Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Silk Road Virtual Tour

Here's a great virtual tour of the Silk Road created by Professor Clayton Brown.

My thanks to Angela Lee for tweeting the link.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Virtual Tours for Your Classroom

One of my favorite exercises when we get to the Renaissance is to show them a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel as I love looking at the marvel of my students when they see what one person can do. This link will give you access to that tour as well as the Roman Coliseum (inside and out),  as well as the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids in Giza.  Thanks to a Tweet from F.C. Tymrak for this link.   Tymrak doesn't have much on his blog, but he is a prolific Tweeter and if you want to follow him, just click on the "follow" icon on the upper right hand side of your Twitter account.  By the way if you want to get lots of ideas for how to use Twitter in your classroom, I devote an entire chapter to it in my book,  Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction,  which is now less than a month away from being released and that you can pre-order here.  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snag-It for Chrome & Google Drive

This is pretty cool.  I have used Snag-it at school for years, but it is almost a pain as I have to go find it most of the time on my tools and I much prefer to have apps added to Chrome.  Well now I am all set as Snag-it has a Chrome add on that adds each item into your Google Drive account.  It lets you take the entire screen, parts of it and even movies and then annotate them.  Above is a video explaining how to use it. To found about it from TechSmith on Twitter

History vs. Vladimir Lenin

Here's a great Ted Ed lesson that pits Lenin against History.

Active Learning vs. Lectures: NY Times Story

Max Whittaker for The New York Times
Here's another case for getting rid of the dull and orderly (lectures) and offering a more active approach to teaching.

That's the what researchers found out in a study of science classes in California, according to the New York Times in this story called "Colleges Reinvent Classes to Keep More Students in Science."

Multiple studies have shown that students fare better with a more active approach to learning, using some of the tools being adopted here at Davis, while in traditional classes, students often learn less than their teachers think.

Thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.

Resources at California History Project

The History Project, developed by the University California, has some terrific resources on world history, many of which are engaging classroom lessons.
For example, here is  a interesting lesson on genocide. It includes a graphic organizer and definitions of the eight stages of genocide. You'll also find a great lesson on the Armenian genocide with primary sources.
Studying early trade?  Here's a lesson on why spices like cinnamon were so expensive and important. It includes a short PowerPoint  along with a  chart and primary sources.

Studying the silk road. This lesson shows students how Buddhist and Muslim art changed as it traveled  along  the Silk Road.

The  site is worth exploring but note that some lessons are  password protected.

My  thanks to Angela Lee ( @mrshistorylee)  for tweeting the link.

Friday, December 26, 2014

More Ideas for Good Learning

This presentation adds to the posts I have done on the book, How We Learn.  It repeats the thought that we learn best when we have breaks.  Indeed the technique Barbara Oakley mentions is 25 minutes of focused attention (no texting, looking at unrelated Internet pages) and then taking a break of a few minutes.  This, she says will increase learning retention.  As for tests, she suggest studying many times with flash cards, multiple techniques, etc.  As she points out, would you sing a song once and think you learned it - of course not.  As for underlining parts of a book, she says the most innovative to learn from a book is to read, then look away and see what you can remember.  Also, assume just reading will help you learn.  Mastery comes from repetition and interacting with what ever you are learning. 

The Atlantic Slave Trade & Impact: Awesome TedEd Talk

Here's an excellent TedEd talk on the slave trade and its impact on Africa. Thanks to F.C. Tymrak for tweeting the link.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Connecting the Industrial Revolution to Your Students

I love the post below from George Coe which talks about Crash Course joining Big History.  This video (one of ten they are making) is great as it really connects today's world to the Industrial Revolution.  For me this is important as I am constantly struggling to give my students reasons why they should study history to better understand their world. 

2000 Years and Not Much Difference

I like to say that every course uses social studies and this one is no different as it covers all four of the courses I am teaching this year.  First off it starts by saying that in 1AD the two biggest economies, based on GDP, were China and India.  Even today those two are two of the three largest economies with a "western mix" being the other one.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Crash Course & Big History Together

Big History and Crash Course have teamed up to produce ten new episodes based on Big History.

Thanks to Angela Lee for tweeting the link.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hoplites at War: Great Animation

Watch these Greek hoplites go to war thanks to the animation from Panoply. It's part of a project they created called "Every Solider has a Story."

