Canva can be used to create graphics, videos, presentations, and simple websites. Within any Canva template there are lots of neat editing tools including an image background remover. It’s available to anyone who has a free Canva for Education account.
Canva’s image background remover is easy to use and works with almost any picture that you upload to your Canva account. To use it simply drag a picture from the uploads folder in your Canva account onto any template. Then click on the image to bring up the image editing tools and select “background remover.” Canva will then automatically remove the background from your picture. Watch this short video to see how it works.
Applications for Education
As I demonstrated in the video above, after removing the background from an image of yourself, you can then put a new background in its place. I put an image of Mount Everest in the background of my picture. One way to use this with students is to have them place themselves in front of landmarks of the world then write about their virtual visit to those landmarks.
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The Surprisingly Long History of Electric Cars is a new TED-Ed lesson that should be of interest to anyone who is curious about electric vehicles. The video begins with an explanation of the first electric cars and why they were overtaken by gasoline-powered internal combustion engines. The second half of the video explains the technological, economic, and political factors that have contributed to the increase in electric vehicle manufacturing in the last decade. Finally, the video concludes with a prediction about the future of electric vehicles.
Applications for Education
TED-Ed has a good list of suggested questions to ask your students after they watch the video. I’d also add some questions to prompt student to think about the challenges and brainstorm solutions to the challenges facing electric vehicle sales in rural areas that don’t have the charging infrastructure of suburban and urban areas.
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the list of Halloween-themed resources that I shared a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be worth reminding you that Kahoot has a huge gallery of Halloween-themed games. You can find those games by clicking the âDiscoverâ tab in your Kahoot dashboard and then entering the search term âHalloweenâ or âHalloween Trivia.â You can then preview the games before you play them with your students. The games can also be duplicated and edited in your Kahoot account. Iâll often find a game in Kahoot and then remove a few questions and add my own.
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ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is a collection of thousands of online, interactive maps representing all kinds of data. The contents of the collection range from relatively simple displays of historical map imagery to complex, displays of data updated nearly live. For example, this map displays active hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. Another good example is this map that displays current air quality conditions around the world.
All of the maps in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World include links to the sources of the data displayed, a description of the data, and an update date. Additionally, some maps include a glossary of terms and links to lessons for learning about mapping data with ArcGIS. For example, the air quality map mentioned above includes a link to this lesson plan about mapping data in realtime.
You can browse and search the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World according to content type, creation and update date, and regions of the world. Additionally, there is an option to limit research results to only content produced by ESRI (the makers of ArcGIS) and content that is labeled as “authoritative only.”
The ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World can be a great place to find examples of mapped data sets to use in your lessons. The real-time nature of many of the maps can be used to have students analyze and form predictions. Of course, it’s always helpful to have a resource that shows students where in the world the events and patterns they’re reading about are happening.
Here’s my video overview of The Living Atlas of the World.
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CleanUp.Pictures is a new online tool for quickly editing your pictures. With CleanUp.Pictures you can selectively remove objects and imperfections from your pictures. You can also use it to blur faces in your pictures. To use CleanUp.Pictures all that you need to do is go to the site, upload the picture you want to edit, then use the marker tool to select the objects and imperfections that you want to remove. Watch the short demo below to see how it works.
Applications for Education
CleanUp.Pictures could prove to be a handy tool for teachers or administrators who want to share pictures of school events, but want to make sure that faces of people who don’t want to be in public pictures are blurred. It’s also handy for removing other identifying information that might have been accidentally captured in a picture.
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Google installed a new policy Wednesday that will allow minors or their caregivers to request their images be removed from the company’s search results, saying that “kids and teens have to navigate some unique challenges online, especially when a picture of them is unexpectedly available on the internet.”
The policy follows up on Google’s announcement in August that it would take a number of steps aiming to protect minors’ privacy and their mental well-being, giving them more control over how they appear online.
You can fill out a form to ask that an image be removed
Google says the process for taking a minor’s image out of its search results starts with filling out a form that asks for the URL of the target image. The form also asks for the URL of the Google search page used to find the image, and the search terms that were used. The company will then evaluate the removal request.
While the request could wind up scrubbing problematic images from Google’s search tools, “It’s important to note that removing an image from Google results doesn’t remove it from the internet,” the company said as it announced the policy.
The changes come after Google and other tech companies have faced intense criticism for their policies toward children, who now live in the public eye more than any previous generation — facing the prospect of having any moment in their lives shared and preserved online, regardless of their own wishes.
The tool states that it is intended for cases in which the subject is under 18. Google says that if adults want material related to them to be removed, they should use a separate set of options.
Google has faced pressure to protect children and privacy
In 2019, allegations that Google’s YouTube subsidiary collected personal information from children without their parents’ knowledge or consent resulted in the company paying a $170 million settlement to state and federal regulators.
“Our children’s privacy law doesn’t allow companies to track kids across the internet and collect individual data on them without their parents’ consent,” then-FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra told NPR at the time. “And that’s exactly what YouTube did, and YouTube knew it was targeting children with some of these videos.”
When Google first announced the image-removal initiative in August, it also pledged to block ads that target people based on their age, gender or interests if they’re younger than 18. It also said its YouTube division would change the default privacy settings on video uploads to the tightest restrictions if they come from teens between 13 and 17 years old.
One of the biggest early adjustments for Google’s search tools stem from Europe, where a Spanish man’s case established the “right to be forgotten” in 2014. In the four years that followed, Google said, people made more than 650,000 requests to remove specific websites from its search results.
Editor’s note: Google and YouTube are among NPR’s financial sponsors.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
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Enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities is on track to fall by another nearly 500,000 undergraduate students this fall, continuing the historic drops that began with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data out Tuesday.
