Thursday, February 28, 2013

Inserting YouTube videos into PowerPoint and Prezi

Now that YouTube is open, let's start using it! The two most popular presentation tools for students to use are PowerPoint and Prezi. With YouTube opening, this adds a whole new dynamic to student presentations. It gives the student more creativity and possibilities in making a quality product. Let's take a look at how to insert YouTube videos into PPT and Prezi. 

1. PowerPoint: In order to insert a video into powerpoint, it needs to be in the .wmv file format. To convert a youtube video into a wmv file is not smooth. Therefore, we are going to avoid any type of conversion and instead add a "plug-in" right to our powerpoint software. With this plug-in, all you need is the youtube url (the  part) and it will be inserted. 
**Use this link to get the plug-in: 
**You want to select the "For PowerPoint 2007/2010" click the "click here"  This will download a zip file. Simply open the zip file and double click on the icon "youtubevideo2k7" This will open and start installing the plug-in. You must select "Enable macros." You do not need Curt to download anything for this step. Once it finishes, go to your powerpoint project and in the "insert" tab, there should be a "youtube video" option at the end of the row. 
**Once you have the youtube plug in, simply click it and it will walk you through the insertion process. Again, all you need is the YouTube URL and it will be inserted directly into your slide. 
*The plug-in does go away if you close powerpoint, so until this issue is resolved, put the zip file somewhere easy to find. 

2. Prezi: Prezi is much easier than powerpoint. When you are working on your prezi project, simply click the "insert" option at the top, middle. One of the options is "youtube video" so select that and then simply copy and paste the YouTube URL that you want to use. That's it!

Any questions, let me know!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

YouTube is open, now what?

(Here is an example of using YouTube. I post these quick animations to relay a message, announement, or piece of information.)

YouTube is open. So now what do we do? The question is one that we must now ask and answer since the school board ordered YouTube and other streaming sites to be open. I was surprised, a little shocked, and very happy to hear about this new development. The school board is scoring some major points in my book lately with the building copy limit raised to 1,500 copies per month, and now opening YouTube. I don't know who to thank for this, surely it's not me because I'm simply a lowly teacher and what do I know? When I do find out who is responsible for opening YouTube, I shall give them a big hug. I have always thought YouTube should be open. So now that it is, what do we do? Here is a list of things to think about with the opening of YouTube: 

1. It's open, use it! It's a great resource for teaching. It is loaded with interesting, engaging, thought-provoking, meaningful videos. Remember when we had discovery education? For the most part, that was a real bore-fest. With Youtube, you can find all sorts of interesting, helpful video clips to help your kids learn. (Afterall, isn't that the point?) Type in your subject matter, content, or topic and see what you can find.

2. Strengthening the case for teacher websites. Now that Youtube is open, it is even more important to have your own website for school that is used for more than just lesson plans. With Youtube, find some good videos for what you are teaching about and post them on your website. This can be done with any website. Most of the teachers at BVMS use frontpage or blogger. With any website host, you can either provide a link or embed the video player right on the page. Students could watch these videos in school, study hall, etc. 

3. Significant increase in monitoring your students. We all know students are sneaky and clever. Whether its bullying when there's no teacher around or texting in their pocket, students are good at getting away with stuff. You must not let your students be roaming the internet freely. You must be walking around watching what they are doing. Check to see how many browsers they have open at the bottom of the screen. Check to see what tabs they have open. Constantly be watching, especially early on as the students will no doubt be excited Youtube is open and wanting to use it. In my class, whenever my students are using my netbooks, I have them turn their desk around so I can see the screens from my podium. 

4. YouTube video settings. When you find a video you like and want to use/post to your website, customize the settings to your liking. I would recommend NOT clicking the "show suggested videos when the video finishes."  When a YouTube video finishes, it always gives suggested videos related to what you just finished watching. Sometimes, this produces some videos that you wouldn't want your students to watch. Not checking the box will NOT provide the suggested videos, thus keeping the video player to only the video you want viewed. 

5. Internet Citizenship. Talk to the students about using the Internet in a safe way, appropriate way. Explain to them the risks of inappropriate use and consequences they might face. Talk to them about not taking advantage of the privilege we now all have. We wouldn't want to lose it. Make sure your students log in with their profile so if something bad is used, we can track it. Do not allow them to use "media" for the username and password. 

