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The Physics Classroom

What it is:  Today I learned about this impressive resource from @ccscoachadams on Twitter.  The Physics Classroom is a really great place where you can access physics tutorials, Mind on Physics Internet Modules (more than 1300 questions designed to improve understanding of common physics topics), problem sets for practice, multimedia (illustrated physics concepts), animations and activity sheets, curriculum corner (pdf downloads to complement the website), laboratories, photos, and more.  The site is like a better version of the text books that I had when I was in physics.  What I like about The Physics Classroom is the variety of resources that teachers can use to help their students discover and explore physics concepts.  The student extras that take you to Flickr collections of “physics” photos is fantastic! How to integrate The Physics Classroom into your curriculum: I’m not sure I would have my students spend a lot of time on this site on their own (it is very text heavy and they may feel overwhelmed at the scope).  I would send my students to very specific places on The Physics Classroom to help them dig deeper into their learning and make connections.  As I said above, the Flickr sets are fabulous.  These are worth some time exploring! The animations and information can be used to help students understand specific concepts that they are struggling to grasp.  These could be shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. The Physics Classroom could be used to help students extend their learning and understanding outside of the classroom.  Students can use the site as a study aid or to dig deeper for additional understandings. At the end of the day, this site is a treasure trove of resources for physics classrooms. Tips: Spend some time exploring this site before recommending it to students so that you can help them navigate it.  It is SO information heavy that it could be a turn-off for students who are just dropping in looking for something specific. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Physics Classroom in your classroom!

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Screenr: Instant Web-based Screencasts

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Apply, Blogs, Classroom Management, Create, Download, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Websites | Posted on 01-04-2013

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What it is: Have you tried to type the following into Google: “school makes me”?  If you haven’t, it is a sobering reminder of the state of education as perceived by students and society.  I started Anastasis Academy to change this reality for students.  My hope is that one day soon, the automatic suggestions that Google pulls are overwhelmingly positive.  Last week, I asked students at Anastasis Academy to finish the statement “school makes me…”  I didn’t prompt them or give them any additional details about how I would be using it.  The answers that we got are in the video above.  Pretty cool to see how even one year of freedom in learning leads to different perspectives.  I can assure you, these are not the words most students would have used about school prior to coming to Anastasis Academy.  In fact, in full disclosure, we have 2 students that are new to Anastasis.  They started only a few months ago.  They finished the statement with “bored” and “tired.”  *sigh* This was a sad moment for me.  I want more for these boys.  Later in the day they both happened to be hanging with me in the office for a few minutes.  One of the boys asked me why I had asked the question.  I showed them what happens when you type the words into Google.  “Oh, that is really depressing. So why did you ask us?”  I told them that I cared about what they thought because if there was something we could do differently as a school, we would do it.  Both boys asked if they could change their answers, “we were thinking school in general…this place isn’t really like that.”  There were no GRAND statements of how much they loved it and we are changing their world…give it time!

To create the video above, I needed to screen capture my Google experience.  I’ve long been a fan of Screenium but for some reason, it has decided to throw in the towel and is not interested in recording anything but audio.  Frustrating.  So, I set out to see if I could find an online screencast recorder that I could use.  Jackpot!  I found Screenr and it is my new go-to for screencasting.

screenr_logo_small

Screener is a web-based screen recorder that makes it really easy to create and share screencasts.  There is nothing to install or download (always a plus!), you can record on a Mac or PC, the video plays on all devices, and it is totally FREE!  Just click the record button, capture your screen and voice (if you want) and then share the link or download the video to use in other programs.  I downloaded my finished screencast so that I could make a little video in Keynote with our words.

How to integrate Screenr into the classroom:  Screenr is a fantastically simple tool that allows teachers to create detailed screencast instructions in minutes.  This free-to-use application can capture video of anything that is on your computer screen.  Audio can be included (or not) for any screencast.  The resulting video can be embedded on a webpage or blog, sent to students via email, or downloaded.  Screencasting is a great way to teach students how to use e-Learning tools or how to complete any computer assignment.  When I taught in the technology lab, there was never enough of me to go around.  Screencasting made SUCH a difference in how I spent my time with students!  Students could self direct learning, or remind themselves of that one step they forgot.  Instead of waiting for me to be available, students could keep working and my time was spent working to help students make connections in learning instead of just on answering process questions.

Screenr would be useful for students who want to share something new they learned.  Have a student who is JAZZED about coding?  Let them show off that passion by creating tutorial videos for other students.  Anything that is computer based and could use some explanation is perfect for Screenr.  Because you can embed videos, you can share them on a class blog or website.  If you tag your videos and posts, it will be easy for students to quickly search and find what they need as they work.

Screenr can be used for more than just tutorials.  Remember this video?  This is such a cool, creative use of a screencast.  Students could similarly show off their learning through screencasts of various programs on their computer.  Just takes a little inspiration and creative thinking!

Tips: There is a pro version of Screenr, I’ve found the free version to meet all of my needs for school/classroom use.

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

Comments (1)

Having tried several online whiteboards Screenr is the one I turn to when I want to illustrate mathematics examples online for students – see http://mathematicsforstudents.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/looking-for-examples/ for example.
I find it easy to use, also I can write with my graphics tablet easily using Screenr.

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