YouTube – A Vision of Students Today

Came across this before but was reminded of it by Ian Yorstan’s favourites.
As Ian writes:

A short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today – how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime.

To which I would like to add: ‘and how out of date our education system is’.

Here’s another nice resource for an ethics class. It’s about the death penalty:


Good day Bad day

Good day
John Henderson has suggested setting up an email network on gmail for anybody interested in ‘ICT in Education’ issues. This may finally get us teachers talking to each other. I am just a little bit excited.Good man yourself John.

Bad day
Had to forego the lunch which followed because I had a mountain of ‘Mock’ papers to correct.

Good day
Came across this answer to the question ‘What is self-induction?’

Self-Induction is when you have been rejected so many times by clubs and have gotten so pathetic that you’ve actually inducted yourself into a non-existent club that its only member is you and you alone . . . . Oh I wish someone else would join.

Sean, you’ve a bright future ahead of you – I’m just not sure it’s going to be in Physics.And this in response to the question ‘What are the four fundamental forces in Nature?’

Science: Gravity Electromagnetic, Strong, Weak

Religion: God, The Holy Spirit, Jesus, Their own ego

(At this stage I would like to emphasise that these are not my own views :)).

Bad day
Remembered I offered the editor of the Irish Science Teachers’ Journal that I would write an aticle on ICT issues related to Science Teaching. Bad timing. Deadline looming. Need to work on it tonight.

Good Day
Took a break in the name of ‘research’ and googled “physics teacher blog” and found Dean Baird’s The Blog of Phyz.Lots of good reading, but I like this post the best so far. There are so many experiment books for ideas on demonstrations out there, but their day has surely passed due to the advent of video-sites like youtube.

I had heard of the Leidenfrost Effect before, but there can’t be too mant easier or more impressive demonstrations of it than this one.

He includes a couple of more clips, including one which goes wrong, which is nice to see because as every physics teacher knows whether we are comfortable admitting it or not, things go wrong A LOT in Physics.
Thanks Doug

Teaching Sound and Youtube

I’m teaching Sound with both Junior Certs and Leaving Certs at the moment.It was pretty cool to have ready access to these amazing clipsSonic Boom: very useful when discussing the Doppler Effect.As usual there are loads of related clips: Lyre bird imitating a chain-saw.Not sure about the relevance, but this has to be seen (and heard) to be believed.    Finally a quick search for ‘Teaching Sound” brought up some nice ideas here:We need more of this – it’s so easy to exchange ideas. Thanks Mr Noon  

Interactive Whiteboard Video

Ruth McElhone gave a presentation during the CESI conference last month on using the Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB). She mentioned that she had put an instructional video on Youtube but I could never find it until it appeared in Ewen McIntosh’s favourites on his delicious site, which in turn get featured when you sign up to his blog.

In any case, here it is. We have (and underuse) Promethean, whereas Ruth’s presentation is on an alternative called Smartboard. Very impressive nonetheless.

Thanks Ruth

Youtube and Education

The excellent Cool Cat Teacher Blog recently posted about youtube being blocked and has given her own top reasons why it is such a great educational resource:

1) Youtube has some great resources.

2) Youtube has valid educational uses.

3) With a rating system (G, PG, PG-13) or even an E rating for education, we could allow this great resource through our filters and filter by rating, not completely blocking the site. Now, we have no choice and many of you have to go home to read this blog post because you cannot see the videos.

4) Humans are deeply influenced by video, particularly those with an emotional anchor in their past. I used a disparate listing of video in the hopes that each of us would find one video that really pulls at our heart.

5) The effective use of video can give us breakthrough moments with our students. I most often find that the use of video has the greatest impact on my student writing of anything. If I can get them emotionally engaged, I can teach the importance of voice.

6) Youtube is something I use a lot in my classroom. Every 20 minutes I like to change the pace to keep attention and focus. (I find youtube second only to unitedstreaming — my favorite for educational videos and documentaries — however it is a pay service.)

Much more elequent than my list, but I hope the two complement each other.

She also includes some of her more inspirational youtube clips, including Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech above. A clolleague of mine has a poster of this on his classroom wall. Imagine if, when asked what it was about, he could immediately call up this clip. It invokes so much more emotion than the words alone.

In the posting referred to above I gave the link to my sites, but what I should have done was linked to my youtube clips specifically. This is only a fraction of what I have; putting all other clips on delicious is a job for a rainy day.
But take it from me; it is well worth the effort for entertaining a ‘supervision’ class – and it’s all educational!

I don’t know how I would pick a favourite, probably the we are all just monkeys clip I referred to in another posting.

This one is just one picked at random. It brings a whole new understanding of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which no amount of hand-waving in class could ever do.

But she is right; blogging (and commenting on each others’ blogs) is one of the few options we have to do something about it.

Thanks to those who have contributed to far.

Youtube in schools (again)


As every teacher knows, Youtube is blocked in schools in Ireland.

The problem, as I understand it, is that the NCTE have two levels for rating sites; Conservative and Very Conservative.

It’s no that youtube does not qualify for either category and so schools don’t have the option of whether to allow it or not.

It may be possible that with lobbying on our part we can change this.

I hope to contact the Irish Science Teachers’ Association soon and hopefully have something included in their journal to this effect.

Step one would probably involve persuading teachers of Youtube’s potential as a teaching resource. This shouldn’t be too hard – a link to relevant clips on perhaps?

Step two would be building up a list of interested teachers and/or subject areas.
I guess this is as good a place to start as any?

If interested please leave a comment and perhaps a link to a favourite youtube teaching clip.

Chain Reaction part 2 – Rube Goldberg machines

One of my very first blog posts was about a Chain Reaction project which I carry out with Transition Year students.

The technical term for these things is actually Rube Goldberg machines.
From Wikipedia:

A Rube Goldberg machine is an incredibly overengineered apparatus that performs a very simple task in very indirect and convoluted fashion (thus absurdly violating the principle of parsimony).

I like this too (also from wikipedia)

It has been argued that fissioning uranium to boil water under tremendous temperature and pressure renders nuclear power a Rube Goldberg machine.

One of these was featured recently on youtube:

I continue to believe that it’s a wonderful way for students to carry out project work, and I would certainly have no problem employing this guy as an engineer ahead of someone with similar qualilfications but higher grades.

There is even a Japanese Championship involving these contraptions.

Apparently learning can be fun after all . . .

Battle at Kruger

 Watch as a baby buffalo is caught in the jaws of four lions, then acts as the rope in a tug of war between the lions and some crocs, and finally gets rescued by her extended family.
Simply amazing

Was I the only one rooting for the lions?
I say that a baby lion is cuter than a baby buffalo and on that faultless logic I won’t sleep tonight for worrying about what happened to the lions.
They  have to eat too you know.
There are of course some who would suggest that animals getting eaten alive is the sort of thing that goes on every day when Disney isn’t around.
We have a name for these nasty people – we call them scientists.
In an ideal world they are responsible for seperating fact from that which we wish to be true.
Here endeth my sermon.
Go in peace.