Last week I shared a tool that allows teachers to display YouTube videos to their classes in a way that eliminates the clutter of advertising and the distraction of comments and related videos that may be inappropriate for the school setting. But I didn’t address the best ways of using videos to enhance student learning, or the simple question of how to find the best content amid the seemingly endless expanse of online videos. Did you know that people throughout the world are uploading 48 hours of video to YouTube every minute? And that’s just YouTube!
Well, the fine folks over at MindShift (one of my favorite education blogs) have developed this excellent Teachers’ Guide to Using Video. It addresses where to find the best educational content, the difference between instruction and supplemental videos, how to evaluate the usefulness of videos, how to curate content without wasting precious time online, and most importantly, strategies for blending video content into your curriculum to promote deeper learning. The video embedded below is just one example the guide provides for how teachers can use video to inspire inquiry and help students form hypotheses.
What about you? Do you have any go-to websites not mentioned in the guide above that contain awesome educational videos? Leave your comments below.
YouTube videos can be great for presenting engaging instructional content to students as part of a lesson. But there’s always a chance that something embarrassing will appear on your overhead projector screen along with the video — an F-bomb in all CAPS in the first viewer comment, or a thumbnail image of a wet t-shirt contest under the “related” videos section. I’ve heard stories about teachers scrambling to get to their computer’s mouse to click out of the window before students noticed. Well, thanks to Safeshare.TV you can present YouTube videos in your classroom without trepidation.
It’s simple…just copy the YouTube URL into Safeshare.TV and it will generate a link that shows only the video…no ads, no comments, no “related” videos. Watch the video below to see how it works.
Here’s an excellent OpEd piece by Thomas Friedman about the role the Internet played in the radicalization of the Boston Marathon-bombing Tsarnaev brothers and how important it is for us to instill good judgment in our young while they read the Web. The money quote…
As for the role that Web sites apparently played in the “self-radicalization” of the two Chechen brothers, it is yet another reminder that the Internet is a digital river that carries incredible sources of wisdom and hate along the same current. It’s all there together. And our kids and citizens usually interact with this flow nakedly, with no supervision.
So more people are more directly exposed to more raw information and opinion every day from everywhere. As such, it is more important than ever that we build the internal software, the internal filters, into every citizen to sift out fact from fiction in this electronic torrent, which offers so much information that has never been touched by an editor, a censor or a libel lawyer.
To me this is the perfect illustration for why critical thinking doesn’t mean what it used to before we entered the Digital Age. It’s no longer enough to have students think critically about a challenging text in English class, or explore multiple perspectives of historical events described in a History textbook. They need to learn how to read the Web critically.
Since the topic of this post is Information (or Web) Literacy, I asked Library Media Coordinator Dawn Fiorelli to co-author it with me. Thank you, Dawn!
As we were recently reminded during a professional development conference led by educational technology guru Alan November, web literacy is an essential skill we must teach our students across all content areas. The Common Core requires that students be able to manage web-based information, but more importantly, web literacy involves being able to think critically, conduct meaningful, purposeful research, determine fact from fiction, and synthesize multiple pieces of information. And it all begins with knowing how to use Google to get the results you need.
This article by Alan November makes a compelling case for why we should all teach kids how to search the web as early as first grade and goes on to describe how we can all start. It’s a great read that I highly recommend. Also worthwhile is the Information Literacy Resources page on NovemberLearning.com, which contains information on how to validate websites and “read” a web address.
But the real key here is developing a solid understanding of Google advanced search options. So we’ve compiled some Google tips and tricks resources that are all downloadable. You might want to start with the embedded image above, but be sure to check out Google Tips for Better Search Results, too. Then there’s this link from Google’s website that is geared a little more to consumers but is incredibly useful.
Another powerful tool is Easybib.com. Our students in grades 5-12 have access to subscription services provided by Easybib which help students evaluate websites using their Criteria for Evaluating Websites guide.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend at least 15 minutes a week engaging in my own PD via Twitter. So, for my first post of 2013 I thought I’d share a couple resources I found on my Twitter feed. The first is a great video for those of you who may have recently gotten an iPad over the holidays. All the tips covered in this video will help you navigate your new toy learning device more fluently.
The next is a list of the Top 25 Educational Technology Sites in 2012. I can’t say I love ‘em all, and some of my favorites (see my Blogroll in the right-hand margin) didn’t make the cut, but there are some definite keepers here.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions that involve technology integration? Let us know by posting a comment below.
Despite their best efforts, school districts everywhere struggle with providing teachers with professional development activities and opportunities that meet the needs of all teachers. While we all educate students, we all have different needs due to the variety of subjects and ages we teach, not to mention the variety of learning styles we each have as adult learners. Some activities are a no-brainer…when there’s a new student information system that all teachers will be using (think Infinite Campus), everyone will benefit from a workshop that shows teachers how to use it. However, when it comes to professional growth related to instructional practices, a one-size-fits-all doesn’t usually work. This is why some districts are encouraging teachers to develop professional/personal learning networks (PLN’s). A PLN is basically a personalized social network, developed by the individual teacher, full of digital resources that pertain to his/her specific needs or interests as an educator.
One great way to start developing a personal learning network is by reading blogs, using an RSS feed aggregator, like GoogleReader. This article does a great job discussing the role of RSS feeds and wikis in developing PLN’s. To learn about the basic concept of RSS, click on the video below.
Another great PLN tool is Twitter. This article by New Milford High School (NJ) principal Eric Sheninger explains why Twitter should be a vital component to anyone’s PLN. How many of you are on Twitter and use it as a means for professional growth? Leave a comment below to share your experiences. Then hit me up on Twitter…my handle is @MadisonITS.
How did I miss this? I blogged a while ago about WatchKnowLearn, a great video resource site for educators, but I didn’t find out about YouTube EDU until today. Perhaps this is YouTube’s response to WatchKnowLearn, or maybe they’re just smart enough to understand the educational potential of their product.
At any rate, YouTube EDU offers students and teachers access to a broad set of educational videos that range from academic lectures to inspirational speeches and everything in between. School districts can also sign up for YouTube for Schools, which is basically the offers schools more control over the content their students have access to throughout the school day.
Want to engage students with more video content? Well, you now have what I’m calling The Free Big 3: WatchKnowLearn, YouTube EDU, and The Khan Academy. I realize that some schools in Madison also have access to DiscoveryEducation Streaming, but as much as I enjoy its content, it’s not free.
So what are your thoughts about the quality of the sites mentioned above? Do some offer better selections than others? Is the copyright-protected content on DiscoveryEd that much better than what The Free Big 3 have to offer? Please leave a comment below.