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Aviary Peacock

I hope that you all had a blessed Christmas!  What I learned this year is that even though I take a break from posting, spammers do NOT break for holidays and other bloggers tend to blog MORE when they have a break to do so.  This means that #1 I have a lot of spam to sort through and #2 it has taken me a long time to get through my Google Reader!  I am finally getting around to a post that I intended to do several days ago (actually 3 posts) all on the Aviary creative suite of tools.  So, without further ado- here it is…       What it is:  Aviary is a website on a mission to make creativity more accessible.  They do this by making powerful image software available online (no download required) and with free versions of the online software.  Aviary has four different offerings: Peacock, Phoenix, Toucan, and Raven.  Because each tool does something different, I am going to break it down into four posts.   Peacock is a “visual laboratory”that lets students experiment with pixel based images in fun ways.  Students can create pixel images applying filters (this will feel similar to other image editors such as Adobe).  Students can also blend several pixel based images together to create images.  These pixel images would make great backgrounds for other documents, web pages, or other Aviary tools.  Students can also upload “resources” or pictures from their computers or other sources to manipulate in Peacock.   Peacock easily integrates with the other Aviary tools switching images quickly between the applications.  This makes the possibilities for creativity endless.     How to integrate Peacock into the classroom:   Aviary Peacock is a neat way for students to explore and experiment with visual arts.  The application really does feel like a laboratory.  Students start out with one image of their choosing and can manipulate the image with different filters, blenders, etc. to come up with completely new images.  It is interesting to experiment with the different ‘ingredients’ to see how an image can be transformed.  Peacock can be used to create backgrounds for web pages, documents, or other Aviary creations.  Peacock can also be used to help students understand cause and effect as they manipulate images.     Tips:  Aviary Phoenix and Peacock are both in beta right now.  Be sure to check out the Peacock overview video to get an idea of how Peacock works.     Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Aviary Peacock  in your classroom.

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NBC Learn: Science behind the news

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 08-05-2013

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What it is:
NBC Learn has some fantastic free resources for teachers and students.  One of these freebies is called Science Behind the News.  In partnership with the National Science Foundation, NBC explores the science, technology and engineering found in current events.  Here, you will find a collection of videos that introduce students to the science found in the world around them and current events.  Students can learn about everything from quantum computing, to predictive policing, to crowdsourcing and weather phenomenon.  Each video is around 5 minutes long and are well produced.

How to integrate NBC Learn into the classroom:  I am a HUGE fan of embedded learning.  Learning that is in context just makes sense.  The learning is richer because students are able to make real connections to the foundational understandings that they already have.  In addition, this type of learning gives them an idea of how the learning that happens in the classroom is connected to life.  With Science Behind the News, students are able to see connections to the world right now.  These clips encourage students to be curious about the world around them, and to dig into the bigger “why” of how things work.  I like the thinking that is encouraged here.  It is really modelling curiosity beyond just passively listening to a news story.

These clips are a wonderful way to kick off a new science unit, as a resource during inquiry, or for students and classes just to explore.  Students can use these clips as a starting point for further research, a “spark” for more learning.  Each student could choose a different video to watch and then conduct some research to learn more.  Where else is the science used?  How has our thinking about a topic changed over time as we have learned more about it?  What math is involved?  Help your students to see that subjects don’t happen in isolation in real life.  Science is connected with social studies, math, literacy, history, sports, art, economics, discovery, etc.  Can they find the overlaps in learning?

Tips:  NBC Learn has other outstanding resources including: science in golf, science in hockey, science in football, chemistry now, fishing the dream, sinking the titanic, science of the winter Olympics, science of the summer Olympics, writers speak to kids and science in innovation.  Check them all out!

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

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