1. Before your lesson or presentation copy the YouTube video URL and then go to TubeChop. 2. Insert the URL in the text field at the top of the page and click search.
3. Once you can view the video use the beginning and ending play heads below the video.
4. Then click the Chop It button and presto – you have your “chopped video” clip, an embedding code, a direct link, and more.
Hopefully this easy to use tool will help you to have more effective and efficient lessons and presentations.
Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.
SnackTools are free and easy to use web applications designed to create and publish multimedia widgets. These widgets work seamlessly with websites and blog sites including Weebly, WordPress, Blogger, Facebook and many more.
To make your own custom Flash widgets, simply create a user account and look at the tutorials and examples. You will see how quick and easily you can be creating your own interactive flipbooks, banners, slideshows, and more.
Below is a complete list of the tools and their features along with preview images. To see the interactive examples I created for my website/blog visit the Helpful Hints Blog.
BannerSnack - A high quality gif and flash banner maker with transitions & effects.
PhotoSnack - Professional quality photo slideshows with as many pictures as you like & templates.
PodSnack - Custom web audio players with playlists, progress bar players, and mini players.
TubeSnack - Custom video players and playlists from your server or YouTube.
QuizSnack - Online surveys & polls embedded into your website or blog with real time reporting.
FlipSnack - Make perfect flip books from any PDF with a customizable look and size.
How might you use these tools to enhance teaching and learning through your classroom website and/or blog?
Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.Special thanks to Debbie Perkins, eMINTS Instructional Specialist for sharing this great resource.
The largest educational technology conference in the United States is going on right now in Philadelphia, PA. Formerly known as NECC, ISTE 2011 is the place for educators to meet to share what is going on in educational technology and what is just over the horizon.
I have had the chance to attend this conference twice and can say that it is an unbelievable opportunity to network with others that value the use of technology as an educational tool and a key component of 21st century learning.
Even though I don’t get to be there in person this year, there are many ways that I am staying connected and learning about what is new in technology and education at ISTE. Here are a few of the resources available to everyone so that we can all “virtually” attend the conference and stay connected.
Ahhh, Summer – a Teacher’s Vacation; or that is what a lot of people think. During this time many of you are teaching summer school, continuing your own education, making plans for next year, and hopefully relaxing and rejuvenating yourselves for the coming school year.
As you begin your Summer Vacation you may want to take a look at a project one High School English teacher has taken on. Charles Ripley, creator of the 2000 Hours blog, will be logging and blogging about all of the hours he puts in as a teacher for the next year to “change misconceptions about teachers in the United States.”
Happy Wednesday/Hump Day (HD), everyone! Here are a few useful links to get you through your week.
Lifehacker provides some nice advice in their “Emailable Tech Support.” Today’s post [How to Browse the Web Using Tabs (for Beginners)] features the basics of tab browsing, which can be an effective and useful practice to get into when doing online research. Sometimes, we are more likely to return to a task or webpage if the tab is left open as opposed to copying the URL or bookmarking the page.
Trying to teach debate or opposing viewpoints in politics? Mashable points out that YouTube is launching a channel where they match members of Congress debating two sides of a given issue. As is typical in the beltway, things can get pretty heated. So, you’ll want to preview the debates before sharing them with students. Read “YouTube Matches Congress Members For Debates On New Town Hall Platform” here.
Looking for a simple file sharing app? How about one that is so simple that sharing can happen by simply dragging and dropping files? Check out Fyles, the free service that provides 2GB of space, a link for your shared items, and a password for future deletion. (via Lifehacker)
From Google Labs (via EdTech Toolbox) comes Google Public Data Explorer. With this tool, students can compare data sets and create their own infographics. Easy to explore, visualize, and communicate data sets, Google Public Data Explorer is another free tool from your friends in Mountain View, CA.
Edutopiaaddresses the differentiation issue with a specific example of how one school in South Carolina is utilizing technology to provide individualized learning facilitation that works. Even without loads of technology, the tips provided are good things to keep in mind for your own differentiation, but with technology the article demonstrates how powerful technology can be in the diverse, 21st century classroom. (H/T Edgalaxy)
Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National with a rather large number of subscriptions in his Google Reader that he follows so that you don’t have to.