Since this is my Fun Friday post for the week, I will not go into all of the ways you could connect this to classroom learning. Just watch, and enjoy!
StoryCorps just posted a new short animated video that is incredibly inspirational and moving. “Eyes on the Stars” tells us about the perseverance and pioneering spirit of Ronald McNair, one of the seven astronauts killed in the Challenger explosion, as told by his brother. There are so many lessons that your students can glean from this less-than-4-minutes video: the importance of reading, standing up against adversity, pursuing your dreams, civil rights, etc…
I had been thinking about writing a post about the StoryCorps animations for awhile, but hadn’t found one, yet, that I was ready to integrate into my classroom. ”Eyes on the Stars” was just published, and I’ve already seen it featured on two of my favorite blogs: ”It’s Okay to Be Smart” and “Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.” You can view more StoryCorps animations here. As always, I recommend that you view the videos before showing them to your students and/or children.
You can also see more Inspirational Videos for Students on my Pinterest board.
Welcome back, everyone! In my first post for 2013, I present to you a short animation that has a surprising ending. This would be a great video to present to your students when talking about Multiple Perspectives, one of Sandra Kaplan’s areas of Depth and Complexity. It could also be a fun story starter or creative writing exercise. You might ask the students to think about some of these questions:
What if our world is a BumbleVille? How would we know if it is or isn’t?
Would you want to live in BumbleVille?
How is BumbleVille different than your own community?
How would someone go about leaving BumbleVille?
What would you do if you discovered a BumbleVille?
If you are unable to view the embedded video below, you can find “BumbleVille”, produced by The STUDIO, at this link: http://vimeo.com/22555820
Recently, Larry Ferlazzo published a couple of round-up posts that listed “The Best Videos for Educators in 2012 – So Far“. I recommend you take a look at them. (Here is a link to the second one.) I pinned a few of them to my board of “Inspirational Videos for Students“, but this one probably would not be classified as inspirational. However, it is a great metaphor for the way we learn, and why it is so important for us to stretch our thinking in new directions as often as possible. If you are unable to view the embedded video below, you can also find it at http://youtu.be/BEwg8TeipfQ.
I found Mission: DS106 through Lisa Johnson (techchef4u) on her Scoop It site for Web 2.0 Tool and Resources. I love this bank of different types of assignments using digital media. It’s probably a little high level for my elementary students, but I think it would be great for upper middle school and high school. There is even a “remix” option to add a little twist to each assignment!
One example of an assignment is called “Movie Trailer Mashup”: ”Take your favorite movie trailer and mash it up with a different trailer to completely change the meaning of the original trailer. For example, if you have a funny movie trailer, give it the sound of a terrifying movie; or vice versa. You may need to clip the audio or the visual, use imovie and audacity to cut the clips to give you what you need. Good luck!” You should visit the site here to see the hilarious example that is given and the subsequent completed assignments!
Although I wouldn’t necessarily use this site with my young students, I love the bank of creative ideas, and definitely think some of the assignments can be used or adapted for the elementary classroom. I also like the idea of a bank of ideas, the way people can submit their assignments for others to view, and the fact that people can also submit new assignment suggestions. I would like to create something similar to this for my own students to use. Mission: DS106 is very impressive!
During the summer, several of my favorite bloggers, including Richard Byrne at Free Tech 4 Teachers and Kelly Tenkely at iLearn Technology, posted about a new tool that is in Beta right now, called PowToon. If you have advanced from Powerpoint to Prezi, and are looking for a new presentation tool, PowToon might be your new choice. You will need to give them your e-mail address in order to get an invitation, but you should receive your login info fairly quickly; mine was in less than an hour. The basic level is free, granting you 20 uploads per month to YouTube.
Because PowToon is in Beta, there are a lot of features that are promised for the future. One problem that will hopefully be fixed fairly soon is the method for inserting images. You cannot insert directly from your computer files; you must give a URL on which the image is hosted. This is not insurmountable, but causes a few extra steps that are a bit monotonous.
I will direct you to Richard’s and Kelly’s posts for more details on PowToon. Kelly’s post is quite detailed, and she recommends watching PowToon’s How to Create Series – which I also highly suggest – once you get logged in.
Thanks to our principal, Mr. Hinds, for showing “Bring on the Learning Revolution!” during our final staff meeting of the school year today. I had seen Sir Ken Robinson’s other TED video, “Schools Kill Creativity”, but had somehow missed this later lecture from Sir Ken Robinson. I really loved everything about this inspirational speech, but one part sounded eerily like something that I have observed myself in our educational system. Sir Ken Robinson says, “I think we are obsessed with getting people to college. Certain sorts of college. I don’t mean you shouldn’t go to college, but not everybody needs to go and not everybody needs to go now. Maybe they go later, not right away.” He speaks of finding the passion of our students and of not trying to stick to such a linear progression in our school systems, where everyone is expected to travel the same route from Kindergarten to College. I hope more people will view his video, and participate in bringing about this learning revolution.
“Classroom Game Design“, a TEDx video presented by Paul Andersen, suggests an interesting idea for organizing your classroom. Why not leverage the fascination that many youngsters today have with gaming by making your own classroom a video game? Have your students earn Experience Points to “level up” and gain new freedoms (and responsibilities) in the classroom. This is an idea that does not even require any technology in your classroom – just a willingness to motivate your students using a language they understand very well.
If you are unable to see the video embedded below, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlYGX0H6Ec&feature=youtu.be
You are probably familiar with the “Talking” apps. There are a variety that are available for free, and work on iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. This particular one is only compatible with the iPad at the moment, and is free (though there is an offer for an in-app purchase). My Multimedia club students had fun playing around with the app to deliver some Thanksgiving Jokes on our school news, which is a video broadcast. They recorded the jokes, then sent them to the computer, where, once the MOV file was converted to WMV (with a little help from Zamzar), we were able to add music and subtitles. If you are not crazy about all of those complicated steps, don’t worry. You can just record and e-mail it. We have not had a chance to use one of the coolest features of this app, which allows you to insert a video from your iPad on which Tom and Ben can comment. This offers a lot of learning opportunities in which students can explain some of their own homemade videos. (Example: Imagine, “This just in – Allison figured out how to solve 13 times 14!”)
Here is a sample of our jokes from our video club: