Sunday, November 18, 2007

HotChalk is hot

HotChalk bills itself as a teacher website, but really it's more of a classroom organizational portal, with places to list lesson plans and link to plan resources, post messages to your students in each class, keep track of grades, post assignments and gather student feedback or questions, and now, link to the NBC library of videos. The site is free to all teachers and schools, though there may be a change in individual subscriptions regarding the video component come January 2008.

In the meantime, any registered HotChalk user can access short video clips on a variety of topics from the NBC archives. Not only is this great engaging content for helping illustrate your content-based point, but it also inherently provides an opportunity for a conversation about media literacy and bias. For example, the video I watched on Wikipedia was very much slanted toward how unreliable the information is, despite the existence of research that says Wikipedia is just as reliable as the Encylcopedia Britannica.

In any case, the short and timely video feature on the trip of the Mayflower to this continent (once again, landing off course--one can only imagine the captain or navigator explaining that ship steering in the 1600s was not an exact science, and, really, what's a few hundred miles north or south, at least we're not on the boat anymore) was much more current and interesting than the filmstrip of still images with the little beep indicator to advance to the next slide I remember from when I was in school. Granted, I will always have a fond rememberance of those little plastic individual filmstrip viewers, but I would have traded it for an iPod in a nanosecond.

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