The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 15

The Scout Report -- Volume 27, Number 15
April 16, 2021
Volume 27, Number 15

General Interest

Theme: Environmental Studies

Tech Tools

Revisited

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General Interest

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Mary Church Terrell and Her Quest for Social Justice: A Curriculum Adaptable for K-12
Social studies

Douglass Day, in honor of Frederick Douglass, is a celebration rooted in "radical love for Black history." Douglass was an influential abolitionist and activist, and he was also a mentor to Mary Church Terrell. Like Douglass, Terrell dedicated her life to activism, fighting for suffrage and equal rights. This "Mary Church Terrell Unit Plan" engages learners in an interactive study of her work. Through this curriculum, "Students don't just listen to other people talk about Black history. They can help create it!" Available for download as a PDF or Word document, the resource includes everything educators need: introductory context (including Terrell's biography), a list of learning objectives and aligned Common Core State Standards, six lesson plans, and external resources. The unit explores equity, health, civil rights, organizing, and much more, and is designed for K-12 classrooms (with some adaptations based on age level). Educators should also pay attention to the trauma warnings included throughout and adapt the curriculum as necessary. This curriculum was written by Denise G. Burgher and Nakisha Whittington, with input from Brandi Locke, Anna Lacy, Janelle Moore-Almond, and datejie green. For additional Douglass Day content, navigate to the Home page of the site. Here, readers will find a link to a recording of this year's celebration and events. [EMB]

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Color Oracle
Science

Color Oracle is an easy-to-use app that ensures a user's content is accessible to individuals with color vision impairments. In other words, the app assists creators in making "graphical work [that] is readable by the widest possible audience." The free simulator is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux. The Usage tab demonstrates how the simulator works. First, a user's art is converted into a palette. Then, the platform administers a "full screen color filter," to the designer's palette (separate from the software used). Finally, users can toggle between the included forms of color vision impairments to visualize what the palette looks like to other viewers. This allows creators to adjust their palette to ensure it is accessible and aesthetically pleasing to anyone who encounters the work. The Manual tab provides simple instructions for each operating system. For additional resources on accessible design, check out the Design Tips and Links sections. [EMB]

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Ever Educating
Educational Technology

Plenty of education and pedagogy resources exist, but Ever Educating stands out because it is designed for a niche audience: graduate students who are performing teaching duties, perhaps with limited training. Of course, the channel is a wonderful resource for other educators, too (especially those in higher education). Erika Romero, an English Studies PhD candidate and adjunct professor, runs the YouTube channel. Romero launched Ever Educating in 2019 as a way to share teaching tips and ideas with a broader audience. Like many education resources, Romero's recent content focuses on online teaching and virtual learning. For example, readers will find a playlist about synchronous hybrid teaching and a playlist on creating recorded lectures. Other videos discuss all aspects of teaching, from beginning (e.g., icebreaker activities and syllabus design) to end (e.g., grading and evaluations). Videos range in length, though most are less than 20 minutes long, and are frequently uploaded, with two new videos added most weeks. For additional content from Romero, follow @EverEducating on social media or check out the blog, linked on the About page. [EMB]

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RAWGraphs
Arts

Bridging the gap between data and design, RAWGraphs is a must-see for data visualization fans. Publicly launched in 2013 by the DensityDesign Research Lab (Politecnico di Milano), the tool provides an easy platform to input data and output impressive and easy-to-follow visual models. The main page of the RAWGraphs site outlines the basic steps for users, though before starting a new project, users may want to explore the Galley tab for inspiration. Once users are ready to dive in, the mint green "Use it now!" button navigates to the app itself. In addition to the app itself, the platform stands out for its exceptional user guide. Found under the Learning tab, readers have access to step-by-step instructions on creating several different types of charts, as well as general tips for data analysis. Users can also view the app's documentation on GitHub. RAWGraphs continues to be supported by DensityDesign, as well as Inmagik and Calibro. All three are Italy-based design, data, and development organizations. RAWGraphics remains open-source with financial contributions from companies, organizations, and individual donors. [EMB]

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From Nothing to Something
Arts

