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Today’s Links

Star Wars Day 2022

It’s May 4th which, of course, means that it’s Star Wars day. Amongst all the celebrations today across the realm (including a new trailer for the upcoming Kenobi series), here are some teaching ideas for those of you celebrating in your classrooms:

Create a Star Wars Adventure in Scratch
Get your students excited about coding with this step-by-step video guide to creating a digital Star Wars adventure in Scratch, the free online coding platform. 

Star Wars Crawl Creator
In this lighthearted look at the iconic Star Wars crawling-text introduction, users simply edit the text to create their own reimagining. Ideal for storytelling and movie-making lessons—in addition to fun—at the end of the school year.  

Artificial Intelligence | Science And Star Wars
A fascinating examination into how artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing science fiction closer to science fact.  Anthony Daniels, the actor who played C-3PO in 10 Star Wars films, joins Watson the supercomputer and IBM scientists in exploring the state of AI today. 

NASA STEM Education Resources
Transform your students’ Star Wars enthusiasm into genuine learning with this extensive collection of STEM teaching resources for K-12 and beyond. Included are lesson plans, educator guides, interactive multimedia learning modules, contests, challenges, and much more. Searchable by grade level, subject, and type of activity. 

Explore great ideas for using Star Wars themes to teach music, social studies, English, science, math, and more in May the 4th Be With You: Real-World Connections in the Classroom and Beyond.

Star Wars Online Games
Over fifty high-quality browser-based digital games with Star Wars themes ranging from lightsaber battles to clone wars. Reward your students for their hard work by assigning some enjoyable gameplay. 

Not So Far, Far Away  
A lesson about latitude and longitude based on Star Wars fictional planetary locations and their Earthly analogs. Students learn how filmmakers used various extreme Earth landscapes as the basis for other-worldly Star Wars scenes, then map the latitude and longitude of the real-world locations. Includes follow-up questions.   

We can find a wealth of Star Wars STEM activities on Star Wars STEM Activities for May the 4th Be With You Science, from creating colorful lightsaber greeting cards to building robots from junk. They align many of these super resources with the Next Generation Science Standards. 

Take a deep dive into multiple subject areas using Star Wars as the learning lens. Social studies, robotics, ELL, STEM topics, and even global citizenship will engage kids like never before when their favorite Star Wars characters, moments, and lines form the basis for each lesson. 

Teaching With Star Wars: The true lessons to be learned from Star Wars aren’t about advanced technology. Instead, they’re about navigating life, whether in a galaxy far, far away, or right here on Earth. Star Wars expert and educator Dan Zehr’s terrific series of articles examine ideas such as commitment, learning from failure, and leadership in the context of Star Wars and the classroom. 

TED Lesson Plan: The Birth of the Lightsaber is a great video-based lesson that guides learners to think about the luminous lightsaber in terms of cinematic design effects and physics. 

The Mathematic Shed blog features Star Wars flashcards, geometry questions based on Star Wars characters and spacecraft, and, impressively, a Darth Vader blueprint lesson. 

From the amazing Code.org folks, this Star-Wars-themed coding a galaxy activity includes everything kids and teachers need to start block-based and JavaScript coding.  

What is Starwarigami? Explore software engineer Martin Hunt’s extensive collection of Star Wars-themed origami plans; it’s a wonderful way to get kids excited about making art. 

Teaching ‘Star Wars’ With The New York Times: The Times takes Star Wars lessons to a level above Cloud City with its Shakespeare, history, physics, science, math, and yes, economics, Star Wars-themed lessons. An exceptionally strong resource, especially for middle schoolers and above.     

Try this Yoda speak translator just for fun. Even better, use it as the foundation for an English grammar lesson.  The Yoda translator API allows users to integrate the Yoda speak translator right into their website or application for computer science classes and advanced students.  

Proctoring Software is Awful, and We Should Stop Using It

While the use of proctoring software isn’t something new, the growth in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic brought many of the issues with this glorified spyware to light.

Recently, a University of Kentucky professor shared this TikTok with some thoughts on proctoring software…

@jofrhwld

#stitch with @corneliaavenue it’s fucked up cop shit!

♬ original sound – Josef Fruehwald

The video went viral and inspired a Twitter thread with replies from all over:

The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to education; some good and some bad. Some are just plain awful.

Proctoring software is awful. But, it makes money. Gobs of money, much like any other product that promises to reduce or stop cheating and monitor students and whatever they do online.

As schools moved to remote testing environments, the usage of proctoring software (designed to prevent students from cheating) expanded. Valued at $354 million just three years ago, the online proctoring market will grow to over $1.2 billion by 2027.

https://www.theinsightpartners.com/reports/online-exam-proctoring-market

Using proctoring software is annoying at best and highly invasive at worst. Many companies use AI to run the software and have flagged students for head movements or flagged the student because the software couldn’t detect the face of students with color.

Let’s not talk about the proctoring companies who use people to watch students as they take a test. How would you feel if a complete stranger watched you in your home as you worked?

What does the use of this software convey to students? Simple: we don’t trust you.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/11/12/test-monitoring-student-revolt/

When will this nonsense stop?

When we stop using standardized tests as any sort of measure of student achievement and learning.

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