So...a funny thing happened last week that I never thought about! Our 8th Grade ELA students created these video projects in which they compiled short video clips from different TV shows, movies, and music videos to create their Top 10 Tips on surviving Middle School, Project 10: Life Lessons Learned. Their target audience...the incoming 6th graders. This was a great concept, but I knew they would need a crash course on Copyright Compliance so I gave them one. Once they began to upload their videos, a few still got flagged. YouTube was great to specifically detail the infractions. So corrections were made, and a new upload ensued. I realized...YouTube became our TurnItIn for multi-media. One more reason to #freethetube!

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Options such at Google Lit Trips or Google Earth Walks are some cool options that capitalize on the use of Google Earth. But they can be somewhat confusing to create for the tech-timid user and do require the use of Google Earth. A couple of very easy-to-use tools have since been launched that make it easy for students to create these "tours of information"...Google Tour Builder and Google My Maps.

This has led me to create "LiteraTours" that students can create as they read assigned novels. Our first LiteraTour is launching this May with The Cay

I can also see the use of Google My Maps as an intriguing option for a truly interactive notebook in a social studies or world history class utilizing the different map's layers for different categories of information...stay tuned as I begin to develop that concept.

Meanwhile, I've created an infographic that highlights a few of the differences between these two great options for storytelling through maps. Both are equally great options, it just depends on the needs of the task as to which tool would be best. 

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Over the last several weeks, I've been noticing some tweets popping up talking about when it might be time to look at a redesign of the work you're creating for students. At first, I thought it was funny when I saw this tweet:

But when you look at how many times it was retweeted and even many times it was "liked", you begin to wonder if this could be a problem. I saw a similar one regarding PowerPoint presentations. So I decided to put together an infographic with some questions you might ask yourself to decide if it's time for a redesign. 

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Virtual reality is taking over the educational world! With Google Cardboard oculus viewers so accessible, it has made it very easy for teachers to tap into using 4D resources that swing the doors of the classroom wide open to the world. Imagine studying:
  • the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza
  • the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef
  • how long it would take to walk the Great Wall of China
...and you actually get to explore the site you’re discussing...that day...with your classmates. These devices are the 21st-century school bus!
The great thing about the resources emerging for this is many don't even require the viewer. YouTube has launched their 360º Video Channel and many of these videos can be simply viewed with no additional devices needed. 

New apps capitalizing on ocular devices are emerging daily for both iOS and Android devices. Because our district is an Apple district, I created a Symbaloo that includes apps for iOS devices as well as some notable videos on the YouTube 360º video channel that I have placed on the bottom two rows.

Live WebCams are another cool option to swing the doors of your classroom wide open. There are lots of live webcams around the world that allow you to get a glimpse of different people, places, and things. Some ways these webcams could be used in the classroom:

  • Student Research Projects
  • Class study and analysis of data
  • Collaborative Google Sites to track data
  • Open discussions of observations and effects
  • As an added element to a web quest
Click on the graphic below to access some great webcams to check out:

Check back for updates as we continue to grow our list of Virtual Reality/Google Cardboard resources as well as our list of live webcams. It's time to take our students out into the world and bring learning to life.
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