Saturday, June 17, 2017

Teen Girls Invent a Solar Powered Tent for the Homeless: BRAVO!

Wonderful, inspiring story for kids... Inspiration is an approach to instruction that is far too infrequently talked about by educators...This item is perfect for today's kids and so obviously has so much to offer them... here we have kids who learned and applied their learning so that they could make the world a better place... in a sense, it's all here! Exactly what today's education should focus on... From Mashable... BRAVO!

"The DIY Girls

How 12 teens invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless

As Daniela Orozco picks off excess plastic bordering a 3D-printed box, she recalls how many homeless people she saw on her way to school when she was a high school freshman.

Just one.
|
Four years later, the number has multiplied. People live on a main thoroughfare near the school, at a nearby park, and below the off-ramps and bridges in her hometown of San Fernando, which is about 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. In the San Fernando Valley, homelessness increased 36% to 7,094 people last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency's annual count. Daniela and her friends wanted to help, but giving money wasn’t an option.

"Because we come from low-income families ourselves, we can't give them money," the high school senior says.

"We wanted to offer something besides money," her classmate, Veronica Gonzalez, chimes in.

That was the starting point for their invention: a solar-powered tent that folds up into a rollaway backpack.

The girls and 10 others from their high school had never done any hands-on engineering work before, but with the help of YouTube, Google, and trial-and-error, they got it done.

They hope that one day, their tent will improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their community. 
Paulina Martinez zips up the solar-powered tent as the team works on final sewing touches.
Scott Witter/Mashable
Left to right: Kassandra Salazar, Paulina Martinez, and Paola Valtierra, help DIY Girls Executive Director Evelyn Gomez set up the solar-powered tent.
Scott Witter/Mashable

The teen girls from San Fernando High School worked on their invention over the course of a year. Come June 16, they'll present it at MIT as part of a young inventors conference. The teens, none of whom had coded, soldered, sewn, or 3D-printed before they joined forces, won a $10,000 grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program to develop the invention.

They were recruited by DIY Girls, a nonprofit that teaches girls from low-income communities about engineering, math, and science, to go after the grant.

"I knew I wanted to apply for it, but I needed a team," says Evelyn Gomez, 29, the executive director of DIY Girls. "I went back to my calculus teacher at my high school and did a hands-on recruitment activity."
Most of the girls didn't know each other before, but they quickly became close friends.


When DIY Girls was founded in 2012, the nonprofit worked with 35 girls in one elementary school classroom. Last year, it served 650 girls in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Los Angeles County. The small nonprofit even keeps a waitlist because demand for its services is so high.
Hands-on STEM education at schools, especially for girls in low-income communities, is severely lacking, Evelyn says. Women make up just 29% of the science and engineering workforce, according to the National Science Board, a federal agency. Around 6% of female working scientists and engineers are Hispanic or Latina.


Prinsesa Alvarez shows off the solar-powered tent in its rollaway backpack.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Young Game Designers Awards: Great Opportunity to Foster Student Creativity

Read the full article at its source:  http://www.bafta.org/media-centre/press-releases/ygd-2017-finalists-announced

BAFTA Announces Finalists for Young Game Designers Awards

14 June 2017
Event: BAFTA Young Game Designers AwardsDate: Sat 23 July 2016Venue: BAFTA, 195 PiccadillyHosts: Ben Shires, Jane Douglas-Area: WINNERS GROUP SHOTS

BAFTA/Mollie Rose
The winners, including inspiring educators, will be revealed at a special ceremony on Saturday 8 July
Unity Technologies to receive BAFTA YGD Hero Award

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the finalists in a nation-wide competition to find the game designers of the future, and the educators who inspire them. The winners, chosen by a panel of games professionals, will be revealed at a special awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London on Saturday 8 July.


The BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, in association with Nominet Trust, gives young people the chance to design and create their own game. The initiative is now in its sixth year and has seen previous entrants go on to attract commercial interest, as well as a nomination at the British Academy Games Awards, BAFTA’s flagship ceremony for the games industry.