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) uplifts and preserves "the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack," through exhibitions and educational materials. From Nothing to Something fulfills part of NMAAM's educational mission. While the complete curriculum covers several instruments, the online version (courtesy of the online learning platform QuaverEd) focuses on the banjo and spoons. The history, traditions, and influence of both instruments are divided between three lesson plans (with six units available in total). These lessons are highly interactive, inviting learners to click through each portal and discover embedded videos, response questions, activities, and more along the way. In addition to being a great fit for classroom settings, caregivers may also value the portal, as in many ways it resembles online games or virtual reality tools, while also immersing users in an important history. Readers will want to click the Menu icon in the top right corner to find printable materials that accompany the online components, as well as brief instructions for navigating the platform. [EMB]

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Theme: Environmental Studies

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Cherokee Garden Library Collection Highlight
Science

Founded in 1975, the Cherokee Garden Library gets its name from the state floral emblem of Georgia, the Cherokee rose. The Cherokee Garden Club of Atlanta created the library, and it is now a special collection library at the Kenan Research Center (housed within the Atlanta History Center). The library gathers and preserves artifacts across environmental fields, including design, history, horticulture, botany, plant ecology, and landscapes. These preservation efforts, which have cataloged materials from the 16th-century to the present, invite viewers into the stories of horticulture history across the Southeastern United States. At the link above, visitors can get a taste of the collection by viewing seven highlights. For example, readers can try their hand at sketching sunflowers, browse the papers of professional landscape designer Humphry Repton, and learn about the history of the Georgia peach. The Cherokee Garden Library Collection highlights portal is funded by the Ashley Wright McIntyre Education and Programming Endowment Fund. [EMB]

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Introduction to Environmental Science: 2nd Edition
Science

Published in 2018 by the University System of Georgia, Introduction to Environmental Science is now in its second edition and remains a great tool for educators teaching environmental science or studies and related courses. The textbook encompases biology, earth sciences, environmental policies, and resource management practices, and helps readers prepare for the "unprecedented environmental challenges," facing the planet. Topics are divided between eight chapters, beginning with an introductory chapter and then diving into topics such as energy resources, climate science, and water cycles. Each chapter begins with a list of learning outcomes, which help orient students towards concepts they should focus on. In addition to being completely open access, with options to view online (via the "Link to Full Text" button) and downloaded in its entirety or as individual chapters, the textbook also has accessible formats. Readers can download these versions in both PDF and Word formats, with optical character recognition (OCR) and auto-tagging. The textbook is authored by Caralyn Zehnder, Kalina Manoylov, Samuel Mutiti, Christine Mutiti, Allison VandeVoort, and Donna Bennett, with support from a Round Two ALG Textbook Transformation Grant. [EMB]

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Growing Up Ojibwe: The Game
Social studies

Growing Up Ojibwe invites players to learn about Ojibwe history, language, treaty rights, and tribal sovereignty, while also better understanding connections between people and the environment (with activities including maple tapping, spearfishing, and wild rice harvesting). University of Wisconsin-Stout student Eleanor Falck created the game through a partnership with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and did so to increase Native American representation in both video game content and video game creators. The game provides an interactive way to preserve and share Indigenous knowledge. Modeled after Northern Wisconsin, the game's scenery is rich with wildlife. As players move throughout the game, they offer asemaa (tobacco) to the spirit helpers and knowledge holders they encounter. In exchange, they learn about various aspects of Ojibwe history. Throughout the game, players also have opportunities to share this knowledge with other community members. The game is well-suitable for classroom settings, with a points-system that tracks students' engagement with the resource. The app can be played on the web at the link above and is also available for Android devices on the Google Play Store. [EMB]

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Enviro Rights Map
Social studies

