This could be very interesting … a new venture from the Educator Innovator network is offering a series of “unhangout” sessions this fall entitled Learning Aloud Geekouts. It’s looking like they are taking the concept of the “unconference” and moving it online with a new Google Hangout adaption that allows folks to move into different “rooms” for activities. (I helped test the hangout idea over the summer and thought it worked quite well.)
The overview blurb states:
…this series will kick off with a special September 30th “unHangout” event where educators in the maker movement will facilitate large and small group introductions to a range of favorite making topics, including Arduino, Scratch, Wearable Tech, 3D Printing, Minecraft, and more. Then, on Thursday afternoons throughout October, the Geekout series will begin in which a teen host will lead a “make” with three other teens alongside formal and informal educators and mentors. – from http://blog.nwp.org/educatorinnovator/2013/09/27/learning-aloud-geekout-series/
The first event is this Monday (1:30pm PDT / 4:30pm EDT) and the link to get more information and register is here. What’s going to happen? Well, some interesting things. Folks are going to share thinking and making around Scratch, Webmaker tools, Minecraft, Arduino and more.
Here is the list of folks who are leading the sessions so far:
Commonsense Media had an interesting item in its newsletter, connecting the downward trend of young people on Facebook and wondering where kids will go. The piece begins by reminding of the rage of MySpace (I do remember) and how teens realized that once their parents were there, it wasn’t the place to be anymore. Commonsense then suggests a list of 11 sites that young people are moving (or may be moving) towards in digital lives “after Facebook.”
Here’s what they have as social spaces and apps where kids are shifting to:
I like this Prezi about Digital Culture put together by Gideon Burton (Thanks to Ian for sharing the link). I have not listened to the podcast of the presentation but there is a lot to think about in here.
Here is a potentially fun site. Twister (part of the Classtools.net suite of interesting activities) is a Twitter spoof site, in which you find someone from history and “create” a fake Twitter site and tweet. I did this one for Adolf Rickenbacker, one of the founders of the electric guitar. The Twister site gives you a few boxes for information (username, real name, tweet and date) and then creates a single page that looks like this one.
There is even a bank of exemplars, and I wonder if this might be a nice extensive activity for students doing research on a historical figure. I didn’t think it would so well with fictional characters but then I tried one with Percy Jackson, and it seemed to work just fine.
What’s interesting is coming up with a Twitter username (here, you might teach theme) and what kind of short text/tweet they might send out to the world. It shouldn’t be just random and yet it shouldn’t sound like a historic document either, so you are crafting a page that has personality. That’s an intriguing project for a student, don’t you think?
(Note: This is a Slice of Life post. You can join in with your own slice, too. Head over to Two Writing Teachers to get more information about the writing activity that takes place online every Tuesday.)
We’ve just started school but we had the pleasure yesterday of connecting our classroom in Western Massachusetts with a class out in Arizona to talk about a book that both classes have read: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. This book was our entire school’s summer read but the students in Arizona are using it as a read-aloud. They’ve done a whole lot more work that we have and they shared out a lot of great ideas about the book, asked questions and considered a few different angles of the rich storyline of a character who heads off on an adventure in China to bring good luck to her village and family.
This is the first time my students have connected with another classroom, and they were pretty focused and jazzed up about it, even though we had some trouble hearing and they had some trouble hearing us. I realize I need to have a better system of students being closer to the computer for sharing — a little chair or something — and because we are at the start of the year, I didn’t feel quite as prepared as I would have liked for my own students sharing.
But my teaching friends in Arizona — Michael Buist (whom I met during our Making Learning Connected MOOC) and Jennifer Nusbaum — were great to work with, and I love extending the classroom beyond our walls, reaching out to make my students feel connected to something larger than themselves. It was a great first step at the start of the year.
(Bart Gets Jiggy with It)
The other day, I wrote about a struggle to create an animated GIF from a video file. Yesterday, another member of #ds106 graciously shared out a website that does the work for you. The site — called GifSoup — allows you to input a YouTube video file, tell it where in the video you want to convert, and then creates the GIF. The site then pops out code and links for sharing, and allows you the option of downloading. The free version is limited (no more than 10 second clips) and comes with a company watermark.
I had some trouble with a few clips last night, where the end result was a smooshed, flattened GIF. But I think it was a glitch that fixed itself, and this morning, the site worked fine for me. Give it a try. The assignment at #ds106 was to find a scene that represented a movie you liked or did not like, and create an animated GIF of it.
This is from the movie, Bird: GIFSoup
And another one for fun from Futurama: GIFSoup
(Bender goes on a Bender)
Peace (in the frame),
I still have not found a regular use for Pinterest in my information life, but this growing collection of resources for teachers might be something useful for folks. Pinterest has created this “hub” of pins around teaching, grouped by grades and topics and more, and there are some good resources here. I am following the sixth grade board, just to see how it develops.
The founders of YouTube have put out a new video tool called MixBit, which is sort of like Vine and the Instagram video tool but with the twist of remixing. I’m still figuring it out, but here is a video of my dog on the floor.
What the site does is divide up your video into segments, and allows you to remix the video in other ways (or use segments from other people’s videos, which is interesting and worth investigating).
Here, I remixed some of my dog with some other dogs and cats on the site.
You know when something is new and you are still figuring out the possibilities? That’s where I’m at with MixBit right now.
Peace (in the mixing of bits),
PS — Firefox does not yet play nice but Chrome works fine.
I’m not sure if you follow Audrey Watters at her various Hack Education spaces, but you should. You definitely should. She is insightful, probing and opinionated about a lot of things related to education, particularly of the way school districts and for-profit companies seem to be in a dance together more often than we would like to admit (Common Core Approved!) .
In short, she’s a great read (and writing a new book, so that’s cool). Her recent newsletter pointed readers to a series of posts she is developing around teachers and technology coordinators, and the divide between them (if you are unlucky to be in a district where that happens).
“..all sorts of chasms remain between the realms of education and technology, between teachers and technologists. If we’re to bridge that (and recognize that there may well be places where we can’t, where missions and methods are irreconcilable) we should probably start by learning a bit more about one another — a little bit more about the education and the technology components, as well as the business and politics, of ed-tech.” — from http://guide.hackeducation.com/
Check out the two collection she has up already and then come back in the future for the third (What Learners Should Know About Ed-Tech). As with everything she writes, there is a lot to digest here, and a lot to consider, and all of it is important.