Forty games, made by individuals or teams of young people aged 10-18, will be vying for the Game Concept Award and Game Making Award, which recognise a written game idea, or a game made using computer software respectively. The winners of both strands, in 10-14 and 15-18 age ranges, will receive a host of prizes, including: a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further, tours of leading games studios, and a prototype of their game created by a team of developers. For a full list of prizes, go to: http://ygd.bafta.org/about-ygd/ygd-news/ygd-2017-winners-prizes.


The young finalists come from across England, Scotland and Wales – stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance – and one-third is female. The successful entrants include two who were also finalists in 2016. To see the full list of young finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/winners-nominees.


Five educators are in the running for the YGD Mentor Award, which is presented to an individual, nominated by the public, involved in the education of young game designers. The winner in this category will be announced at the Awards ceremony in July. The Mentor Award finalists come from schools, colleges and code clubs in Renfrewshire, West Sussex, Suffolk and Bristol. For profiles of the mentor award finalists, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/about-ygd/ygd-news/ygd-2017-winners-prizes.


BAFTA is also presenting a YGD Hero Award for support for young games designers by an industry professional or development team. The winner of this award, selected by the BAFTA Games Committee, is announced today as Unity Technologies, creators of Unity, the largest global development platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR games and experiences, including a free version for personal use.
Nick Button-Brown, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “Each year I’m truly inspired by the amazing games that we see and the talent, creativity and enthusiasm that all our entrants show. I never fail to be humbled by how much better their work is than what I could do at their age.  The entrants to this competition will help to define the future of the games industry, and I for one look forward to seeing what they come up with and playing their games.


“BAFTA Young Game Designers also recognises those who inspire the next generation, and we’re delighted to honour the companies and teams within our industry that encourage people to get involved in making games, as well as the individuals who work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of games makers to achieve their dreams. The awards ceremony in July is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate with all the winners and finalists.”


Chris Ashworth, Programme Director at Nominet Trust, said: “Nominet Trust are delighted to support BAFTA Young Game Designers for the third consecutive year. It’s a great opportunity for young people up and down the country to take part in, and be inspired by the games industry and for the sector itself to ignite an interest in STEM careers. Once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity and thrilled to see a sustained increase in the number of entries from girls.”


Jessica Lindl, Global Head of Education at Unity, said: "We are very grateful to BAFTA for this recognition. At Unity, we believe every young person should have the opportunity to learn how to become a creator, and not just a consumer, of technology. That's why we invest so deeply in building a powerful and flexible engine that makes young people's dreams a reality."


The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice and a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum.


Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Criterion, Jagex, King, Ubisoft, SEGA, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Unity and WB Games. Abertay University will support the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition. For further details about the initiative, visit www.bafta.org/ygd...

- Ends -
Notes to Editors:
Daniel Smith, 2016 winner of the Game Making Award (ages 15-18) with Spectrum, has had his game picked up by a games publisher. It is currently in development and will be released commercially in 2018.
Dan Pearce, a YGD winner in 2010, was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013, and his game Castles in the Sky earned him a BAFTA nomination for Debut Game in 2014.
For an at-a-glance summary of the finalists, visit here.
Unity Technologies is the creator of a flexible and high-performance end-to-end development platform used to create rich interactive 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences. Unity’s powerful graphics engine and full-featured editor serve as the foundation to develop beautiful games or apps and easily bring them to multiple platforms: mobile devices, home entertainment systems, personal computers,

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Technology Resources for Interest-Driven Learning


I love the idea of this! Now do these tools actually make this happen? Well, that's the question, isn't it? Even more interesting is that some of these resources are considered to do this and so many other things... that could have to do with marketing efforts or it could mean that there's some real magic here... Some of these I find interesting or inspiring or really I like the look of...