You can read more about the project here at the History Blog where I found the video.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

William Harvey & Human Anatomy: Great Clip

Try to explain the importance of William Harvey to students and their eyes glaze over.

This great video from the Smithsonian Science Festival helps explain his significance, suggesting that he "literally wrote the book on human anatomy."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Learning Pod Needs Test Question Writers

Learning Pod has a tremendous number of resources including AP practice questions for your students.  But they are also a way for you to make extra money.  So if you go here you can apply to write questions for the AP content areas for social studies.  If you want to go to their site and see their resources, go here

Fakebook and Greek Gods

I have used Fakebook for a few years with my WHI kids to have them make comments between the gods.  Fakebook lets students create comments and posts, upload pictures (or have them chosen from the Internet) and even add in video.  If you watch my video above, it explains how to do all of this.   For what it is worth  there is also a FakeTweet and a FakeText.

The whole idea behind using Fakebook is having the kids summarize and synthesize what people might say to each other.  So here is my assignment (which you could copy and tailor to your own needs).  The kids really enjoy the assignment and the best part is that the Fakebook site creates a unique url and lets the kids add in their own password so they can work on the site on multiple occasions. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

VideoNot.es for Flipped Video Notetaking

Normally I ask my students to split their screen, but this relatively (it came out last April) new app called Videonot.es that does that for you, putting the video on the left and the notes on the right.  It is then synced with Google Drive so it automatically (if you approve it to do so) puts the notes in your Google  Drive folder.  You will also note that whenever you begin taking notes, it shows where you are in the video and if you click on that line of  the notes, it will take you back to the relevant place in the video.  

It is also available for Google Apps so your students can get it in the free or paid Google Drive.

Above is a video showing you how to use it.

WeVideo for your Video Creations

My daughter is working with a friend of a class video for tomorrow. They took their video clips using my wife's smartphone and then uploaded them onto WeVideo and very easily combined their clips into one video. You can add music, words, images, fade in/out, cut items out, etc. It also is an app in Google Drive so you can then upload it straight into your account (to add it to Google Drive, go to "more" under docs, presentation, etc. and then it will always be on your drop down for programs with Google Drive.

Join Me in Spain for an In-Service

This July 12-13 I am teaching a two day institute on the Mediterranean Sea coast near Marbella in Spain (very near Gibraltar).  The course will be two full days in which where we will be designing lesson plans to personalize learning for your students.  This means we will learn how to create a flipped video and what to do in the classroom once that is done including giving immediate feedback as well as giving formative evaluations.  Finally we will expand your own school PLC to one online so that you can follow-up the session with more collaboration and ideas well after the institute is over.  If you are interested, please go here to sign up for the course.  There is a considerable discount if you sign up by the middle of February.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Education Week Post

Way back in August Larry Ferlazzo asked me to respond to one of his reader's queries which was posted today.  The post looks at "interactives"  which allow students to work in class on "problem sets" where the teacher can walk around the room and act as a facilitator rather than as a passive lecturer.   Interactives are which are explored in my upcoming book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  The quote above is from the article but it really comes from a wonderful woman who taught my methods class back when I was learning to be a teacher.  While I have long since lost forgotten her name, the charge she gave us to keep up with student learning as it has evolved as not been forgotten by me in the twenty-five years since she said it to me.  

Intellectuals who Remade Asia: Great Book

Looking for a good book over the holiday break? Pankaj Mishra's From Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia provides a fascinating study of the 19th and 20th centuries from the view point of non-Europeans.

Through the eyes of a Chinese intellectual and a Muslim journalist at the turn of the 20th  century, Mishra shows how "some of the most intelligent and sensitive people in the East responded to the encroachment of the West." He describes how they responded to major events like the Indian mutiny, Ottoman modernization, the Russo-Chinese War, the Chinese revolution, and World War 1.

What a different view Asians had of the West! In short, they viewed the West much as the West view the Mongols--as uncivilized!

For example, the Hindu thinker Swami Vivekananda  "articulated a widespread moral revulsion among Asians for their European masters."

Intoxicated by the heady wine of newly acquired power, fearsome like wild animals who see no difference between good and evil, slaves to women, insane in their lust, drenched in alcohol from head to foot, without any norms of ritual conduct, unclean, materialistic,, dependent on material things, grabbing other people's land and wealth by hook or crook...