The decline of 3.2% in undergraduate enrollment this fall follows a similar drop of 3.4% the previous year, the first fall of the pandemic, according to the research from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
The numbers are from a preliminary data set representing 8.4 million undergrad and graduate students from about 50% of U.S. colleges. The numbers show there are now 240,000 fewer undergraduates enrolled this fall compared with the same time last year, and if that rate of decline holds up for the rest of the colleges, that could translate into almost a half-million fewer undergraduate students.
“It’s very frightening,” says Doug Shapiro, who runs the nonprofit research center. “Far from filling the hole of last year’s enrollment declines, we are still digging it deeper.”
If these preliminary numbers hold up, Shapiro says the last two years of undergrad decline, totaling more than 6%, would be the largest two-year decrease in at least half a century.
Overall, enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs has been trending downward since around 2012, but the pandemic turbocharged the declines at the undergrad level. When fewer students go to college, fewer students graduate, get job training and move on to higher-paying jobs, meaning all this could have huge ramifications for the U.S. economy.
“College is the best chance you have to get into well-paying jobs in this economy,” says Shapiro. “It’s not the only path, and it’s certainly not a guarantee, but it’s the best path we have right now. And so, if more students are thrown off that path, their families and communities suffer, and our economy suffers because businesses have fewer skilled workers to hire from.”
In previous recessions, college enrollments have followed a wavelike pattern: When the economy is doing poorly, enrollment, especially at community colleges, typically goes up. Students go to college when they can’t find work. But as the job market improves, they leave college and join the workforce.
“This time, that entire crest of that wave just didn’t happen — it got swallowed up by the pandemic,” explains Shapiro. “What we’ve seen instead is literally two troughs, one after the other. So there was no upside from the recession. We just got the downside from the recovery, as the labor market recovers and jobs are going back up.”
This fall, the drop in undergraduate enrollment is spread across all sectors, but numbers are worse at community colleges, public four-year colleges and private for-profits. While schools that are primarily online saw gains last year during the height of the pandemic, those positives turned to negatives this fall, with enrollment dropping by 5.4% for undergrad programs and 13.6% for graduate programs.
Community colleges, which often enroll more low-income students and students of color, have consistently been the hardest hit. The preliminary fall data show the decline this fall to be 5.6%. That’s not quite as steep as last year: In the fall of 2020, community college enrollment fell by roughly 10% nationally — a loss of over 544,200 students when compared with the fall of 2019. That sharp decline continued last spring.
The new figures confirm other signs that declines among undergraduates will continue — notably, the number of high school seniors who fill out the financial aid form known as the FAFSA. That figure for seniors who graduated in the spring of 2021 fell 4.8% compared with the class of 2020, which was itself down 3.7% from 2019.
“The FAFSA is one of the best indicators that we have about college-going,” explains Bill DeBaun, who works for the National College Attainment Network and tracks FAFSA completion. “To see it really go off the rails for two graduating classes, and not have a ton of confidence that it’s going to get back on track for the current one, you know, really, really does sound the alarm.”
Numbers from the organization’s FAFSA Tracker show that high-poverty schools, as well as those with large numbers of Black and Hispanic students, had a smaller percentage of students filling out the form than at wealthier schools with predominantly white enrollment.
The new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows enrollment among first-year students declined 3.1% this fall. Nationally, freshman enrollment fell most steeply among white students (8.6%) and Black students (7.5%).
At U.S. community colleges, the freshman class is now 20.8% below the number for the freshman class in 2019. “A lot of young people seem to be going to work instead of to college,” says Shapiro. The big question now, he adds, is “will those students ever get back onto the college path?”
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
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Google Earth has a lot of great little features that sometimes get overlooked. One of those features is the ability to share a specific location and view of that location. In fact, you can share a specific location and view directly into your Google Classroom. When you share it you can share it as an announcement or as an assignment.
In this short video I demonstrate how to share a specific Google Earth location and view in Google Classroom. The second half of the video demonstrates how to create an assignment based on the view that you’re sharing.
My self-paced course, A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies covers many more great ways to use Google Earth in your classroom.
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Library of Congress has started a new blog called Unfolding History. The blog is written by the staff of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The purpose is to highlight interesting manuscripts and their backstories or greater historical context.
The first Unfolding History blog post features a couple of 1972 documents from Nixon’s CREEP (Committee to Re-elect the President). In the blog post you can read the orginal documents (you can also download them for free) and learn a bit of the context of them. In this case we learn how the CREEP responded to Vice-Presidential candidate Sargent Shriver’s comments unfavorably likening President Nixon and his allies to a football team.
Reading the first entry in Unfolding History sent me down a rabbit hole of reading about some of the people mentioned in the manuscripts. It also got me thinking about how I might incorporate the manuscripts into a classroom discussion. In this case, there were two things that I’d focus on with my students. First, I’d ask them if the stereotype of the “big, dumb” football player would be employed in political campaigns today. Second, I’d have them look at the security notes on the second document and have them discuss how similar information is protected today (readers who are my age or older may notice the note about “no carbons” and have memories of using carbon paper they’ll have to explain to students).
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PhET is a service that provides free interactive math and science simulations covering topics in physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and mathematics. It has been popular with science and math teachers for many years. Recently, I learned that PhET has been developing some simulations that offer online accessibility features including alternative inputs for navigation and interactive descriptions.
There are only nineteen accessibility enabled PhET simulations available at the moment and they are all still prototypes. You can try them here.
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I'm a freelance journalist and creative writer who immensely enjoys writing and researching into any topic. I offer high quality content writing services. I've participated in a number of projects, and have experience writing for different platforms.