The New and Improved DIY Podcast Site

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Did you resolve to make 2014-2015 the school year to incorporate technology into your classroom? If so, we are here to help — with the redesigned Do-It-Yourself Podcast site. It has a new look, improved navigation and added features that make it more convenient to use. And, on the home page, a two-minute video gives educational and motivational reasons to create multimedia products with the DIY Podcast resources.

Screen grab from the DIY Podcast home page The left side of the page has a new navigation menu that includes links to two new pages within the site: Topics, and Help and Support.

Since the video and audio resources are divided into topical modules, the new Topics page lists, describes, and summarizes the content of each module. Another new feature for our site is the STEM disciplines key found on the Topics page. By each module description, an S, a T, or an E signifies whether the module supports science, technology or engineering curriculum. (Math is, of course, “hidden” in all three.)

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How’s the Challenge?

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Have you begun the Exploration Design Challenge? It’s not too late. The challenge asks students to research and design ways to protect astronauts from space radiation and then recommend their solutions to NASA. Participants will have their names flown on the test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. This challenge is a real-world application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

The challenge features grade-level appropriate activities to students in grades K-12. A new button has been added to the challenge site — “Individuals or Groups”. Now families, clubs and organizations may submit entries as well.

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Watch videos related to the Exploration Design Challenge, the effects of radiation on humans, and the Orion spacecraft.

If you have not begun the challenge, download the “Challenge Checklist” to lead you through the process. Read our previous blog posts about the Exploration Design Challenge. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to involve students in a real-world STEM, opportunity.

This post is part of a series about the NASA Exploration Design Challenge.

NASA Exploration Design Challenge

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A New Year, A New Challenge and Free Training

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It’s that time of year again! Many of you have or will soon begin a new school year. Maybe you’ve decided that this year you’re going to do something exciting, something you have never done before with you students. Consider participating in the Exploration Design Challenge. Students around the world are proposing solutions for astronauts who will be exposed to radiation on long-duration missions. This challenge is for students in grades K-12.

If you’ve never participated in a NASA challenge, it may seem intimidating. NASA has a solution to help alleviate your fears. The Aerospace Education Exploration Design Challenge logoServices Project is offering three different webinars on the engineering design process.

On Aug. 26 and Sept. 9, you can participate in the online seminar “The Engineering Design Process: Part 1– Ask, Imagine, Plan.” According to the AESP site, participants learn about problem identification, brainstorming and design challenges using the “Spaghetti Anyone?” tower building activity.

On Aug. 29, “Part 2 — Create, Experiment, Improve” will be offered. In this hands-on webinar, you will learn about the build, test and evaluate, redesign, and share-the-solution steps of the engineering design process.

On Sept. 23, you will learn how to modify your lessons to teach the engineering process in the session entitled “Applying the Engineering Design Process to STEM Content.”

AESP education specialists facilitate these free NASA webinars. You will not need any special software or equipment to participate. Simply go to the meeting room website listed on the AESP Webinar site to participate. To join the challenge, go to the EDC website and register your students for the Exploration Design Challenge. Participating students and their sponsors will become a part of history as their names are sent on the test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

This is your opportunity to join in making history!

This post is part of a series about the NASA Exploration Design Challenge.

NASA Exploration Design Challenge

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Summer Renovations

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Around the house and the school building, summer is a good time to renew and renovate. By coincidence, the NASA website is undergoing renovations too. You may have seen What the Heck Happened to NASA.gov? But you may have arrived at the NASA site a different way and missed the announcement about the site changes. The NASA website contains a massive amount of information, so updating all the pages is no small task. As with all large-scale renovations, this one will take time to complete.

So how do the renovations affect the DIY Podcast site?

First, the URL for the blog post has changed. If you subscribed to the RSS feed via bookmarks, you’ve noticed that the old posts have disappeared. But now, of course, you’ve found us again!

One of the many changes is that NASA has moved all their videos to YouTube. We realize that the move has a major impact on our audience. Using YouTube is a great way for more people to see our clips. Unfortunately, it also means that at this time you will not be able to download videos from the most recent modules. Rest assured we are working on a solution, and we’ll keep you updated on our progress!

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Top 10 Reasons to Participate in the EDC

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What’s one of the most exciting things going on this year with NASA Education? The answer is the NASA Exploration Design Challenge! If you haven’t heard the news, the challenge asks students to think of a solution for protecting astronauts from radiation.

In my opinion, this is a cool, relevant way to involve teams of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Why should you consider participating with your class, homeschool, troop or club? Here are my top reasons.

The Top 10 Reasons for Students to Participate in EDC:

10. It’s free!

9. Students will think like scientists and solve problems like engineers in this real-world STEM problem.

8. Teams will join an activity in which students from more than 30 countries are participating.

7. Resources include standards-based activities, background information, safety procedures and videos for students in K-12.

