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Keyboard Climber

What it is: Keyboarding is a necessary evil in the computer classroom.  I say this because truly mastering touch typing takes practice, a lot of it.  However, I don’t want to spend all my class time in the computer lab teaching kids to type.  There is SO much more that our brand new iMacs can do.  To use them as typewriters feels ridiculous.  Combine that with my 35 minutes once a week with students and keyboarding really becomes a necessary evil.  In my classroom, I focus on typing practice very little.  I encourage my students to practice keyboarding at home with fun online typing games.  Keyboard Climber is one of these games.  It is a fun little game that helps students build those touch typing skills in or out of the classroom.  In Keyboard Climber, the goal is to help a monkey climb up a tree and score bananas by typing letters.  If the student types the incorrect letter, a coconut falls on the monkey’s head and he falls down to a lower level.  There is fun music and sound effects that accompany the game, kids love it, I find it a bit too monotonous.  The only other thing that I don’t love about the game is that all of the letters are displayed as capital letters.  However, students never have to actually type a capital letter (with shift or caps lock). How to integrate Keyboard Climber into the classroom: Keyboard Climber is a fun little game to help students practice typing.  Use it in the computer classroom as a short warm up and see how many points students can accumulate in a set amount of time.  Hopefully this number will increase throughout the year.  Encourage students to play Keyboard Climber at home to practice typing.  I have students take a screen shot of their highest level and points to post on one of my bulletin boards. Tips: I learned about Keyboard Climber from @techfacil, thanks for the tip Julie! Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Keyboard Climber in your classroom.

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10 ways to eliminate the distractions around YouTube videos

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video | Posted on 13-06-2012

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What it is: YouTube is a truly wonderful learning resource.  What isn’t so great: all of the garbage that can come along with it (i.e. advertising, comments, related videos…in short-distractions). Luckily, schools have some great options for using YouTube differently.  Some of these tools I have written about before and some are new additions…hence the new post! :)

  • YouTube for Schools- This is a YouTube that has been created just for schools.  Network administrators must be involved so that they can add this option for YouTube into your filtering system.  This is a completely customizable option that lets teachers and administrators add videos to a playlist that you have predetermined you want students to watch.  Teachers can find videos by Common Core Standard, subject or grade.  Students can watch videos that teachers and administrators have approved or any YouTube Edu video (think Kahn Academy, PBS, TED, Stanford, etc.).
  • SafeShare TV- This site lets students watch YouTube videos without ads, links, comments and related videos.  You also have the option to crop videos and share videos with a unique URL.
  • YouTubeXL- This is a service that YouTube provides that lets you watch videos on large screens without the ads and comments. Neat tip: if you time “quiet” before the YouTube url, it takes you to a safe page where you can watch a YouTube video.  WAY cool and easy to do on the fly!
  • Clean VideoSearch- This site lets students search through YouTube videos without the comments, ads and busy sidebar.  It has additional features like the ability to choose how many videos you want to see on each page in your search.
  • Clea.nr– This service (a browser plugin) deletes all of the obnoxious extras that hang around videos (ads, comments, related videos). You can also search YouTube without all of the extras showing up.
  • ViewPure– This site cleans out all the clutter and gives you just a video.  Bonus: There is a quick button that you can add to your browser so that you can go to a video, click on “Pure” in your bookmark bar and instantly have a clean video.
  • Dragontape– This service lets you drag videos into a timeline and share them easily with students.  This is great for mashing up several videos, or cropping multiple videos into one.
  • Movavi– This is a video conversion service. Wonderful for teachers who can’t or don’t want to access a video directly from YouTube.  Copy/paste the url you want to convert, choose a file type, done!
  • Zamzar– This is another great video conversion service.  Works quickly and easily!
  • SaveYouTube- This site used to be called KickYouTube.  Here you can enter the url and download it to your computer to play offline.

How to integrate less distracting YouTube videos into the classroom:  This one is really a no brainer: want to use YouTube? Clean it up!  I find great content I find on YouTube (as do my students). All of the “extras” around the videos can be SO distracting as a searcher and viewer.  These options are outstanding for making videos less distracting so that your students can focus on the learning happening.

I find that students head to YouTube (even before Google) when they want to learn something new.  They are generally pretty successful at finding a video that will teach them how to do what they want to do.  Very handy for self guided learning!

Tips: Always try these tools out at school BEFORE using with students.  Some of them won’t work depending on your school’s filters and policies.

Leave a comment and share how less distracting YouTube videos are rocking your classroom.

Comments (2)

I would also suggest using EmbedPlus for several features for interacting with YouTube. For example, it supports slow motion, looping, chopping/cropping, and much more. Take a look: http://www.embedplus.com/

Great Idea, embed plus is another nice option.

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