6. Video Projects. Are your students making a video? Are they doing a presentation you want to record? Student projects are a great thing to put on YouTube because it allows you to watch and share them easily. However, when doing this, I would recommend listing the video as "private to only those with the link." This keeps them off the public search, which I feel more comfortable with. Check to make sure students are not listed on the "no media" list and/or get permission. More about uploading and settings could be discussed at a later time. 

7. Flipped Classroom. Perhaps this is a good time to try "flipping" your classroom. Flipping the Classroom is a big undertaking but you can start small and just give a basic flip a try. Record yourself explaining a concept or teaching about a topic and post it to your website for students to view on their own. That way, they are ready to do the work when they get to your classroom. Flip: School work at home, homework at school. (It's flipped.) Having YouTube open would help this be a easy process because once again your students can now watch it at school with ease.

Final Thoughts: Enjoy having YouTube open. Think creatively and come up with ways to use it to help your students learn. It's got a lot out there, start sifting through the videos and find some stuff to help your curriculum. 

Amazing Example of Sportsmanship

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Comic Strip Creation App: "Strip Designer"

The majority of the time our iPads are being used for the internet. They are great for that since they are mobile, easy to handle, and fast. Kids can walk around with them (if they are near the wireless signal) and have the internet at their fingertips. The iPad is more than just the internet, and even though I am not a fan of the iPad in education, there are some apps that make the iPad more meaningful, more dynamic than simply an internet device. 'Strip Designer' app allows you to create comic strips on your iPad or iPhone. This app allows the user to use pictures from their album or the internet and upload them into your comic. The user can also add speech bubbles to give it a truely comic strip look. This app is $2.99 but could have many benefits for kids creating, writing, reading, and sharing.
Application for Education: Make comic strips for your students! Invent a character and have that character help you teach the class important concepts. Put the iPad in your students hands (when available  and have them do the creating. Have them show a particular sequence of events in a story, the steps to solve a math problem, any topic of the social studies, or the steps of a science experiment. The pictures and comic strip like speech bubbles produces a unique way to learn and review. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Interacting with the Public

During our Ancient Greece Unit, we learn/talk about Democracy. Athens started it as a form of government and we have that as our government, so there is an obvious connection. I am having my students interview the public to see what they actually know about democracy. So to get things started, I went to the mall in Sioux Falls and asked random people some questions to see for myself what people actually know. The video above is my experience at the Sioux Falls Empire mall. It was an interesting day, to say the least. 
 Application for Education: I think it's great to have your students go out into the public and interview people, ask them questions, and teach them about what we are learning. For this example, my students are essentially "teaching" the adults about democracy and in particular, what questions they get wrong. It gives them purpose in the assignment and in the learning. They need to learn the material so they can go out and help others. In a history class, there could be many different things you could have your students go interview people with: civil war information, american revolution information, government, etc. Reading: have students interview adults about their favorite books, why they like them, etc. English: have students give a grammar test! Any topic could be turned into an opportunity to interview the public.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Infographic: What if the World was only 100 people? (fascinating)

If the world only had 100 people, what would it look like? Breaking the world's population down to only 100 people gives us a MUCH clearer picture of what this world is like. This interesting inforgraphic was published by 
Some highlights: Only 7 people would have a college degree. Only 5 people would be living in North America. 48 people would be living on less than $2 per day yet 75 of the 100 people would be cell phone users. Check out the infographic for me.  
Application for Education: This could be a great discussion starter, writing prompt, or a tool to have your kids practice analyzing or interpreting data from a graph.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

ReadWriteThink your way to a better experience

Today's post is more of a resource than a tool. is a great teacher website that provides many resources. On this site, you can search for a specific topic, search based on grade level, resource type, or learning objective. This site has printouts, student interactives, and lesson plans. Within the site, you will also find some online activities games that you could use. Simply put, this site has a lot of resources. I am not big on solely relying on websites like this for lesson plans and materials. However, this site can serve a purpose if you are looking for a new idea, new approach, or a supplementary piece. Search through the site for your content and see what you can find. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Topic Sort Without a Computer

