EP 178: SciShow - a Powerful Science Show for Kids

Science has a tendency to be viewed as complicated and erudite, a subject with so many different branches and intricacies that it can take years to study even one discipline. But that is often to do with how science taught, and it certainly doesn’t mean that non-scientists can’t learn about how the universe works — even kids are never too young to start learning about science when it’s explained in ways that they can understand. This is what inspired the launch of SciShow Kids, a YouTube channel that aims to provide scientific answers to common questions and topics “for young, curious minds.”

Hosted by Jessi and Squeaks, a robot rat, SciShow Kids releases videos every Tuesday and Thursday. They tackle seemingly perplexing topics and break them down into easily understandable explanations. The show often conducts experiments, hosts special guests, and highlights how science works in everyday settings such as kitchens and playgrounds.

With close to 200,000 subscribers, it’s safe to say that SciShow Kids has proven itself a successful endeavor and popular among kids everywhere by answering questions that kids ponder but never know the answer to. For example, recent uploads include “Why Does Ice Cream Hurt My Head?” and “Why Can’t I Eat Peanut Butter?” Many videos also focus on animals and other facts that especially kids, but even adults, find interesting.

The original SciShow channel was launched by Hank Green, known for his role as co-host of YouTube channel vlogbrothers alongside his brother and teen author John Green. SciShow publishes a new video every day, alternating hosts between Hank Green, Michael Aranda, Olivia Gordon, and Stefan Chin. This channel features information pertaining to every branch of science.

SciShow Kids is one of three branches of the original SciShow, which launched in 2012. Other variants include SciShow Space and SciShow Psych. The Space channel features videos about the universe and attempts to explain the mysteries of outer space in a way that makes sense to everyone, with content covering the beginning of the universe to modern developments in astronomy. SciShow Psych focuses on how the human brain works and the psychology behind decisions we make.

To learn more about SciShow Kids, listen to the full interview with the show’s producer, Sam Schultz, and check out the shows at the links below.

SciShow: https://www.youtube.com/scishow

SciShow Kids: https://www.youtube.com/user/scishowkids

SciShow Space: https://www.youtube.com/user/scishowspace

SciShow Psych: https://www.youtube.com/scishowpsych


EP 177: Chemistry Made Amazing with NileRed

Nigel Braun began posting his chemistry experiments to YouTube in 2014 under the name NileRed (after the lipophilic stain) with no intention of amassing such a large audience. But now, four years later, he has over 420,000 subscribers that tune in regularly to watch his latest experiment. The mission is to prove that science can be a topic as engaging and fascinating as any other — often even more so.

The channel currently features four playlists: extractions, odors, syntheses and demonstrations, and spontaneous combustion, although videos often don’t fall into those categories. The extractions playlist features videos on extracting certain substances from others; for example, extracting citric acid from lemons, caffeine from coffee, and starch from potatoes, as well as some slightly more offbeat extractions such as lidocaine from anal lubricant. The odors playlist is entirely about how to make certain odors like cadaverine and butyric acid, the smells of rotting flesh and vomit respectively. The combustions and syntheses playlists feature various chemical reactions and accompanying explanations.

Most of his videos have hundreds of thousands of views, but some have garnered well over a million. His most popular video to date, which shows how mercury and aluminum react to form a mercury alloy, has 7.4 million views. Other videos with more views include instructional videos on how to make chloroform and alcohol on your own, as well as other chemical reactions.

Nigel has also created a website and shop for his channel, where he has a blog that he shares information about his videos on. He finds materials such as glassware and chemicals from various sources and is careful to warn viewers that certain experiments should not be conducted without proper safety materials and safely procured chemicals.

To learn more about NileRed, listen to the full interview and check out the links below.

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/TheRedNile

Website: https://nile.red

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2448989

Instagram: http://instagram.com/nile.red

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NileRed2


EP 176: Udemy - the Largest Learning Platform on the Planet

As technology evolves, so does the way we use it in our own development. Udemy is one such company that’s taken advantage of the widespread availability of the Internet and brought education online through a global marketplace. Udemy offers anyone the chance to learn “any topic, anytime” through their online platform. Starting at $10.99, there are approximately 80,000 courses currently available on Udemy, ranging in subjects from languages to IT to personal development.

