Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Olympics In The Classroom - Videos And Motion Graphics

Source: NBC Learn
We are huge fans of the Olympics. We are actively counting down the days to the first Sochi events on February 6, 2014, and the opening ceremonies on February 7, 2014. We recently asked our students if it was appropriate to discuss the Winter Games in the classroom. They replied with a resounding, "Yes!" They immediately launched into a lively argument, pointing out the crosscurrents of geography, culture, sport, history, science, mathematics, media, finance, and current events.

Faced with such a convincing chorus, we began a daily "Olympic Moment" to open each day's lesson and to highlight a unique aspect of the Games' social impact. Some of our favorite teaching points are featured in these helpful posts:
Source: YouTube
A reliable first source for classroom videos is the The Olympic Channel on YouTube, which each day broadcasts a different marquee moment from the pantheon of historic feats. In companion with these official updates are the terrific resources from NBC Learn.

As the official partner of the Games, NBC has amassed a library of valuable tools and videos to bring the contests to life. We are personally fortunate to know some of the leaders behind the NBC Learn site, and we can attest to the integrity and educational values that are applied to each film and to each learning resource. It is a teacher-friendly database of creative exploration.

Source: NBC Learn
Our current favorite module of the NBC Learn universe is the series on the "Science And Engineering Of The 2014 Olympic Winter Games." This rigorous, investigative collection of videos, hosted in conjunction with Science 360, offers a data-driven companion to in-class learning. Particularly relevant to STEM curricula, these films layer informational graphics on top of athlete clips to illuminate the physics and kinesthetics beneath the movements.

Our students' favorite was the video on "Figure Skating Physics." This motion graphic superimposes the arcs of axles and the tempos of toe-loops on top of real-time footage of champion skaters.

Another favorite was the intriguing clip on "Olympic Movement And Robotic Design." This video reveals the learning capacity of airborne robots to work in collaboration and to navigate obstacles, all in mimicry of Olympic athletes. Aside from its sportive value, this film points to the future of multidimensional, self-instructive artificial intelligence.

If you are interested in exploring the Olympics in your classroom, NBC Learn is hosting a Google+ Connected Classrooms Hangout about the "The Science Of Snow" on Thursday, January 30, from 3:00 - 3:00 p.m. EST. This social engagement will be led by Dr. Sarah Konrad, a former Winter Olympian and current professor at the University of Wyoming.

In other video news, if you haven't yet seen Proctor & Gamble's advertising series on the benefits of failure and the love of families, you are in for a real treat. Check out "P&G Thank You, Mom | Pick Them Back Up | Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games" for an emotional, inspiring look at what it takes to be a champion. All Olympians take comfort and support in the years of sacrifice from parents and loved ones. This video reminds us what winning, losing, and loving are all about.


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