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Posts tagged ‘Video’

History Nerd Fest 2013 – Student created documentaries

Mark Hofer and Kathy Swan suggest that students are great consumers of information but aren’t necessarily great producers of information.

And the Common Core and new NCSS standards are asking our kids to do more creating. What does that look like? Mark and Kathy see great possibilities with new technologies that support student-created documentaries.

They’re very convincing. Video creation can align to reading and writing and communicating skills required in the Common Core literacy standards. Video can align to historical content. Video can be engaging.

But, they warn, beware the green pancake. Eating a green pancake will get someone’s attention but the pancake doesn’t taste any different or provide any more nutrition. It’s just green. But we can get very excited about it because, well . . . it’s green. So it must be really good.

It’s the shiny object idea I’ve talked about before. Technology, while important, is not necessary in every step of the documentary creation process. Make sure that kids are focused on the gathering of social studies content, on answering big ideas and rich questions, and on creating original solutions. Then you can begin to incorporate technology.

Mark talked about the idea of using Evidence-Based Arguments as a starting point. Every historical investigation needs to begin with a great question. Then they asked kids to do research and create videos. But what they got was disappointing. What they got was basically text with pictures, a script with a background. It wasn’t a story, it wasn’t engaging, and it often didn’t really answer the question.  They begin to realize that they needed to learn more about how to create high-quality documentaries, how to use images and video to actually tell a story.

And eventually they came up with a Four Step Process that students work through to create high-quality documentaries: Read more

Tip of the Week: Vine, or how I learned to love history in 6 seconds

I’ll be honest. I really had no idea what Vine was until this summer. It was my college-age son, of course, who introduced me to the tool.

And I never laughed so hard.

Jake is great at telling incredibly funny stories in the six seconds of video allowed by Vine. Most of the clips he created involved me and the rest of his family. I’m pretty sure that I had nothing to do with the funny parts.

If you’re not familiar with Vine, it’s fairly simple. Vine is a mobile app that that lets you capture six seconds of video and post it online. Just as Twitter is a micro-blog of 140 characters, Vine is a micro-video of just six seconds.

Think visual Twitter and you’ve got it.

I know what you’re thinking. Six seconds? Really? But just like thousands of educators are using Twitter as part of teaching and learning, more and more teachers are finding ways to incorporate Vine into their classrooms. So what does that look like? Read more

5 tasty YouTube channels perfect for history geeks

Yup. I’m a history geek. I’m a member of the History Book Club, I love maps, I stop and read every historical marker before driving past, I spent most of a morning three weeks ago quizzing the docent in the Northfield, Minnesota history museum on the 1876 raid by the James Gang, and I have the Band of Brothers DVD series memorized.

So where do I go when I need a good YouTube video?

Here are five very sweet YouTube channels that are great places for you and your kids.

Read more

Tip of the Week – Youtube for Teachers Update

I first mentioned several months ago and suggested it as a great resource for educators.

It’s gotten better. So I’m back with an update. was created to help teachers use YouTube videos

to educate, engage, and inspire their students.

And the Youtube people are working with a group of teachers to put together a series of  playlists of partner videos that align with Common Core standards. The nice thing about this new addition is the handy-dandy playlists are listed in an easy-to-navigate way.

You’ll find elementary and secondary Social Studies sections (as well as math, Language Arts and Science) with a wide variety of topical playlists. You can also suggest your own playlists to be included in their database.

It looks a bit like a work in progress because they haven’t yet sorted out a ton of videos. But there’s enough there to get you hooked on the idea.

Give it a try. And be sure to have fun!

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Tip of the Week – 2011 Google Year in Review

Every year, Google publishes its annual Zeitgeist:

What mattered in 2011? Zeitgeist sorted billions of Google searches to capture the year’s 10 fastest-rising global queries and the rest of the spirit of 2011.

From that report, the Google folks created a short video highlighting the events of 2011 as seen through the lens of Google searches. It’s a different way and a different perspective to view the past year. It’s also a nice way for you and your kids to start a conversation about a whole range of things:

  • Current events
  • Bias & perspective
  • Cause and effect
  • Why are some events more “important” than others?
  • Why did some events and people make the video and others didn’t?
  • What would the video look like if it focused on just one country? On just the United States? On just your state or city?
  • What would your video look like?