6. Looking for answers to a real-world problem can be a powerful learning experience.

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Why Should Students Get Involved With the NASA Exploration Design Challenge? Kelvin Kirby explains. Kirby is deputy director for the Center for Radiation Engineering and Science for Space Exploration at Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

5. Students learn about Orion, NASA’s next spacecraft for human explorers.

4. Team members and their sponsors will be a part of history as their names will be stored in the Smithsonian Institute as Orion’s virtual crew.

3. EDC motivates students toward STEM careers they may not have considered.

2. Winning high school teams will be invited to the inaugural launch of Orion.

1. Participants will serve as honorary, virtual crew members for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1!

The challenge has already begun. But it’s not too late to … Plan to kick off your 2013-2014 school year in an exciting way by involving your students. High school students must submit their solutions by Jan. 14, 2014. All others must register for the virtual crew by March 14, 2014.

This post is part of a series about the NASA Exploration Design Challenge.

NASA Exploration Design Challenge

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NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge

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NASA Education has hundreds of lesson plans and classroom activities that enhance the practical application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. These lessons can be used at anytime. But on occasion, NASA Education offers special opportunities that involve your students in NASA’s mission.

The newest opportunity is the Exploration Design Challenge. Students around the world from grades K-12 are invited to research and design ways to protect astronauts from space radiation. After students complete the activities, their teacher registers the students on the Exploration Design Challenge site and downloads their certificates of participation.

Students who participate will have their names flown on the test flight of the new Orion spacecraft next year.

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NASA’s associate administrator for education Leland Melvin invites students
to participate in the NASA Exploration Design Challenge.


If you have never been involved in a NASA challenge before, the EDC is a good place to start. You may have time this summer to plan and prepare for participation in the 2013-2014 school year. The EDC site has videos, downloadable guides with background information, safety procedures and data collection charts.
Join teachers and students from more than 30 countries in the Exploration Design Challenge.
This post is part of a series about the NASA Exploration Design Challenge.

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School’s Out for … Professional Development

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How often has someone who is not an educator told you, “I wish I were a teacher so I could have summers off”? Who has summers off?! As a teacher, I usually taught summer school, took classes or participated in professional Screengrab from Building a Video Podcastdevelopment. Then I would plan for the upcoming year. Summers off? Probably not.                 

As you’re planning your summer, consider learning how to create a podcast with students. The Do-It-Yourself Podcast tutorial videos allow for on-demand professional development. Watch the videos when you have time. Follow the steps to create an audio or video file. Pause, rewind, and replay the video at your own pace to follow along.

Happy summer! I hope you do have time to relax and enjoy it!

DIY Podcast Tutorial

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Learn How to Make Podcasts!

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I’m excited to introduce the DIY Podcast Tutorials!

After months of work, we are proud to roll out a series of videos to assist you with using the DIY Podcast site.

Screenshot from the DIY Podcast Tutorial video

The series consists of six videos that begin with answering the question “What is a podcast?” and end with demonstrating how to make audio and video podcast files with the DIY Podcast resources.

Watch the processes of creating podcast files and start using technology in the classroom.

DIY Podcast Tutorial

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What's With the Green Screen?

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Maybe you’ve wondered why many of the experts in our videos have a green background. Its purpose is to allow your students to add a “special effect” by inserting an image or video. This technique is used to do weather forecasts on the news and to create special effects in feature films.

The green screen effect is not just for the pros at the networks or in the film industry — it’s for you and your students too. Check your video editing software to find how to do it. Some editing software comes with a green screen tool. Others require a plug-in application.

Below are two examples of adding a photo background and a video background to a green screen interview. I am using clips and images from different modules. (Why not mix them when you can?) The clip is from the Colonel Mike Fincke video in the Exploration Careers module. YouTube Preview Image

The background image is from the Micro-g image gallery in the Fun in Microgravity site. YouTube Preview Image

The video background is from the Space Station video clips gallery. YouTube Preview Image

Just creating a podcast or video offers the opportunity to be creative, but students can be even more creative by adding special effects to their video podcast.

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NASA’s Digital Learning Network and Careers in STEM

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Career planning can be fun for students. They can dream about their futures as they create a multimedia project with the Exploration Careers module. The experts featured in the clips tell interesting stories about their careers at NASA. But with NASA’s Digital Learning Network™, students can speak with NASA experts via a videoconference.  

“NASA Careers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics)” is a DLN event that covers the following topics:

•    The many careers at NASA.
•    The difference between a job and a career.
•    What does an engineer do?
•    NASA scientist.
•    NASA astronaut.
•    Working for NASA.
•    What does NASA look for in its workforce?

The event has pre- and post-conference activities to prepare for and follow up after the event. Schedule a DLN event now.

Digital Learning Network: NASA Careers in STEM

DIY Podcast: Exploration Careers

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