Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snag-It for Chrome & Google Drive

This is pretty cool.  I have used Snag-it at school for years, but it is almost a pain as I have to go find it most of the time on my tools and I much prefer to have apps added to Chrome.  Well now I am all set as Snag-it has a Chrome add on that adds each item into your Google Drive account.  It lets you take the entire screen, parts of it and even movies and then annotate them.  Above is a video explaining how to use it. To found about it from TechSmith on Twitter

Why are Gas Prices Down?

Here are here are two economics explanations for the decrease in gas this year.  Reason #1 is that US consumption has declined every year since 2007 2) usage always declines in the fall 3) the Middle East is perceived as more stable 4) OPEC is unwilling to reign in production even with plunging world needs 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Economists' Top 2014 Videos

So the Economist is counting down its 2014 top videos which you can see on Twitter.  The top one above is the 7th most popular and basically says you have 30% less of a chance of getting a job you want if you have a visible tattoo.  The one below show the top GDPs for empires/countries in the last 2000 years.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Every Term in a 2 Minute Video and Written Explanation

If you were to come to my classroom, you would see my kids hard at work on their smart devices as those allow them to quickly look at their video notes (on Google Drive) as well as look for alternative explanations.  One site I have been using all fall is Investopedia.  Not only does it have most of our terms, but it also has a short explanation as well as a short video.

For example, here is what it has on perfect competition.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Free Online Micro/Macro Book

I am contemplating not using a physical textbook in AP economics next year as my students have been watching our daily videos and where they are lacking I have been adding supplemental material not to mention my students get out their smartphones in class and use them constantly when they are working on their problem sets.  For that, they both use their notes, which are in Google Drive, and whatever they can find on the Internet be it websites or videos.

But I just received an email from Matt Stefans who told me about OpenStax which has a complete book on economics.  At first glance it looks pretty good as it seems to cover all of the topics, has great graphics and a bunch of questions in each chapter.  It also has a table of contents which you can use to quickly get around the book as well as a search engine to bring you right to your topic.

So now you know what I will be doing in June which is to go through this textbook and see if it covers all the topics necessary as well as if one can find topics quickly enough.  So you know you can get the book as a downloadable pdf as well as see it as a html page which is what I have linked above. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ancillaries for the Krughman Book

Thanks to Chris Beales who teaches economics in Egypt.  We "met" on the AP Economics page on Facebook and are collaborating on some review assignments.  But he also told me about Krughman's review materials that are online and can be found here.  They include teacher resources (if you join for free and that only takes 48 hours to get approval) as well as self quizzes and flash cards.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Falling Ruble, Part II

Here is another post on the problems in Russia.  This NYTimes piece has some great graphics on the falling Ruble, falling oil prices and how this impacts (negatively) the yields on US Treasury bonds.

Items that you might be teaching in macro include
  • interest rates
  • Treasury bonds
  • tighter money supply
  • inflation

Learning Pod Needs Test Question Writers

Learning Pod has a tremendous number of resources including AP practice questions for your students.  But they are also a way for you to make extra money.  So if you go here you can apply to write questions for the AP content areas for social studies.  If you want to go to their site and see their resources, go here

Macroeconomics and Russia's Economy

Russia is suffering greatly, in part, due to the falling oil prices as the Ruble's value has been dropping precipitously.  Fifty percent of Russia's government's revenue comes from oil.  Above you can listen to the first two minutes of the talk from the Economist and here is a great article from the NYTimes which looks at several things taught in macroeconomics including selling of government assets abroad and raising the interest rate.   This is an article that I can use for both my economics' classes as well as comparative government. 

Monday, December 15, 2014 for Flipped Video Notetaking

Normally I ask my students to split their screen, but this relatively (it came out last April) new app called that does that for you, putting the video on the left and the notes on the right.  It is then synced with Google Drive so it automatically (if you approve it to do so) puts the notes in your Google  Drive folder.  You will also note that whenever you begin taking notes, it shows where you are in the video and if you click on that line of  the notes, it will take you back to the relevant place in the video.  

It is also available for Google Apps so your students can get it in the free or paid Google Drive.

Above is a video showing you how to use it.

WeVideo for your Video Creations

My daughter is working with a friend of a class video for tomorrow. They took their video clips using my wife's smartphone and then uploaded them onto WeVideo and very easily combined their clips into one video. You can add music, words, images, fade in/out, cut items out, etc. It also is an app in Google Drive so you can then upload it straight into your account (to add it to Google Drive, go to "more" under docs, presentation, etc. and then it will always be on your drop down for programs with Google Drive.