Founded by Eren Bali in Turkey, Udemy’s mission was to make education accessible. Bali was motivated by his own lack of education until he acquired a computer and was able to find resources from around the planet. Today, the company is well on its way to making high-quality education a staple for everyone, with offices in California, Turkey, Ireland, and Brazil.

While traditional academic topics such as math and history are what’s most common on similar platforms, at Udemy, these core topics are only a small fraction of the vast amount available, covering a broad range. Many classes focus on personal and internal success, such as meditation, stress management, relationships, and mental health. Still others are about physical success, with courses in dieting, first aid, dance, and nutrition. Entire sections are dedicated to professional and career skills, such as business, software, marketing, and design, and even more to creative skills, such as music and photography. Any subject that comes to mind is most likely available on Udemy.

Instructors create a course with the help of a community of other Udemy teachers and Udemy’s training and resources, and they are paid each time someone purchases it. At this time, Udemy boasts over 35,000 instructors for 24 million students, each with unique courses that reach a far broader audience than they otherwise could have.

Udemy also offers a learning solution for businesses to allow their employees to access top courses relating to employee skills and development. Companies currently utilizing Udemy for job training include Lyft, Volkswagen, and PayPal, among others.

In this interview, Shelley Osborne, Udemy’s Head of Learning and Development, discusses millennials in workplace and the untrue stereotype of millennials as lazy and entitled.

To learn more or sign up for your own class, check out the interview below with Shelley and visit their website at www.udemy.com


EP 175: Making Math Interactive at MoMath

In the early 2000s, the Goudreau Museum closed. It was a small math museum on Long Island, but it sparked an outrage among a small group of people who met up in 2008 to open a new math museum. Despite the need for effective math programming, there was no existing math museum in the United States.

Now, the National Museum of Mathematics, or the MoMath, aims to “enhance public understanding and perception or mathematics” through exhibitions and galleries that explain the role of mathematics in the things we see every day, with a particular focus on how art and math intersect.

MoMath is located in Manhattan, New York, and is open 364 days a year. It features programs and exhibits that strive to showcase math in a different light, in a way that is meant to spark enjoyment and interest in the subject.

Upcoming events include “Math Encounters,” an exhibit that explains the similarities between math and dance; “Escher,” a guided tour of an exhibit of works by artist M.C. Escher with Dave Masunaga; “Expressions,” a hackathon hosted by the museum; and “Math Walk in the Park,” a walk through Madison Square Park with Ron Lancaster, where he explains how math is present everywhere.

Other popular programs include the Derivatives tour and the Explorations program, which provides a hands-on experience in a classroom setting that allows families to explore math in a positive way. They have been visited by hundreds of thousands of people in the decade they’ve been open and have led programs and math tours in cities across the country.

One of their current exhibits is called “Reflections: Geometries of the Reflected World.” It focuses on how geometry is seen in the real world, showcasing art from artists Scott Kim and Michael Curry. The exhibit is largely interactive.

MoMath has also been honored with several awards for their work, including the 2016 Communications Award for Public Outreach, the Best Museum for Kids, the 2013 MUSE Award for Education and Outreach, and the Most Fascinating Museum in New York State.

To learn more about MoMath, visit their website at www.momath.org and listen to the full podcast interview with Executive Director Cindy Lawrence below.


EP 174: Teaching STEM Creatively at the Geek Group

The Geek Group’s primary goal is to provide people with easy access to an education based on science and technology, the chance to hone their skills and learn more about the world of STEM and programming, often in order to help them enter related fields. But the Geek Group’s programs, which are personalized based on the individual participant, are available to all ages and experience levels. They simply want to ensure that everyone who enters later emerges armed with new skills to help them achieve their own goals.

The Geek Group was born out of a goal to evaluate and service its participants’ needs on an individual level to ensure that everyone receives the education and skills that they require to find their own success. The law of large numbers guides this principle — whether Geek Group is helping someone learn to use a computer or offering months of work experience, in the end, the time and effort put into each case averages out. This way, they can help more people achieve their goals through flexible programs that cater directly to them.