Ideally, we would all have computers everyday, or everyday that we wanted them. As we all know, this is far from reality. Because of our pathetic computer availability, some of our computer/internet ideas must be changed into a non-computer/internet activity. I've posted before on using Lino and Wall-Wisher to post random facts about topics and then having your students sort them into categories. If you do not have computers available or just don't want want to use them, you can create a "topic sort" without the technology.
Topic Sort is a good way to get your kids thinking about what you've been teaching and a good challenge for them (I always make it into a competition). Think of 4 or 5 categories of information that you've been learning about. Then, you, as the teacher, list a bunch of facts for those topics. Cut them out, mix them up and put them all together in an envelop. Give each group (2 or 3 per group) an envelop and so "Go." The challenge is for them to obviously be the first group with all items organized into their respective topics. You could also have a specific sequence of events for each topic, so not only does each group need to sort the items, but they need to be in the correct order as well. This would raise the "challenging" factor. Have groups check each other's work for accuracy. The more items they need to sort, the better because it makes it harder. 

Ideas/Application for Education: Civil War Battles, Civil War Generals, Presidents, Parts of Speech, books you've been reading, etc. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Get Pinterest-ed in Education

Pinterest is NOT just for females. Pinterest is a great resource for teachers because it's essentially a huge sharing virtual world of ideas. If you are not familiar with Pinterest, here's how it works: You sign up for an account. Once you have an account, you are given a "virtual board" that you can "pin" things that you find interesting and/or want to use in the future. It's kind of like a "to-do list" only virtually. Pinning things on your board helps you not forget what you want to do in the future. You can also "follow" other people's boards. This feature is what makes Pinterest a good teaching resource. There are tons of education boards on Pinterest. You can search for education-content related boards and see what other people are doing out there. You can find activity ideas, projects, technology tools, etc. You can also "pin" your own ideas and share with other users. I signed up for an account last night and realized two things: it's a great place for teacher resource sharing/ideas and its a huge "time drain." I browsed around for a while and just kept hopping from board to board, searching for good stuff and soon I realized I had spent an hour looking at Pinterest. Sign up for Pinterest and do some browsing. What can it hurt? If it's not for you, than just delete your account. However, I am confident you will find something worthwhile that could help your teaching.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

True Inspiration-Amazing Story

I came across this video on Facebook the other day and thought I would share it. It's the story of Conner and Cayden, two brothers that compete in triathlons together. However, Cayden has Cerebral Palsy, so Conner, his brother (9 years old) pulls him with his bike and then pushes him while running. They finish last in every event, but they finish, together, as brothers. It's a amazing story and truly inspiring. Every kid with a younger sibling should watch this to see what it's like to watch out for and take care of younger siblings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

13 Photos that Changed the World

While browsing the internet, I came across an interesting post from an author, Ransom Riggs, of one of my favorite books (Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children). He is not only a writer but also does a lot with photography. He compiled 13 photos that "changed the world." I think its fascinating to look at this list and just think about these pictures and the circumstances surrounding them. Whether you agree with the list or not, you can't argue that these pictures are very significant and bring about a lot of emotion. 
Application for Education: This list could be a great tool to get your students thinking and writing. Explain the circumstances of what this list is, and then show them a picture from the list. They can write about what they see, what it is, how they feel, etc, then discuss. Very thought provoking. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Second Look: Animaps-Bringing maps to life

I posted about Animaps last week and it was posted during a no school day, so I thought I would repost it in case you missed it. This is a great, powerful tool that I think you should check out!
Animaps is a website that allows you to make animated, interactive maps. This is NOT just a geography tool, it can be used in any content area. With animaps, you design your route/path and can show points of interest along the way. Animaps uses google maps, so you are able to use real streets, towns, countries, etc.  It is a great tool for showing a path or route and what happens along the way. I used it to show my students the Silk Road path and things that happen along the way. It would be a cool tool to use to show a character's journey in a book or the spread of a disease. Animaps does take some time to figure out how to use it and make your product, but it is worth the time. Let me know if you would like me to show you how to use it. Once you get the hang of it, it is a lot of fun.