(came across this on the Common Sense education site
https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/edtech-that-fuels-interest-driven-learning?utm_source=Edu_Newsletter_2017_06_13&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly  )

EdTech That Fuels Interest-Driven Learning

When students are passionate about something, it's essential to create an environment of support that helps them dig deeper. One of the best ways to get students invested in learning is to connect what they're doing in the classroom to what interests them beyond the classroom. These picks help students get inspired, research their interests, connect with mentors and collaborate on projects, and create portfolios. There are also some tools for tailoring assessments to each student’s topic.
Interested in seeing tips on how you might use some of these tools to build curiosity in the classroom? Check out our blog series We All Teach SEL: Inspiring Activities for Every Classroom.

Exploration and Inspiration

Exploration and Inspiration


Podcasts Publisher: Apple
Search, access, and organize podcasts from iTunes' free library
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Thrively Visit Website: http://www.thrively.com/
Cool assessment targets kids’ strengths; sprawling content overwhelms
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

News-O-Matic for School, 2016-17 Nonfiction Reading Publisher: Press4Kids
Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Newsela Visit Website: https://newsela.com/
Absorbing daily news stories offer kids just-right learning content
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Expeditions Publisher: Google Inc
Fire up the warp drive to bring VR field trips to your classroom
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

KidsThinkDesign Visit Website: http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/index.html
Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Couragion Visit Website: http://www.couragion.com/
Individualized STEM career exploration targets students' values
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Research and Citation


Citelighter Visit Website: http://www.citelighter.com
Substantial all-in-one tool scaffolds the research and writing process
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Simple English Wikipedia Visit Website: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Adapted resource can help some ELLs, with potential for other students
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

findingDulcinea Visit Website: http://www.findingdulcinea.com
Quality search tool with curated resources and links to credible sites
Grades 6-10
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

SweetSearch Visit Website: http://www.sweetsearch.com
Search engine with filtered results leaves room for critical thinking
Grades 6-10
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Evernote Visit Website: http://evernote.com/
Handy storage locker for anything and everything you might create
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Imagine Easy Academy Visit Website: http://www.imagineeasy.com/academy/
Versatile site helps integrate literacy skills into the curriculum
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

NoodleTools Visit Website: http://www.noodletools.com/
No noodlin’, just serious research with this comprehensive resource
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

EasyBib Visit Website: http://www.easybib.com/
Helpful citation and writing resource for instant bibliographies
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Collaboration


Dreamdo Schools Visit Website: https://edu.dream.do/
Sleek project-based learning platform encourages global connections
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Edublogs Visit Website: https://edublogs.org/
Customizable classroom blogs get students writing and collaborating
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Actively Learn Visit Website: http://www.activelylearn.com/
Empowering social ereader keeps kids actively, independently engaged
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Google Hangouts Visit Website: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/
Communication, learning, and fun converge nicely in Google's slick platform
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Wikispaces Visit Website: http://www.wikispaces.com/
Powerful tool for creating collaborative websites
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Google Drive Visit Website: https://drive.google.com/
Nifty tool for collaboratively editing docs and syncing files across devices or online
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

WordPress Publisher: Automattic
Inviting, customizable mobile blog platform with easy-to-use interface
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Chrome, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Portfolios and Assessment


Goalbook Toolkit Visit Website: https://goalbookapp.com/toolkit-info/
Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Seesaw: The Learning Journal Publisher: Seesaw, Inc.
Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Chrome
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

WeLearnedIt Publisher: eduClipper, Inc.
Digital portfolio and management tool for project-based classrooms
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

PlayPosit Visit Website: http://www.playposit.com/
Simple design makes it easy to jump into interactive video
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

eBackpack Visit Website: https://www.ebackpack.com/
Easy system to submit, review, and store digital assignments
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Project Foundry Visit Website: http://projectfoundry.org/
Helpful, yet complex, management tool for project-based learning
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price
Common Sense Rating
Teacher Rating

Teach Students Curation, a key element of 21st Century Creativity

Just read this excellent article in ISTE's online publication... great insights into teaching Curation, a key element of 21st Century Creativity and how to teach it to students...

https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=970&category=In-the-classroom&article=Teach+students+to+curate+a+project+%27playlist%27+with+primary-source+documents

Teach students to curate a project 'playlist' with primary-source documents

By Kate Harris 5/23/2017
“It gets so much harder when you get down to the last few choices. I want to include them all.”

