The Mystery of Prince Rupert’s Drop

May 12, 2015 by

If you’re a science teacher that values inquiry, harbors feelings of nostalgia for Mr. Wizard, or just likes to provide your students with curiosity-filled discrepant events like the one below, then you owe it to yourself to subscribe to the Smarter Everyday channel on Youtube. I love the way that Destin, the channel’s creator, walks viewers through the explanation of scientific phenomena with energy and passion. His ability to describe how the Prince Rupert’s Drop, a glass sculpture created by dropping molten glass into cold water, doesn’t actual shatter from the force of a hammer blow, but the subsequent vibration in the tip of the tail is fascinating! At first glance, the glass appears to explode when stricken with a hammer, but the slow motion video reveals that it survives the blow easily; it’s the vibration in the tip of the drop milliseconds later that causes the glass to shatter....

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Help Me Build a Youtube Survival Guide for Teachers

Sep 24, 2014 by

After years of watching school districts around my own open up YouTube to their staff, students, and in some cases anyone using the public wi-fi, I finally pushed last year to do the same in my district. Our staff had always had access to YouTube, and our online students at the High School had access for their classes, but that was it. Teachers could use YouTube videos for whole group instruction, or post videos for use at home, but students were restricted to the Education version of YouTube while at school, a smaller portal of curated videos found on the platform that have clear educational value for the K-16 classroom. There are GREAT videos found in YouTube’s Education portal, but the reality is that YouTube has become so pervasive in our culture, that most of the videos our teachers want to use (and have been using) exist out among the general morass...

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Taming the Wild Wild Web – Twitter Intro for Teachers

Oct 10, 2011 by

About a week or so ago, I found an interesting video out there on the internet and uploaded it to my YouTube channel in hopes of giving it a bit more exposure. It was a video of…..get this….a cowboy, living out on the “wild wild web”, trying to explain to teachers how to help setup a Facebook Page so they could connect with students in a familiar setting without having to “befriend them” on the social networking platform. Well, it would seem that this Wyatt “Hoss” Rancher character is at it again, although why a cowboy living out on what he likes to call the “wild wild web” wants to help out teachers is beyond me. This time he’s introducing Twitter, specifically setting up a protected Twitter account so you can share information with parents, students, or friends of the classroom and have some amount of privacy, because after...

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Google Demo Slam – Typing Race

Mar 22, 2011 by

This video is a long time in production, and certainly wasn’t posted in time for the excellent Google sponsored Demo Slam competition, but I like to follow through on my projects, whether they’re on time or not. As an aside, being the first person in a school district to make the leap to start publishing via YouTube is a HUGE anxiety-creating monster, especially when you’re the one setting the example for the teaching staff in the district. I fully expect many teachers to be asking about creating their own YouTube channel by day’s end (I already have one request in my inbox), but I’m thinking I’ll steer them towards Vimeo as a better solution in terms of manageability, the much more well behaved community on Vimeo, and the ease of use (don’t have to create a Google Account to use Vimeo). I produced this video with the help of...

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Is Direct Instruction Better Bite-Sized?

Feb 23, 2011 by

I’m not sure why I can’t stop watching this video, because it’s “delivering” scientific content in probably one of the most ineffectual teaching modalities in today’s classroom, direct instruction. Besides just being a euphemism for “lecturing”, direct instruction has been on the decline in several classrooms due to the always-connected, media rich learning environments that students today have become accustomed to. I can recall endless hours listening to the drone of the instructor, and dutifully taking notes during my World History course in high school, or my Modern East Asia course as an undergrad, and while I passed the tests and quizzes in those classes with ease, I really can’t recall any specific piece of knowledge or information that I can attribute having learned in either of those courses. However, watching this video, which really doesn’t do a whole lot to change the model of lecture besides adding some...

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