P.S. Teaching from a distance? We have some frequent answered questions regarding our resources here.
Stuck working from home and attending endless virtual meetings? Download our brand-new 1920x1080 backgrounds! Perfectly sized to spice up your next online meeting tool (example: Zoom) or computer background! Click the "Download File" button below the image you like.
P.S. Teaching from a distance? We have some frequent answered questions regarding our resources here.
Fellow educators, we hope you are safe and healthy during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What items do you have for free?
MOST of our items are FREE. There are some items are not, and those items are critical to us being able to support our work as we now do this full-time. Just a note: please remember that "free" does not mean that they can be placed in items that you sell (for example, within a resource on TpT).
-Free Recap Student Handouts
-Comics (Consider asking students thought provoking questions about them: what is the comic trying to show? What vocab is involved?)
-GIFs (Consider asking students to "narrate" the GIF. What is it trying to show? What are the weaknesses of the GIF model?)
-ALL of our videos
-By the way, we made some fun, FREE science backgrounds that work on computer backgrounds or some virtual meeting platforms (such as Zoom).
Can I post your handouts, comics, and/or GIFs?
You said on your website that a school device and/or network filters can be set to allow certain YouTube videos to show and block all others?
Yes, although this would require an email to one of your school or district IT technology staff members. The following information could be sent to them. Google (who owns YouTube) explains here how entire channels can be approved OR even specific videos on a school device or network https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/more-ways-for-schools-organizations-to/ They even have an additional help page: https://support.google.com/a/topic/6206681 . In addition to the above, or as an alternative to the above, if a district has student assigned devices (many schools are now 1:1), the district can set up "restricted mode" on the devices they give out. YouTube Restricted mode hides comments and filters out many inappropriate videos from the search. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/174084?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
Since your handouts are PDFs, how can students write on them to turn in during distance learning?
Here are two helpful options!
A) If your school or district permits Google forms to be used, consider creating a google form. If you just create one google form, it can work for all your students and for multiple handouts! An screenshot of an example form is shown BELOW. It can list names of Amoeba Sisters handouts (so the same form can be used multiple times as you can sort by handout name), and a space for students to write in their answers when they look at the handout. They are very easy to make and use, and they can be an easy way to collect responses for evaluation. Here are the instructions from Google about Google forms: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/6281888?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
B) If you prefer for students to write on the PDFs electronically and turn in to you, there are some tools that work in Chrome that can help with this. While we are not affiliated with these tools, some of the Chrome tools we mention on our handout page are DocHub and Kami. These tools allow for annotating and writing on PDFs, and DocHub we believe is still free. Additionally, if you do a web search "DocHub for teachers," there are some articles written by teachers about how that tool can be useful with students!
YouTube. We're so grateful to have a platform where we can share our work, and the platform also helps (partially) with supporting our work so we can continue to create. A while back, we wrote a post about tips for viewers using YouTube to watch edu videos. We wanted to update and expand on that based on what we've learned over the years.
1- In summer 2019, YouTube announced the beta launch of the new "YouTube Learning Playlists."
And we're so excited to be a part of the beta launch! There are a lot of YouTube learning playlists that you can explore here, and this is our biology learning playlist. Learning playlists include objectives, chapters, and a dedicated space without suggested videos. We're excited to see how it evolves.
2- Captions/subtitles on edu videos have so many benefits.
Click that "CC" button at the bottom right to turn them on. Captions not only increase accessibility, but they can also be useful if you are in an area where you can not play the sound. They can also be a nice tool to see science words spelled out. Find a typo in our captions? We have a form on our contact page so we can get that fixed.
3- Captions/subtitles on edu videos can be available in different languages!
Many times this is thanks to our amazing contributors using YouTube's community contributed subtitle feature! Check out the screenshot video below for more info about how to see subtitles in different languages.
4- But also: transcripts!
Maybe you knew that most YouTube edu videos offer captions. But did you know that you can also access the video transcript? Just click the three dots at the bottom right of the video---and then "open transcript." Screenshot below!
5- Ads on YouTube that you don't want to see?
While you'll find ads on many Google services, including edu YouTube videos, did you know that you (the viewer) can have more control over ads you see? You can turn off ad personalization or update preferences on your Google account: https://adssettings.google.com
6- Time stamped table of contents?
Many edu creators create a time stamped hyperlinked table of contents. Sometimes it's in the video details (just click "show more" when reading the video description to see them) or as a pinned comment. The time-stamped table of contents can help you navigate the video easily.
P.S. Just to add, f you make a YouTube comment that has a time in it (ex. 1:00), it turns it into a hyperlinked time stamp.
7- Too fast? Slow it down!
Sometimes those edu videos may go a little too fast! Did you know you can slow it down? (Or speed it up?) The video speed is an option when you click the gear at the bottom right of a video.
8- Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to stop and skip!
As an educator, Pinky found those keyboard shortcuts so helpful when needing to pause the video to ask questions or skip back or forward. If you're a teacher, you can even consider having a wireless keyboard so that you can control the video in the back of the room and start discussions from anywhere. Edu videos with engaging graphics (in our case, cartoons!) can make great discussion starters.