The cool thing is that your kids can create their own video. Using the very awesome Google Search Story Video Creator, your students can use the Google Search tool to fashion a ZeitGeist of their own.

Have fun!

(View the 2010 version here.)

Tip of the Week – YouTube Teachers Channel (and other educational channels)

YouTube has been blocked so long for some many teachers that I think we sometimes forget that it’s still there. If you’re one of the lucky ones who teach in a building where YouTube is not blocked, don’t ever leave.

But if you’re one of the unlucky ones who work in an environment where the tech folks guard Internet access like nuclear launch codes, there’s hope.

YouTube recently created a channel designed specifically for educators. It’s pretty good. And . . . it just might be good enough for the gatekeepers to unblock.

This site is a resource for educators everywhere to learn how to use YouTube as an educational tool. There are lesson plan suggestions, highlights of great educational content on YouTube and training on how to film your own educational videos.

This site was written by teachers for teachers and it seems as if YouTube wants to continue that spirit of community-involvement. They’re creating a new YouTube newsletter for teachers and are asking teachers to submit their favorite YouTube playlists to highlight on YouTube EDU.

The first thing you see is a collection of video clips and teaching ideas:

Spark Lively Discussion: Engage students by showing a video relevant to their lives. Video clips can bring in different perspectives or force students to consider a new viewpoint, helping to spark a discussion.
Organize all the great video content you find: Playlists are YouTube’s way of allowing you to organize videos on the site. When one video ends, the playlist plays the next video without offering ‘related videos,’ thus creating a curated environment for you students.
Archive your work: Capture and save projects and discussions so you can refer back to them year after year. This will also help you save time as you can assign old videos to your new students.
Allow students to dig deeper into a subject: Give students the option to dig deeper into a subject by creating a playlist of videos related to that concept. By creating playlists of relevant videos you allow students to pursue their interests without wasting their time searching for information (or finding potentially objectionable content).
Get struggling students to speed up and push strong students ahead: Videos (or playlists) can help supplement in class teaching for struggling students. Students can review them at home time so you’re not forced to teacher exclusively to the middle 50%.
Review for upcoming exams: Turn test review and flashcards into easy-to-watch videos. This way students can hear your explanations as they study. You can also create a “test review” video students can use to study the night before the big test.
Create a YouTube center in your classroom: When working in stations or centers, have students use your YouTube channel to complete an assignment, freeing you upto work with small groups of students.
Create quizzes to accompany videos for instant feedback: Create a Google Form that students complete after watching a video. You can use this quiz to get instant feedback on what they’re learning.
Create Interactive Video Quests
: Use YouTube annotations to create “Choose your own adventure” style video quests. You can also create a video guide.
Flip your classroom: If your students watch a video of the basic concepts at home you can focus in class on applying those concepts, working collaboratively with their classmates rather than simply listening to you lecture.

It’s not a perfect system yet but it’s a start. And be sure to check out these other useful YouTube channels appropriate for teachers. Who knows? Maybe the tech people will finally see some of the benefits of online video!

Smithsonian Videos: The beloved museum’s official channel mostly serves as a hub for its other offerings, but still hosts its own series of videos covering everything from biology to art.

Discovery Channel: Explore a nice variety of subjects through this channel.

PBS: Public broadcasting opens up viewers’ minds to the wide range of wonders the world has to offer, particularly when it comes to current events, the arts and science.

National Geographic: History, anthropology, science, archaeology, psychology, art, sociology and other topics collide into one incredibly valuable, intelligent and highly educational resource.

Edutopia: This organization devotes its resources to promote multimedia, interactive and online learning in classrooms worldwide, making it a wonderful channel for tech-savvy (and not so tech-savvy) teachers.

Associated Press: Stay on top of the current events impacting today’s world. Associated Press covers both domestic and international stories.

The White House: Follow this YouTube channel for the latest developments in American politics.

Library of Congress: Most of the videos and lectures presented by the Library of Congress involve film, books and American history.

100 Incredible YouTube Channels for History Buffs: Not all of these are actual channels but you will find some awesome history stuff here

Have fun!

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