 

The Geek Group focuses on “community, access, and enjoyment.” They aim to create a community of participants and volunteers that help people achieve their goals regardless of age or experience. And most importantly, they want their education to be fun, something more than just a path to a job — learning is “a life-long journey.”

 

The company also has a program called Open Doors for Teens, an education program for students that offers a full-time school as well as other types of programming, often used with home schooling. They also help provide computers and other types of modern essential technology to families who need it, based on the idea that “technology at home is mandatory” in today’s technologically driven society.

 

The Geek Group’s educators are primarily volunteers and experts in their fields, which allow the programs to be so successful. Industry professionals can choose how much time they wish to dedicate.

 

The Geek Group also runs a YouTube channel boasting nearly 100,000 subscribers. The channel features videos on a variety of topics including how toy manufacturers incorrectly represent dinosaurs and a popular playlist called “Equipment Autopsies.” The videos also aim to be educational, informative, and interesting, with different videos catering to audiences of all ages.

 

To learn more about Geek Group, check out their channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/thegeekgroup and their website at www.thegeekgroup.org. To hear the full interview with Executive Director Lis Bokt, listen to the full podcast below.


EP 173: New York Teacher Shares his Passion for Math Rap Education

Seven years ago, Mike Andrejkovics wrote the first rap he ever performed to his students. Since then, this has evolved into a long-standing tradition, where Mr. A writes a rap and performs an accompanying music video to the school where he teaches in Long Island, New York.

His raps are less about specific topics and more about his own appreciation for math. It began as a way to motivate his students to do the same and engage in math by writing music about it. Each year, a handful of his students write and perform their own music videos and song parodies.

His raps are often parodies of popular songs — for example, “The Real Math Students” in place of “The Real Slim Shady.” Other raps include “The Next Episode (Do Math Everyday),” “Learning Mathematics,” and “Math Workshop,” among others. He often performs his raps live at various conferences.

He also has a podcast on iTunes called “Mr. A’s Math Podcast,” which consists of videos that explain complicated math topics and is aimed at students.

To learn more about Mr. A, check out his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOIwfj9KJRGbIz5WQApS4fg and listen to the full podcast interview below.  


EP 172: Making Learning Dynamic, Collaborative, and Fun with Kahoot!

In 2013, a revolution in learning began. At the 3rd annual SXSWedu conference, a small audience was introduced to a way of learning that would eventually sweep the planet. An imaginative and creative platform was born, one that had been designed to allow students a plethora of ways to collaborate, learn, test, and understand concepts across the learning spectrum. This revolution in learning was called Kahoot!

Kahoot! had the potential to be massive from the get go, and has proved that it indeed contains the secret sauce for mass appeal and great success. In 2017, Kahoot reached over 1 billion participants, an incredibly massive milestone in the world of edtech.

Kahoot was founded by Johan Brand, Jamie Brooker, and Morten Versvik. This powerful triumvirate envisioned an online learning space where students could participate in the quiz and test making process. This ingenious spin on standard education has had a tremendous impact on learning standards worldwide. Students use the platform both as a way to refine understanding as well as prepare for in-class evaluations.

On this episode, I interview the CEO of Kahoot!, Asmund Furuseth. He shares with us the amazing journey of Kahoot! from inception to its overwhelming popularity today. He even discusses the exciting future for Kahoot, and most importantly, how it can be used effectively in all schools to further education. To learn more about Kahoot!, go to http://kahoot.com/. To listen to the full podcast episode, click below.


EP 171: Jay Foreman on Teaching through Comedy

Comedy and education don’t often mix, but when they do, it can make for some of the most effective learning. This is what Jay Foreman, a British singer-songwriter, set out to do with his work.

His YouTube channel features most of his songs and videos, which can focus on politics or infrastructure or random songs that he performs for kids. One of his more popular playlists is “Politics Unboringed,” where he explains a variety of topics such as the inner functions of British democracy, how to decide who to vote for in elections, and why in some cases, voting is not necessarily the best choice. “Unfinished London” is another playlist of four videos explaining how London was so poorly planned, from motorways to airports to the Northern line.