Join Me in Spain for an In-Service

This July 12-13 I am teaching a two day institute on the Mediterranean Sea coat near Marbella in Spain (very near Gibraltar).  The course will be two full days in which where we will be designing lesson plans to personalize learning for your students.  This means we will learn how to create a flipped video and what to do in the classroom once that is done including giving immediate feedback as well as giving formative evaluations.  Finally we will expand your own school PLC to one online so that you can follow-up the session with more collaboration and ideas well after the institute is over.  If you are interested, please go here to sign up for the course.  There is a considerable discount if you sign up by the middle of February.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Education Week Post

Way back in August Larry Ferlazzo asked me to respond to one of his reader's queries which was posted today.  The post looks at "interactives"  which allow students to work in class on "problem sets" where the teacher can walk around the room and act as a facilitator rather than as a passive lecturer.   Interactives are which are explored in my upcoming book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  The quote above is from the article but it really comes from a wonderful woman who taught my methods class back when I was learning to be a teacher.  While I have long since lost forgotten her name, the charge she gave us to keep up with student learning as it has evolved as not been forgotten by me in the twenty-five years since she said it to me.  

Mastery Learning Discussion and Examples

I believe watching my own children grow has helped to make me a better teacher.  For example my son is a very good gamer, but he is also very good at failing.  By that I mean he is willing to fail as many times as it takes to master a game which leads to his mastering the material and then moving on to another one.  It strikes me that I need to emulate my son's learning with all of my classes.  By that I mean I have mostly flipped my classes and so have much more time to move around the classroom helping my students.  While we are on a unit I also allow students to correct work again and again and consequently have no late grades and have mostly moved beyond a textbook in three of my four content classes and have set up an individualized learning model (see my book about this).  So it strikes me that I need to fully move to a standards based learning model as the last part of my educational evolution.  So in that move, you are going to see lots of videos and examples of mastery learning as I teach myself and fumble through this process.

So above my musings is a video overview of how mastery learning works in any classroom.  It is a great overview to explain the process and even does something no one has ever done for me which is to define mastery learning.  Below this writing is a video my fellow blogger, Frank Franz, made for his back to school flip parent video.  Watch it closely as it has not only an explanation of flipped learning (which really is the bedrock of mastery learning), but also how he carries out mastery learning, both in terms of objectives, daily learning, grading and, finally showing mastery.  The key, as I am learning, is that if the child is motivated, he/she can redo anything and potentially show better mastery.  But this means that the child might have additional (to the videos) learning and therefore need more motivation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ATC and Airlines

This is an interesting article I am sharing with my students (and then making them draw a diagram) that tells how the (variable) cost of fuel has gone down greatly and that because of this the airlines expect to see record increases in profit.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Game Theory in NY Schools

One thing I like to do is to connect what we are studying to the real world.  So that is why this article from the NYTimes is so great as it deftly explains game theory and matching students to select schools in the NY public schools.  The first year, for example, it was used in 2004, the number of unmatched students went from 31,000 to 3000.   The school system used several well known economists including a Nobel Prize winner to do the trick and created an algorithm to help. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014


There are no end of examples of externalities.  For example when one builds a home, there are costs incurred on society such as schools, police, roads, etc. that are not completely (actually only minimally) by the developers.  But on the flip side having a snow blower in the winter has positive externalities (assuming the owner loans it to the neighbors).  Above is the best video I can find find explaining externalities.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Real Life Example of Monopsomy

There has only been one FRQ question on monopsony which was back in 1999, but that just makes it ripe for another appearance on the AP exam again.  Above is how Amazon might be considered one since it is the major (monopsony is the only one and generally it is for labor) buyer of books and, perhaps, soon other things.

Below is an AC/DC video on what it is.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google Classroom

If you have your students work in Google Drive, a new way to do it is through Google Classroom.  It allows you to see who has turned in what and when.  You do have to have a Google Apps for Education account as do your students.  The key to the video above is that you can see both the teacher and the students accounts side by side above. 

Gini Coefficient and the Lorenz Curve

My students are going over the Lorenz Curve and the Gini coefficient on Friday and using the video above.  An alternative is this one.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Zaption to Personaliza Your Flipped Videos

Thanks to Scott Nichols for this tip.  Zaption allows you to take any YouTube or Vimeo video, edit them, add questions, text and images and then share it with your students using a url.  It is also free! Below is a video explaining how to do it. 

#APEconomcs Hashtag

A hashtag is a place on Twitter where people go to discuss items and receive information.  If you go to the search engine and type in "#APEconomics" you will find another place where you can ask questions and get answers - much as you would on the AP Economics' page in Facebook.  Just keep your comments to 140 characters.  

Facebook AP Econ Page

There is a growing community amongst AP Economics' teachers on Facebook.  If you search for "AP Economics Teacher" you will find our page.  A lot of newer teachers have been asking questions and a lot of veterans are responding with assignments, links, videos. etc.  Right now we are 155 members and growing. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monopoly, Monopolistic and Perfect Competition

Wow this is a great video from Welker's economics.  It shows side by side diagrams of perfect competition, monopolistic competition and monopoly.  It also very nicely explains productive and allocative efficiency.   Start at 3:30 and to through 10:30 to get the main facts.