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Me, Elsewhere

Tap to Learn



Tap to Learn is a series of applications made for the iPhone and iPad to provide engaging methods for early learning. The games build skills in mathematics, grammar, geography, the periodic table of elements, and spelling.

Explore the Solar System with NASA



"A national team of educators and scientists worked together to create this one-stop shop for NASA solar system exploration education resources. This best of collection includes teacher-approved lessons - sorted by curriculum standards or by quick categories - and clear signposts to the entire NASA education network. NASA continues its tradition of supporting the educators who play a key role in preparing, inspiring, exciting, encouraging and nurturing the young minds of today who will be the workforce of tomorrow.” Resources are broken down by grade level (as low as first grade) and standard.
Match that exploration with these images of space from JPL and NASA.


Nominated for multiple Webby awards, this beautiful, interactive documentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum allows the user to explore the decisions that caused intense struggle for important and powerful minds of the time. Clouds Over Cuba is an incredible platform for exploring this time period in the manner of a historian.

There really are just too many YouTubers out there that have fantastic educational content, so to add to other experts I’ve featured (VsauceSixty SymbolsCrash CourseTED-Ed60 SecondsSciShowC.G.P. GreyVi Hart, and Smarter Every Day), here’s another superstar educator of the interwebs.


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Veritasium is a science video blog featuring experiments, expert interviews, cool demos, and discussions with the public about everything science.
Check out the trailer below.
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*Disclaimer: For any of the channels featured here, check for content before showing to your students. The internet has a way of making people forget the importance of considering audience, and some videos geared towards learning are still not suitable for all ages.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt, also known as Tommy Solomon, runs a company with his brother called hitRECord (when he isn’t starring in blockbuster films, like Inception, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises, etc.). hitRECord is an open collaborative production company, where anyone with a bit of creativity and online access can essentially “work" for regularJoe and his bro. The collaborative has made films, records, and books, including this wonderful storytelling project called, Tiny Stories.

Tiny Stories (there are currently two volumes, with a third to appear soon) combine image and incredibly succinct language to bring incredible meaning to a completely collaborative art form.
 
These stories serve as a wonderful model of literature that is more than words on a page. Tiny Stories are not defined by those who first create them; any user can manipulate an image or the language associated with an image, to reflect his or her unique creative expression. If kids submit by July 1st, they may actually become a part of a published work that touches readers around the world. 


This online bullying simulator takes the user’s actual facebook page and creates an online scenario in which the user is aggressively cyberbullied by actual friends. This campaign from Sweden is now only a demo, but still freely available. The simulator makes it possible for just about anyone who uses it to recognize how damaging online bullying can be. If we think this generation is apathetic to the impact of their words online, campaigns like this one may be the only way to turn that apathy to empathy.

Udacity



Similar to CourseraMITxSkillshare, and other online higher education courses I’ve discussed in the past, Udacity creates engaging college-level coursework that can help high school students wishing to get ahead and test the waters of university rigor, college students seeking course alternatives to those available face to face, or professionals looking to update or learn new skills. The courses are far more affordable than the usual college course, but anyone interested should first check to verify that a course is transferrable into any potential future programs of study.
Also, check out these 700 free online courses, these 300 free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from renowned universities, or Stanford’s Venture Lab - an actual Stanford course on creativity that finishes with an authentic certificate - while you’re at it.

Big Ole PD Directory



This is Education Week’s directory, which they tout to be the “most complete interactive directory of K-12 PD products and services.”


Let the National Center for Scientific Research take you on an interactive journey around the world with Charles Darwin.

There really are just too many YouTubers out there that have fantastic educational content, so to add to other experts I’ve featured (VsauceSixty SymbolsCrash CourseTED-Ed60 SecondsSciShowC.G.P. GreyVi Hart, and Smarter Every Day), here’s another superstar educator of the interwebs.


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"This is a printed tartan based on the Fibonacci sequence, and if that doesn’t excite you, well you’re probably watching the wrong YouTube channel."
Brady Haran’s Numberphile channel (Brady is also the man behind Sixty Symbols) is exactly what is sounds like - a place for math nerds to revel in the joy of numbers. And really, the videos help you realize that in a sense, we’re all math nerds in suspended animation, waiting for someone to point out to us the amazingness that is inherent in looking at the world numerically. 

*Disclaimer: For any of the channels featured here, check for content before showing to your students. The internet has a way of making people forget the importance of considering audience, and some videos geared towards learning are still not suitable for all ages.

About one and a half years ago, a National Honor Society member at our school heard about the life of a man named Deng Juac, who was one of South Sudan’s Lost Boys. His journey led him to Fairfax, VA, a U.S. high school diploma, and a dream to return to his hometown with the means to build a structure that could house the several hundred students who travel miles each day to crowd around very few charitable and inspiring teachers - teachers who have limited resources in a school where a light rain or an especially hot sun means classes could be canceled.

That student became quite inspired, and as Deng created a non-profit to fund Mayom Primary School, our student decided to raise money by designing and selling bracelets, and organizing fundraisers. This video is a creative description of that process while touching on the fundamental value of giving that our student recognized from her work with NHS. Please watch and share.


If you haven’t already come across Storybird, it’s an amazing resource: “Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. We curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories. It’s a simple idea that has attracted millions of writers, readers, and artists to our platform. Families and friends, teachers and students, and amateurs and professionals have created more than 5 million stories—making Storybird one of the world’s largest storytelling communities.” Connecting art and language to stories is a natural process that Storybird users can delve into while exploring new technology. Proficient users can even publish and sell books online. If you have a student who thinks writing a Storybird story is out of his or her league, show this Storybird story called, “I Couldn’t Possibly Write a Storybird.”

We lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves, transformed and part of a more expansive world.

Philosopher Judith Butler on the value of reading and the humanities (via explore-blog)

(via explore-blog)

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This video from PBS’s OffBook considers the complexity of online use, and in particular, seeking the answer to the question, “Who is responsible for regulating online behavior, and how would anyone even start?”

The extent to which parents and schools regulate something as pervasive as online presence, which bridges home and school life, is a debate dually concerned with personal privacy and safety. 
This video just touches the surface of what the free speech vs. bullying debate means for student behavior. Determining punishments for cyberbullying or offensive trolling has been a struggle for all schools, especially since one could argue that if the bullying is done online, it falls in the realm of student interactions that external to school policy. How does a school keep its kids safe? 
To what extent is free speech free? Our students are growing up as guinea pigs in the experiment that is increasing dependency and exposure through social networking, living the uncertainty to which we try to apply outdated perspectives, and witnessing how courts themselves struggle with these questions. This is a great point of application to learning, because we don’t have the answers. Should Google have removed The Innocence of Muslims from YouTube? Does a school have the right to expel a student for making fun of a classmate online? What is the difference between free speech and speech without criticism? Should anonymity be removed from online use? These are interesting questions that students should also be exploring.

Struggle Means Learning


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This interesting article explores the perception of struggle in learning across cultures. How do we use struggle in our classrooms? Does it cripple? Does it motivate? “The teacher was trying to teach the class how to draw three-dimensional cubes on paper,” Stigler explains, “and one kid was just totally having trouble with it. His cube looked all cockeyed, so the teacher said to him, ‘Why don’t you go put yours on the board?’ So right there I thought, ‘That’s interesting! He took the one who can’t do it and told him to go and put it on the board.’”

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