Now with over 280,000 subscribers, Jay regularly posts updates to his channel. His videos aim to be both comedic and informative, and this is especially true with his videos aimed at a younger audience. He went on a United Kingdom tour recently to showcase his “Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children.” Some popular songs are more comedic, such as “Caterpillar Sick,” a song that goes into some detail about a car running on just that. The album also features tracks such as “No More Colours?” and “Stealing Food.”

However, he also writes and performs songs not targeted at children. One of his videos, “Singing one Syllable Out-of-Sync,” attracted over four million views, where he did exactly what it sounds like — he sang a single syllable of a song in the wrong place.

Many of his videos cover informative topics, such as tactical voting and the India-Bangladesh border. But even these are presented in a way that’s comedic while still being informative, with Jay and a friend, dubbed the Map Men, explain the geography and politics behind it.

Jay’s career as a comedy singer includes four sold-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and various honors at musical comedy awards.

To learn more about Jay, check out his channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/jayforeman51/ and listen to the full podcast interview below.


EP 170: Connecting Students with Tutors via Tutor Ocean

The struggle of finding a competent tutor for their children is one that is all too familiar to parents — sorting through slews of tutor listings that often don’t work out. TutorOcean is a company that aims to make that process easier by providing a network of tutors in every subject imaginable so that students can find a tutor that works to their individual needs.

The company was founded by Will Li, who transitioned from a full time acrobatics academy to a regular school at age 13 with the help of tutoring. His own experience with talented tutors made him pursue a similar career in college, where he realized how difficult it can be to find an effective tutor. This prompted him to found TutorOcean, where students and tutors can connect easily and form meaningful relationships.

TutorOcean offers tutoring appointments both online and in person. The virtual sessions are available on-demand from a pool of experts worldwide, with sessions featuring an interactive whiteboard, video chat, and the ability to record sessions so students can go back and re-learn any content they continue to struggle with. The in-person sessions are set up in advance and allow for easier communication and hands-on practice with any subject matter.

The company has tutors across the globe and from multiple universities, from Calgary to London and everywhere in between. They become tutors by signing up on the website and filling out their education and work experience, at which point the profiles are reviewed by TutorOcean and approved for service. The rates vary for each tutor. These tutors specialize in subjects ranging from accounting to MCAT prep to Chinese, meaning TutorOcean is a service for elementary school kids and medical students alike.

To learn more about TutorOcean, visit their website at www.tutorocean.com and listen to the full podcast interview with Joanna Huang below.


EP 169: Coding Made fun with Emojis

Coding can be viewed as esoteric, confusing, and definitely not for kids. But with Codemoji, this generally accepted view of computer science as complicated and dense is entirely upended. Their goal is to teach kids how to code from as young as first grade to create a properly educated generation armed with a skill set that will only benefit them in an increasingly technological world.

Part of the problem with teaching coding is that there is no room for error; even the slightest syntax mistake such as a comma instead of a semicolon will cause the entire code to malfunction. But Codemoji’s goal is to eliminate that hurdle so that syntax isn’t stopping kids from learning to code.

The curriculum aims to teach students from first to eighth grade the basics of coding in several different languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. This also includes web development to allow kids to design their own websites and animations using the coding skills that they have learned. The platform is adaptive and challenging, allowing each student to go through lessons at their own pace and only move on once they truly understand the skills they are learning.

By teaching how to code from a young age, students are much more well-equipped to enter a workforce in a world which is largely based on computers. This is especially true when they’re actually learning and absorbing the content, which Codemoji ensures by making their curriculum entertaining with a special focus on applying the concepts creatively.

Enthusiasm is key to comprehension, especially at such a young age and with such a notoriously difficult subject. Codemoji allows kids to “learn, code, and build” creatively from the beginning, developing a love for computer science among the next generation to work in that field.

To learn more about Codemoji, we spoke to co-founder Livio Bolzon. To listen to the interview yourself, check out the podcast below and visit Codemoji’s website at www.codemoji.com