The student speaking had narrowed down 26 images of historical documents and artifacts related to the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki to six that reflected her point of view, and now she had to eliminate one more.

“I want to show that I think using the atomic bombs was a bad idea because of how dramatically it changed warfare. I like the peace sculpture [a bronze memorial of a young girl holding an origami crane], but I like Einstein and Oppenheimer too.”

When pressed to meet the five-resource limit her teacher had set, the student decided on the image of the scientists. According to her, “it shows that these weapons are created by humans and will hurt humans. That science isn’t perfect and has flaws.”

In a short time, she had analyzed several authentic sources, determining their point of view and synthesizing them with her own opinions. She then began to work on presenting her ideas to her classmates as an online collection, rather like a small museum exhibit. This is digital curation done right: students working with authentic materials in a meaningful way; finding, analyzing, and organizing to make new meaning out of the myriad materials available online.

Remember the mixtape

Did you ever make a mixtape (or a digital playlist, if you’re young enough)? The greatest mixtapes weren’t those that just included a scattered array of tunes or repeated the same radio hits. They were the ones that challenged the listener with something new — a surprising artist, or an unexpected cover of a favorite song. The mixtape’s ultimate purpose was to deliver a message: declaring love, telling a story, or capturing a time and place. Like any great mixtape, curation is intentional and purposeful. The items chosen are thoughtful representations, and they are selected to communicate an idea.

Why use curation in the classroom?

With so much information now available, it’s imperative that students develop the skills to effectively find and evaluate sources of information, categorize what they have found and create new meaning from those materials by adding personal insights or findings. More than a means of sifting the useful from the irrelevant, student curation is about adding to the conversation with original thought and determining how various resources connect.

Student curation addresses several academic and life skills. According to Understanding by Design developers Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, "Students reveal their understanding most effectively when they are provided with complex, authentic opportunities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess."

Curation draws on the range of skills described and encourages students to produce and present their own digital content. Curation addresses the ISTE Knowledge Constructor standard, which expects students to “curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.”

How should we remember the A-bomb?

Diving into student curation without practice can lead to lackluster work products: Imagine students just picking images from a Google search at random and pasting them into a document. Students need support in all stages of the process: finding appropriate resources, analyzing their selections, citing their sources and making and presenting something new.

McKeesport Area High School (Pennsylvania) history teacher Brian Tharp’s project on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings gave students the freedom to curate within a process he scaffolded to ensure great results. Tharp preselected the resources from the Smithsonian Learning Lab — so for this first round of curation, students were not getting bogged down in the search process, but rather focused on selection.

Although the atomic bombings brought a swift end to World War II, their use has been criticized, and Tharp’s assignment allowed students to discover different perspectives on the issue as they developed their own point of view.

He partnered with his school’s secondary literacy coordinator, Erica Guadalupe, to support student development of thesis statements about how the bomb should be remembered. As they began to put together their online collections, students had already developed a clear position and considered possible sources of evidence.
smithsonian screenshot
A collection from the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
Guadalupe acknowledged the natural connection to writing skills, “You have to really focus on choosing the best evidence — there might be a lot of resources that connect, but you have to be smart about what you include.”

The Learning Lab supports such activities while making 2 million authentic Smithsonian digital resources (artifacts, images, texts, videos and more) available. Within the free online platform, students can not only select and aggregate individual resources but also annotate them with questions, text and hotspots. Users age 13 and up can publish their collections, which then become available in the Lab for viewing and adaptation by others.

Curate your own exhibit

More than 60 Pittsburgh-area social studies teachers have been exploring the Learning Lab with their students through a grant studying how the site impacts learning. When her seventh grade world history class was beginning a unit on Egypt, teacher Aubrey Morgan at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School tried curation from a different angle.