The moral revulsion common in the 19th century turned to hope early in the 20th century. That's when an Asian power defeated a white Western  power for the first time in centuries.

Intellectuals from Sun Yat Sen to Mahatma Gandhi saw Japan's defeat of Russia in 1905 as a sign of hope, noting that  "'the people of the East were finally 'waking up from the lethargy.'"

This is a fascinating book, readable, and only $13 at Amazon.

Mastery Learning Discussion and Examples

I believe watching my own children grow has helped to make me a better teacher.  For example my son is a very good gamer, but he is also very good at failing.  By that I mean he is willing to fail as many times as it takes to master a game which leads to his mastering the material and then moving on to another one.  It strikes me that I need to emulate my son's learning with all of my classes.  By that I mean I have mostly flipped my classes and so have much more time to move around the classroom helping my students.  While we are on a unit I also allow students to correct work again and again and consequently have no late grades and have mostly moved beyond a textbook in three of my four content classes and have set up an individualized learning model (see my book about this).  So it strikes me that I need to fully move to a standards based learning model as the last part of my educational evolution.  So in that move, you are going to see lots of videos and examples of mastery learning as I teach myself and fumble through this process.

So above my musings is a video overview of how mastery learning works in any classroom.  It is a great overview to explain the process and even does something no one has ever done for me which is to define mastery learning.  Below this writing is a video my fellow blogger, Frank Franz, made for his back to school flip parent video.  Watch it closely as it has not only an explanation of flipped learning (which really is the bedrock of mastery learning), but also how he carries out mastery learning, both in terms of objectives, daily learning, grading and, finally showing mastery.  The key, as I am learning, is that if the child is motivated, he/she can redo anything and potentially show better mastery.  But this means that the child might have additional (to the videos) learning and therefore need more motivation.

Friday, December 12, 2014

US, Ukraine Students at Global Summit on Human Rights

IMG_0853 (1) 
Today, my students in the United States discussed human rights and religious freedom during a video conference with students at a school in Ukraine. Our featured speaker,  a human rights officer with the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC, spoke to us from New York. Her family fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. She discussed the history of Baha'i persecution and explained her efforts on behalf of that community.

Face to Faith, an organization developed by Prime Minister Tony Blair to bring together students of different cultures and religions, organizes the conferences through a video conferencing service called Bluejeans.

The questions from students at both schools were fascinating, as was the speaker's answers and follow-up discussion. For example, one student asked Ms. Kourosh  if  she had ever been to Iran.  She said that she had never been to the country and that it would be dangerous for her to go. Another student asked how the Baha'i are persecuted today. Ms. Kourosh explained that over 100 Baha'i are currently imprisoned in Iran and that many suffer solitary confinement and physical abuse.

Ms. Kourosh ended the conference by telling our students that  we are all ambassadors for human rights. She urged the students to educate themselves and mentioned a new documentary about  Baha'i persecution called "to Light a Candle." It premieres in February but you can see the trailer here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Studying for the Test by Taking the Test

One of the best ways for students to learn is by taking frequent tests or quizzes.

According to an interesting story in the New York Times, that's what two psychology professors found out in an experiment. One professor gave a quiz to his introductory class every day. The other professor did not.

Students who took the daily quizzes did better on a bigger  test than the students who did not take the quizzes.

According to the Times, these students did significantly better.
But they did significantly better than a comparison intro psych class, both in their grades and on a larger quiz that included 17 of the same questions that appeared both in the quizzes and on the other class’s midterm. The quizzes were especially beneficial for the type of students — many from low-performing high schools — who don’t realize how far behind they are until it’s too late.
Maybe we should all be thinking of ways to quiz our students more!

My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link to this story.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google Classroom

If you have your students work in Google Drive, a new way to do it is through Google Classroom.  It allows you to see who has turned in what and when.  You do have to have a Google Apps for Education account as do your students.  The key to the video above is that you can see both the teacher and the students accounts side by side above. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Zaption to Personalize Your Flipped Vidoes

Thanks to Scott Nichols for this tip.  Zaption allows you to take any YouTube or Vimeo video, edit them, add questions, text and images and then share it with your students using a url.  It is also free! Below is a video explaining how to do it.