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Neo K12

What it is: Neo K12 is an outstanding online collection of educational videos, lessons and games for students in grades k-12.  Neo K12 believes that “kids learn best by ‘seeing’ the real world.”  They have created this site with that belief in mind.  Neo K12 has cataloged the best free online educational videos from the Internet in one place.  Each video is watched and reviewed by k-12 educators to ensure their accuracy and appropriateness for students.  Subjects include physical science, life science, human body, earth and space, social studies, math, English (including phonics, stories, and grammar), and fun videos such as time lapse, slow motion, arts and crafts, learn magic, music lessons, and sports lessons.   In addition to videos, Neo K12 has Web 2.0 tools.  The  School Presentation tool is a mashup of Flickr and Wikipedia, and allows users to create and share presentations online. To create a presentation, students choose pictures for their presentation from Flickr, read and article about the subject from Wikipedia, and then add text to their presentation.   When the presentation is finished, it can be printed or viewed online as a slideshow.  Quizzes, games, and puzzles on Neo K12 are an interactive way to improve learning.  Teachers can create and share videos playlists complete with notes and instructions for their students.  How to integrate Neo K12 into the classroom: Videos provide excellent opportunities for learning, they make it possible for kids to visualize and build a model in their minds.  This helps them to better understand key concepts and can stimulate curiosity in a subject.  When students or teachers search a subject, they are given a list of related videos, quizzes, games, and puzzles.  When a teacher creates an account, they can create a complete assignment within Neo K12 that includes instructions and notes for the students.  Students can complete the assignment by watching videos, playing related games and creating a School Presentation that shows understanding.  The presentations are easy enough for even young students to create.  Primary students can skip reading the Wikipedia article and just choose pictures and add some captions about facts they learned from a video they viewed.  These videos are a great way to introduce new learning, expand on previous learning, or to spark curiosity in a topic. Many of the educational games and puzzles would be great for an interactive whiteboard as whole class activities.  They could, of course, also be used as classroom center activities, or completed individually in the computer lab. The jigsaw puzzles can be used as teasers to introduce a new topic.  The jigsaw puzzles use incredible images from Flickr.  Have students take turns coming up to the interactive whiteboard to put puzzle pieces together.  Students waiting at their seats can take guesses about what new learning you will be doing in class. Tips: Create a free Neo K12 account, you will receive a dashboard where you can store videos, games, presentations, quizzes, and add notes and instructions.  You get a unique URL for your dashboard to share. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Neo K12 in your classroom.

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DIY: a maker site for kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Art, Character Education, Create, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 08-03-2013

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What it is: I LOVE everything about this site.  It truly embodies everything I love about learning and technology.  DIY is an online club for kids to earn maker skills.  Kids (otherwise known as Makers) share their creations and work with a larger online community and collect patches for the skills they learn.  Each skill has a set of challenges that help kids learn different techniques and create something fantastic.  When a child completes a maker challenge, they can add photos and video to their online portfolio to show off their creation.  DIY is a website where kids get a public portfolio, an app that they can use to upload videos and pictures of their projects, makers can choose to do challenges to earn “Skills” badges, and a parent dashboard where teachers or parents can follow along on all activity.

Maker identities are always secure, children are asked to choose an animal and a nickname to help protect their privacy. Parents get access to see what their kids are posting online.

I love that this site encourages creativity, reflective portfolios and using technology constructively.  It is an outstanding balance of online and offline activity!

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How to integrate DIY into the classroom: At Anastasis, we strive to encourage a maker community.  We do have a 1:1 iPad environment.  For many, this equates to a technology rich environment (it is) where everything is done or consumed on a device.  I can think of nothing sadder than reducing learning to a device!  We most often use our technology to capture and share our learning.  DIY is a fantastic site that makes way for kids to be curious about the world around them, create something new and use technology to innovate.

DIY is a great place to help students discover the love and joy of being a learner and a creator.  It fosters a classroom culture of innovation and sharing of learning and accomplishment.  So many of the challenges incorporate learning that support standards and other learning that is “required” in the classroom.  These challenges would be great to take on as individual makers, in small groups of makers, or to tackle as a whole class.  Don’t think of DIY as an “extra” thing to add into your classroom routine.  Instead, look through the challenges through the lens of how it can enhance the learning objectives in your classroom.  Embrace the maker culture in your classroom and allow room for creativity and innovation.  The inquiry model of learning lends itself beautifully toward this.  DIY could be the catalyst to making the shift away from more traditional learning and into an inquiry based model.

Tips: Instead of assigning “traditional” homework (read: piles of worksheets), assign a challenge from the DIY site.  Better yet, let students choose their own challenge to tackle and make time in the classroom for them to share their creations and accomplishments.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  DIY in your classroom.

Comments (1)

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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