She knew she wanted students to explore the spectacular artifacts of that ancient civilization and improve descriptive writing skills. To meet both goals, Morgan told her students they would be guest-curators developing an exhibit on a particular theme of Ancient Egypt, be it “science and medicine,” for example, or “famous pharaohs.”

Because users can upload their own resources into the Learning Lab, students could include not only the Smithsonian’s digital resources but also those of other major repositories like the British Museum.
This presented a natural opportunity to reiterate with students the importance of proper citation and credible sourcing, which is one aspect of the Digital Citizenship standard in the ISTE Standards for Students. Students were required to add context articulating how each item illustrated a concept or supported their theme.
After students completed their thematic exhibits, they presented to the class and voted on items that would best fit in a larger CAPA 7th Grade digital Egyptology Museum shared with the school community. Morgan liked that the project helped students “focus on history as a job,” noting that, “the way historians study the past is through the artifacts and sources.”
Building on document-based questions

Molly Chester of Avonworth High School turned the tables on her AP U.S History students. Instead of having them address a DBQ (document-based question) by synthesizing information from diverse sources into a compelling argument, she asked them to create the question. Then students searched the Learning Lab for related resources, which ensured they would think about the unit’s themes and the kinds of evidence that would support an answer.
Their final collections, made according to Chester’s instructions, look like an electronic version of the classic DBQ: an inquiry answered using the resources together with students’ own knowledge. Because Chester required the inclusion of guiding questions for each source, students had to be intentional in their choices and consider historical context, audience, point of view and purpose.
smithsonian dbq question An example of a student-developed DBQ question. 
Students also had to think carefully about their search tactics. Which resources would, in their teacher’s words, “(1) illustrate some aspect of the issue, (2) add insight or outside information to the issue, or (3) challenge or call into question traditional or usual interpretations of the issue.” Considering what value each piece would add to the collection requires students to analyze digital artifacts and synthesize information from a variety of sources (ISTE Knowledge Constructor standard, indicators 3b and 3c).
smithsonian 3
Student guiding questions with an artifact. 
Assembling vs. curating
Curation isn’t easy, but teachers agree that it’s a skill that is becoming increasingly important. At Riverview High School in Oakmont, history teacher Robert Lindeman and language arts teacher Mark Carlin have used the Learning Lab as a way for students to incorporate primary sources into traditional research papers.

For them, the process to get to thoughtful curation has been long and winding. Both Carlin and Lindeman have developed a series of formative assessments, having students first explore teacher-curated collections before starting to create their own small, structured collections.

Lindeman notes that students often assemble “random facts,” not creating “a coherent narrative” when producing research projects. He hopes that because his students are such visual learners, curating a collection will ease their way in making meaning of the resources they find. In addition, he notes that to curate and present a narrative is a prized real-world skill, something he was often asked to do in his “previous life” in the private sector. (ISTE prioritizes this skill too, see the Creative Communicator standard, indicators 6b and 6c).

Both Carlin and Lindeman, along with other teachers mentioned in this article, emphasize that the authentic artifacts and resources help highlight the human side of history, science and literature. Creating collections using materials like these not only builds 21st century skills, but also connects students to the real physical world of the past.
-------------------------------------
Kate Harris is an instructional coach for the Smithsonian Learning Lab, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She visits classrooms in the region to observe and support how educators and students use Smithsonian resources to enhance learning.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Family Movie Going – Sharing More Than Popcorn:



How laptops and SMART Phones can connect and concretize family movie experiences into rich digital literacy research, investigation, and responses

By Dr. Rose Reissman

As the official school year draws to a close, many families will mark the onset of summer and its break from the yearlong school routine with a family outing to the local movieplex.  Nothing compares to that scented with buttered popcorn, crowded movie theater family experience.  But that experience can easily deliver more than just solid family fun.  Traditional 20th century movie bonding experiences for families can also serve as a joyous launch for a shared, digital 21st century ongoing learning investigation.

