Monday, June 29, 2015

Google Classroom is Growing


Until today Google Classroom has been little more than a souped up way to use Google Drive to organize your students.  But starting today, it has added twenty apps to the suite.  So if you use or are thinking of using Google Classroom above is how you can add the new apps and here is the list. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

"How Euorpe Went to War in 1914"

The Imperial War Museum has a terrific essay with great images about the causes of World War I. The essay is more engaging than most textbooks and might make for a good reading assignment.

Other stories include:
My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Engineering the Inca Road System: Smithsonian Exhibit

How did the Inca build their intricate system of roads through the treacherous Andes?

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian attempts to answer that question.

According to Smithsonian's online magazine, the Inca higway, or Royal Road, "was the glue that held together the vast Inca Empire, supporting both its expansion and its successful integration into a range of cultures."

The magazine notes that "the Inca engineers cut through some of the most diverse and extreme terrain in the world, spanning rain forests, deserts and high mountains."

In the video above, twenty-five Quechua families recreate part of their ancestors' journey across part of the Royal Road.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Live Mecca Stream for Your Students During Ramadan

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
If you are teaching this summer and want to give your students a live feed from Mecca during Ramadan (until July 17th), this is a nice stream.  It has both the call to prayers and scenes around Mecca. 

The Bloody Legacy of Indian Partition: New Book

Teaching Indian independence? Here's an excellent review of a new book about the parition of India by William Dalrymple for the New Yorker.

Most of us learn that the British left India and that the country split into two parts--the Hindu majority in India and the Muslim majority in Pakistan.

But few of us understand the bloody legacy of that paritition, which is the subject of a new book by Nisid Hajari called Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition.

Did you know, for example?
  • The partition represented one of the greatest human migrations in history
  • Millions of Muslims migrated to West and East Pakistan while millions of Hindus & Sikhs headed in the opposite direction
  • Sectarian violence broke out and atrocities were committed on a scale not seen since the Holocaust--"a mutual genocide as unexpected as it was unprecedented," writes Hajari.
  • In addition, "some British soldiers and journalists who had witnessed the Nazi death camps claimed Partition’s brutalities were worse: pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits.”
  • More than 15 million people uprooted, 2 milllion killed
  • The Islamic conquest of the 11th century blended Muslim and Hindu cultures "along with hybrid languages—notably Deccani and Urdu—which mixed the Sanskrit-derived vernaculars of India with Turkish, Persian, and Arabic words."
  • This cultural mixing lasted well into 19th century but the British ended it, according to one historian, “the British started to define ‘communities’ based on religious identity and attach political representation to them, many Indians stopped accepting the diversity of their own thoughts and began to ask themselves in which of the boxes they belonged."
Below, you can listen to Hajari's interview with NPR's Fresh Air.

FCPS Personalized Learning In-Service


I am giving a hands on presentation at Fairfax County, VA's Advanced Academic Institute at South County HS from 8:30 - 11:30. If you work for FCPS and would like to sign up go into MyPLT and type in summer into the search box and the AAP courses will come up.   Mine is half way down and titled Use of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom (Secondary (this is a link to it).  See you next Tuesday.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning
 We will start by taking a survey at http://bit.ly/fairfaxjune23
  • then have the teachers come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to give their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and government).
  • contemplate how to make sure students are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Personalizing Classroom Instruction - W&M Presentation



I am presenting at William and Mary's Leadership Academy for administrators and teacher leaders. The institute is based on John Hattie's beliefs (some of which you can see here).
The goal is for the administrators to learn how they can lead by example with their teachers using Hattie's "mind frames" for developing relationships, getting feedback from the students, evaluating learning, etc.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning

 We will start by taking a survey at bit.ly/wandmflip
  • note that teachers follow administrators better by repeated example
  • then have the administrators come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to lecture their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  You can also get the Snagit extension here (and here is how to use it)
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and science, math and grammar)
  • contemplate how to make sure teachers are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form or even to use Remind (resources) to literally remind them to view the video. 
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
  • note an example of the leading role administrators can play such as with principal Greg Green who has promoted flipped learning with followed by a great increase in his school's test scores.   (Here is a PBS show on his school.)
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Snagit as a Google Drive App


I like to use Screencastomatic to make my videos, but if you are using a Chromebook or simply want an alternative, Snagit's Google Drive alternative is a great option.  You will lose the ability to have a circle follow your movements and to only have a portion of the screen, but you can still make a screencast and upload it to YouTube or Google Drive.  Above is a video showing you how. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crash Course World History


If you like flipping your course, Crash Course is a great series to use.  You do need to make sure your students, though, know how to take notes from the videos as they can move quickly.  Here is World History I and World History II and in case you want it, here is what I give some of my students to make sure they know how to take notes from Crash Course. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Become an AP Reader

This week I am in Salt Lake City grading AP Comparative exams.  In the past I have also graded AP US History and AP US Government.  Honestly the sound of grading a bunch of exams every day doesn't seem to excite lots of people, but every single  (and there have been a lot) person I have convinced to be an AP grader has loved the experience.

  • First off you really get to understand how to write the free response questions so you can teach your students to do the same. 
  • Secondly you meet a number of outstanding teachers who, in my case, have become a network that I consult year round.
  • You also might also end up being asked to work for the College Board in other ways (writing AP questions, creating a syllabus, teaching summer institutes, etc.
So if you are interested in applying, my advice is to get your application in during the early fall and you should hear in late January or early February.  Good luck.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Understanding the Kurds

Here is an excellent overview of the Kurds and their plight in the Middle East from The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR).

The CFR story includes excellent graphics, maps, timeline, and historic context.

There are over 30 million Kurds spread throughout Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, and according to the CFR, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a soverign state.

My thanks to Liz Ramos for tweeting the link.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Make Quizzes with QR Codes

Use QR codes for short review quizzes with your students. Click through the presentation I made and use your phone's QR reader to scan the correct answer.

You can make your own quizzes using the directions here at Kevin Zahner's blog. He goes through each of the steps.

I love this and think it's a great way to get kids out of their seats and doing something interactive at the beginning of class.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Invention of Gunpowder

Here's a terrific TedEd talk about the invention of gunpowder, just in time for July 4! My thanks to Angelea Lee for the link.