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

Macroeconomics and Russia


Russia is suffering greatly, in part, due to the falling oil prices as the Ruble's value has been dropping precipitously.  Fifty percent of Russia's government's revenue comes from oil.  Above you can listen to the first two minutes of the talk from the Economist and here is a great article from the NYTimes which looks at several things taught in macroeconomics including selling of government assets abroad and raising the interest rate.   This is an article that I can use for both my economics' classes as well as comparative government. 

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.  

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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Obama's Executive Order Explained

This goes with my previous post on Obama's executive order, but this one explains what it is about and the background to it.

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 Videos


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. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quizlet and Studying for Tests

Admittedly one needs to know a lot more than just vocabulary in economics, but it is certainly a place to start.  So one thing you can do is to have your students use Quizlet to see if they know all of their vocabulary.   Quizlet allows students to use traditional flash cards as well as a number of learning games.  You can even set it up for your class and each student can compete against one another.   Above is an example of the what you might study for Congress.  You can choose to make the cards yourself, have your students do so or even just use someone else's as I have done here.  But if you go with the last choice, make sure you like each card.  Alternatively, if you set up an account, you could make a copy of someone else's cards and then make them exactly the way you want them.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Franksgiving and Executive Orders

With all the noise against Obama's executive order on immigration most forget that there was also a lot of unhappiness in moving back Thanksgiving a week in an attempt to stimulate the economy.  This happened in 1939 and those against it dubbed it "Franksgiving."  Indeed several states even refused to go along with it.  It is a good example of the powers of the president and a way to remember what is meant by an executive order. Here is a recent Politico story on it. 

Remind Your Students Using Texts


Today I found an article on the Washington Post that goes with along with what some of my students are doing for homework.  So, today I sent them the link to the article and was able to do it because all of my students voluntarily sign up for Remind.com because they like the reminder.  You can send a simple text and even add an attachment and, if you want to, put it on Twitter as well.  Over the years I have used it I have become convinced that kids, more than not, don't do their homework because of poor planning or organization and Remind has helped immensely on this.  Above is a video explaining how to use it.  Of course the service is free and parents can sign up for it as well.  Finally it is also only a one way text. 

Facebook and Campaigns

Facebook, as you can see in this article, has joined with Acxiom which allows the social networking giant to match postal addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and user IDs (if they don't have them already).  In this way Facebook can sell ads to campaigns and reach you faster than mail and more or less ensure you will read it - as opposed to traditional mail.   This micro-targeting is being done by lots of firms, but none have the 1 billion names that Facebook has.
Here is Facebook's ad page for campaigns.

Below is a PBS story on what is meant by micro-targeting.