How?

I)                   BEFORE VIEWING: 

Charge up your laptop or other connected device (tablet, SMART Phone, etc.) and pre-view a movie of interest, perhaps reviewing its online trailer or cast interviews. Keep a record of your reactions and reflections as text or audio files. This could be done at home, or over breakfast out, or on the way to the theater. (See Tech Tips section at the bottom)

Consider addressing the following issues: Why, as a family, are you selecting a particular movie to view and what you most anticipate seeing in that movie, whether it is a specific actor’s performance, special effects, or the film version of a book familiar to you?  If the movie is part of an ongoing series, have all of you seen the previous installments and what was your reaction to them?
What, if anything, influenced your decision to see the particular film you’ve selected? Was it word of mouth from friends or relatives or reviews or a controversy over the film in the news?

II)                AT THE MOVIES: 

As you watch the film, share (in whispers, of course)  and use the available film lighting to jot down notes on surprises, disappointments, and elements of the movie that make each of  you really like the movie - or really feel your money was wasted - or feel it was just a good chance to bond together.

Jot down notes as you leave, characterizing the audience’s reaction or an effect or character from the film.  Chat up other audience members to get their reaction as you wait for popcorn or on the bathroom line or exit the theater. If given permission, record what they say for an audio file to upload later.

III)             After the movies:

Upload your comments as an audio file or a video and share them with family, friends and others through your laptop network or through school network.  React to their comments.

Use Google to search out reviews for the film you just saw as a family.  After reading each one, work together as a family - or individually - or in pairs to react to the reviews.

Family members can author their own review and email it to the reviewer or post it on the site as a comment (many have “Comments” functions at the foot of the review.  Or, if responding to a print review, send it to the editor of the magazine (such as editor@people.com). Or they can upload a conversation about the film in the style of television show movie reviews as an audio or a video file on their own family blog. 


Many families who submit a response get a personal reply, which validates their viewer response. A little online searching will turn up opportunities for this. USA Today, however, is one good example (go to https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2014/07/30/guardians-of-the-galaxy-review/12786911/ - scroll to the bottom for post a comment and email response options.)

Moving beyond the movie to online research, investigation, and response:
Take the example of the new "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" – The film was based on a Marvel Comics Superhero, which can be researched


Comparisons made between the actors and sets and the pen and ink drawings of the comic book. Families can create slides with the original public domain artwork and the set scenes and then narrate a comparison between the screen rendering and the print version of the comic heroes.


This film is a sequel. So you might want to compare, answering the questions “In what ways does it answer or develop the themes and music and characters presented in the first film?  Are the plotlines from the print comics or developed by 21st century screen writers?”

The film is heavy with references to 1980’s and 1990’s television shows such as Cheers and actor David Hasselhoff, familiar to today’s parents, but not familiar to their kids.  However, together parents and kids they can research these shows via YouTube and other easily accessible online repositories of such artifacts and review footage of these television shows to understand references to them by Peter (a character in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie) which otherwise would  be lost to the kids.   


Further, the film shows Peter and the other Guardians engaged in using walkmans and deejaying hits from the 20th century pop music catalogue.  Thus, there are more rich veins of cultural artifact to mine on the web, giving today’s kids the opportunity to make important discoveries alongside parents, as they listen online to the songs and research their cultural context. 


In fact, they can create their own playlists of period music (synched with the period setting of the movie) by simply copying and pasting YouTube video links. Even better, they can give their own commentary about the music alongside the titles and links of the song videos they save on a simple word processing document.
In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, it is obvious that a third chapter will be coming up in the series.  Families can predict the plot and direction of that next film in the ongoing series and suggesting actors and new characters for it.

Some family members might read the initial Marvel Comics Guardians series and use that as a text for predicting and suggesting the next movie iteration for this series.  Originals of these are limited in availability and expensive now, but some public libraries will have them (check out this site for correct publisher’s titles and publication information: http://marvel.com/comics/issue/62826/guardians_of_the_galaxy_mother_entropy_2017_5 ).