9- So many ways to share...
It's important to know how to share YouTube videos by using the YouTube link (or using the YouTube embed code, which is enabled on many edu channels)! Most are familiar with YouTube links, but if you want a nice, streamlined look with a YouTube video on your class website or LMS, you may want to look at the YouTube embed feature, which will be available on videos if the channel enabled it. Just click "share" underneath the video, and click on "embed." You can also embed entire playlists so you could embed our entire learning playlist! YouTube embeds still feed from the YouTube channel itself. Need more detailed instructions on how to embed? Check this out from YouTube.
10- Expand those video details---and the pinned comment (if there is one)!
Many viewers may not realize the huge amount of information in a lot of edu video details (video descriptions). By clicking that "show more" underneath the video description, you can expand to see everything the edu creator has placed there. In our videos, we include references, further reading suggestions, our music credit, and additional links about our content.
A pinned comment is a comment that the edu creator has placed at the top of their comments. In many cases, it may be a comment from the edu creator themselves. The comment may have a clarification or important video note.
Well, it’s almost review season. Final exams, EOCs, and more are approaching! We like to help with that.
In 2017, we made a biology GIF review for class discussion. We still think it’s pretty awesome; you can check it out here.
In 2018, we made a video designed for students with some study tips.
But this year, 2019, we’ve really extended ourselves because we will be releasing a MEGA REVIEW VIDEO on Sunday, April 14th! Yes, it’s called Stroll Through the Playlist. While it’s way longer than our regular videos---as our regular videos are never over 10 minutes---it is a great way to refresh your memory of major concepts and vocabulary. It can also be a great indicator of whether you may want to re-watch the full content video for a topic or do some more in-depth studying.
One thing that is especially exciting is that we’re going to try using the YouTube Premiere feature! This means that if you join the video link at the exact time that the video premieres (4/14/2019- Sunday- at 7:30 pm CT), you’ll watch it live with us, and you can participate in the live chat typing window if you’d like.
This graphic has some info about YouTube Premiere:
A few additional things to know:
Keep in mind this is our first time to try out the new YouTube Premiere feature. We love trying new things, and we’re sure there may be some unexpected hiccups along the way. But, of course, that’s how we all grow. :)
Hope to see you on April 14th at 7:30 pm central on our Amoeba Sisters YouTube Channel!
[Additional text added March 2019]
We have a lot of gratitude for YouTube. As edu creators, it allows us to publish our video content and reach others. It allows us to build a community. And it allows others to contribute subtitles in different languages.
There are some challenges we face as edu YouTubers though. EDITING. Sometimes, after we publish a video, we receive helpful feedback that a clarification- or even an error- needs to be addressed. We are really grateful for this kind of feedback, because it helps us grow as educators. We make mistakes, but we have worked hard to cultivate our growth mindset so that we can learn from those mistakes and get even better!
And we want to model that for high school kids too, because we think that is an important life skill. Which, is why, fixing our mistakes is very important.
The only problem is that YouTube has limited ability to edit videos, and in 2016, they removed the ability to make new annotations (much to the dismay of many edu YouTubers). Also, on 1/15/2019, all existing annotations will be permanently deleted. The "cards" feature which was designed to replace the "annotations" feature unfortunately doesn't have the ability to make clarifications or address issues. So how do we handle this?
Most of the time, we are addressing a clarification or smaller scale mistake. It might be a typo. It may relate to the way we used a vocabulary word. It could be a single incorrect statement in the audio or the way we pronounced a vocabulary word. It may be related to an exception---science has a lot of exceptions! We consider something a clarification or smaller scale mistake if it does not affect the full video, but may affect a statement or component of the video that should be addressed.
So how do we handle those clarifications or mistakes? You will find it as a pinned comment! That means, it will show as the very first comment underneath the YouTube video. That allows it be front and center, and it is a popular method that many edu creators use to address those clarifications or mistakes. We remake videos every once in a while as our art and scripts improve. When we remake a video, we check the pinned comment of the old video to make sure to address those clarifications or mistakes from the past. And, don't worry, unless there is a major issue with an old video---we do not delete old videos. We want people to know how we have improved with lots and lot of practice!
[Added March 2019: YouTube now allows small clip-outs of video portions even on videos with high view counts. We have used this feature on a few older videos, and it's explained on the pinned comment for the video]
If you are an educator, we highly recommend checking out the "pinned" comment on our videos! Please also share this with students, because we want students to see that we do make mistakes. We want students to see how we handle mistakes, and we want students to feel empowered to keep going when they make mistakes too.
Unfortunately, if it's a major error that affects the main concept of the video, we remove the video and re-publish the video. It has been extremely rare, and it's definitely frustrating to do as a creator, because the link to the video is destroyed when you remove a video. We take a lot of effort to try to avoid this by double checking our facts before releasing a video. You can see our factual references in our expanded video details.
If there is no issue with a video (that we have been made aware of), we often pin supplemental information or links in our pinned comment.
As always, we thank our viewers for helping us grow as edu creators! :)
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