Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: December 2010

The Science of Snowflakes

The New Scientists has a beautiful feature on snowflake shapes. I got there following a link from BoingBoing, and eventually found the source of the images along with tons of cool information.

Kenneth Libbrecht of CalTech researches crystal formation and shares with the world. He shares activities for kids of all ages, complete with scientific explanations of why things happen. I know lots of teachers and students cut paper snowflakes in the winter. Now students can try to replicate the real thing, or even make actual ice crystals.

This is one of my favorite images on the website. These are lab-created snow crystals attached to needles through which an electric charge is run. Or at least that is what I gathered from the explanation…


Is It True?

I’m sure everyone gets those odd e-mails now and then with claims that make us go “wow” until we think a bit about them. Yes, we have Snopes and other urban legend websites to help us out a bit, but I think this video is much more fun to watch than any explanation on any website.

There’s a whole collection of those.

I wonder if our students could collect a few emails from their own personal e-mail inboxes and create a series of similar videos. They get to practice their video planning and editing skills, and they share their findings with the whole school…

Thanks to GlennW from the HistoryTech blog for sharing this resource.

Young Tech Advocate

Yesterday a student stopped by my office and asked me to get all teachers to use Google Docs to collect assignments. I was very happy to see a student advocating for the use of technology to help her get work to her teacher.

This morning I spoke to the teacher. It turns out, she had not been able to attend a few of the PD sessions we’ve had this year on  Google Docs.  She didn’t know it was so easy to set up and use. In just a few minutes, we’ve made things much easier. No more flash drives, no more file incompatibilities.

The students who have been using the system with other teachers are now the experts and are charged with troubleshooting minor issues when I’m not around.

This is good AND bad. Not everyone at GHS/GMS knows what tools are available to them. I have to get the word out there that we have Google Docs available to all students and teachers. There is also Moodle, Diigo, and many more tools we are using to make online communication and collaboration easier.

Alice at VSTE

This morning I led a workshop where teachers learned the basics of Alice. We created animations. You can watch the animation below, and if you want to get started with Alice, you may download my handout (PDF).

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