Older family members will compare Guardians, a laugh filled, music video style film with the original Star Wars and Spiderman and Batman films.  They can argue for the extent to which this series ranks among the best of the Superhero films or the worst, or in between.  Kids can argue about how it compares and contrasts and ranks with the first Guardians film. 

Nothing beats digging into a large tub of buttery movie popcorn in a crowded movie auditorium as the lights go down and the movie starts  using the multi-featured chromebook platform can extend this traditional experience, to make it a rich the literacy learning one, as well as family quality time.

So after the popcorn is gone and the family returns home, the movie digital bonding and conversational movie talk can and will go on and on,  depend in on your Chromebook for ongoing admission to movie inspired family talk, sites, word docs, audio file and more!! 
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EASY TECH TIPS: How To share your reflections and reviews online
(Recommendations by Mark Gura)

*How to upload your text copy to the web
Probably the easiest and most effective way to do this would be to start a blog. A great place to begin would be with Google’s BLOGGER blogging resource, which is free.  One can create a professional looking blog very easily with BLOGGER in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes. A simple registration process and a series of choices to be made are required (e.g. what web address for the blog do you want to create? - which look and feel do you want? etc.). After setting up the blog, one can write a post in a word processing program and then copy and paste e that into the blog post space, hit “Publish” and instantly, one’s text is online. One can copy the URL (web address) of the blog and post and email it to others easily. Another wonderful thing about a simple blog like this is that not only will one’s post have text (and the size, style, color, font, etc. of the text can be tweaked to suit the blogger), but photos, and links (or ‘players’) to videos or audio recordings can be embedded in the text very easily. There is a bit of a learning curve in using BLOGGER and similar blogging resources, but one can create a blog and upload a simple post within just a few minutes!
-          Start a Blog on Blogger: http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog-on-Blogger
-          How to Create a Blogger Blog Step by Step Tutorial - Blogger Beginners! Tutorial 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J__39eioBNw
-          How to use Blogger - You can post info and stories with Blogger: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/1623800?hl=en

*How to Record Your Voice and Have It Online for Others to Hear
If you Google a search prompt like “Record Voice Online” you’ll find numerous, generally FREE, resources that will allow you to speak directly into your SMART Phone or laptop (most modern laptops have a microphone and video camera built in and ready to go). One such resource is   Speak Pipe https://www.speakpipe.com/voice-recorder

“ SpeakPipe voice recorder allows you to create an audio recording directly from a browser by using your microphone. The recording is produced locally on your computer, and you can record as many times as you need. There is the option to save your recording on the SpeakPipe server and get a link to it, so you can send it via email or use on the web.” Works on iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android devices.

Another popular option is Vocaroo, which is also FREE and doesn’t even require a registration… http://vocaroo.com/

Audio resources like the ones mentioned above will give you a link to the recording (which resides online) that can be inserted into a blog post, so that both text and audio can be shared online easily!

- How to Record Audio With Your Mobile Device: https://www.videomaker.com/article/c4/15802-how-to-record-audio-with-your-mobile-device

- 5 Great Tips For Recording Audio With Any Smartphone Or Tablet:  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/great-tips-recording-audio-smartphone-tablet

- Record Great Audio with your Smartphone: https://youtu.be/yVTAOt0UAdE  

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More family movies to enjoy way after the popcorn is consumed and the movie theater lights are turned up:
Movies such as Beauty and the Beast (2017) lend themselves beautifully to comparison with previous animation and theater as well as print versions.

Boss Baby (2016) a highly successful cartoon feature is based on a little know board book of the same name by Maria Frazee  published in 2010  and can be compared to the print work.

Everything, Everything (2017) was a bestselling work by Nicola Yoon before it became a film.

Hidden Figures focuses on a short portion of the Margot Lee Shetterly nonfiction best seller.