Exploring resource rights and environmental law, the Enviro Rights Map will excite environmental law scholars. The easy-to-use platform is also a great resource for those outside of the field. Josh Gellers, an associate professor at the University of North Florida (UNF), developed the project within UNF's Digital Humanities Institute and in partnership with Erin Daly and Jim May from the Widener University Delaware Law School. The team gathered data from the Comparative Constitutions Project, HeinOnline's World Constitutions Illustrated, Global Environmental Constitutionalism, and The Environmental Rights Revolution. This data was transformed into a user-friendly map that provides insights on substantive and procedural environmental rights and environmental policy. Users can freely explore the map or filter by right (e.g., procedural or public policy) and location (e.g., Latin America and the Caribbean or North America). Each pinpoint on the map pulls up a legal principle or statement of law. Exploring these statements helps readers compare and contrast the ways environmental law is approached in different places, as well as different ways the relationship between humans and nature is viewed. In addition to the map, readers may also want to explore the Resources page to find external tools and materials that expand on environmental law and human rights. [EMB]

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How to Create Animated Videos to Communicate Science
Science

Environmentalists looking for new ways to engage others with their work may enjoy this science communications training from UK-based forest ecologist Tom Ovenden. In this tutorial series, Ovenden teaches viewers how to create storytelling animations that help distill sci-comm topics for a wider audience. Videos discuss animation tools (e.g., Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects Adobe Premiere Pro, and RStudio), highlight the key aspects of animation, and provide step-by-step visuals and examples. Ovenden created these videos with novice illustrators in mind, providing digestible lessons without assuming prior training or knowledge. Readers can enjoy the entire tutorial by scrolling down the page and watching videos in order. Alternatively, viewers with some background knowledge can check out the video descriptions and tags (noting the software used) to focus on topics of interest. The videos are also posted as a playlist ("SciComm: Animation Training for Scientists") on Ovenden's YouTube channel. [EMB]

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Tech Tools

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LazPaint
Arts

LazPaint is a cross-platform, lightweight image editor with support for both raster and vector image layers. It provides a relatively simple editing interface that the developers describe as "like PaintBrush or Paint.Net." Most common editing operations are always available via LazPaint's toolbar. In the Documentation section of the LazPaint site, users can locate reference information describing all of the software's features, along with step-by-step screenshots that demonstrate those features in action. A number of video tutorials showing how to accomplish specific tasks are also provided. In the Download section of the site, users can locate installers for Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD systems. [CRH]

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Grav
Science

Grav is a flat-file based content management system (CMS). Unlike database-backed content management systems like Drupal, Wordpress, or Joomla, Grav generates pages based on folders of Markdown files. This means that site content is stored in a simple format that can be easily modified with standard text editing tools. It also means that no database is required on the web server, just a reasonably standard installation of PHP. Grav's design emphasizes ease of learning, simplicity of setup, and good performance. The Grav developers deliberately avoid adding built-in features that they believe would unnecessarily complicate the software. In the Developers portion of the site, users can locate a link to the Grav documentation. Here, users will find detailed installation instructions, a brief getting started tutorial, and comprehensive reference material. The Requirements section also recommends a number of text editors, Markdown editors, and FTP clients that work well alongside Grav. The Web Servers and Hosting section provides step-by-step instructions for installing Grav on several of the most popular hosting providers. [CRH]

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Revisited

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Environmental Humanities
Science

Five new issues have been released since Environmental Humanities was featured in the 07-27-2018 Scout Report. Return to this resource to learn about media materialism, multicultural wilderness, and much more.

Environmental Humanities is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by Duke University Press. The journal is led by editors Dolly Jorgensen (University of Stavanger, Norway) and Franklin Ginn (University of Bristol, UK). Environmental Humanities publishes interdisciplinary scholarship, including work by scholars of the humanities and the natural and social sciences, to address environmental topics. This international journal began publication in 2012 and has published 12 volumes to date. Additionally, the journal publishes the "Living Lexicon for the Environmental Humanities," a series of 1,000-word essays that explore and evaluate particular keywords. For instance, in one such essay, Serpil Opperman, an English scholar at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, considers how the term installation may "[open] a space to rethink the Anthropocene in terms of effective empathy for the Earth." Environmental Humanities would be of interest to scholars of many disciplines, from environmental studies to semiotics and beyond. Readers can also follow the journal on Twitter, @EnvHumanities, and Facebook, @EnvironmentalHumanities. [JDC] [EMB]

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