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It is a universal truth that early career teachers are overwhelmed. Between classroom management issues, lesson plans, and grading, we’re oftentimes drowning. With all the pressure to simply survive our first few years of teaching, doing anything else in the name of improvement may seem impossible. As a second-year teacher, I have days when I find myself treating life’s necessities, like sleeping, as if they were optional activities.

We want to become better teachers, but it can be exhausting. These are low-stress, realistic, and enjoyable ideas that you can use to squeeze being a better educator into your hectic new teacher life.

Developing as a Teacher in the Early Years

Write reflectively: Simply by writing about your classroom experiences, you’re already developing yourself as an educator. Writing is widely recognized as a tool to alleviate stress and manage anxiety. It’s important for teachers to write as a way to vent about stressful days, grow from mistakes, and appreciate successes. Challenge yourself to write for 10 minutes each day. I don’t pressure myself to write well—I just write. Whether you invest in a journal or start a blog, the act of writing is worth your time.

Record things you want to change: Create a document specifically designed to record your mistakes and plans for improvement. Whenever a lesson plan goes awry, jot down a note about how to make it better in the future. My own document is entitled “Things to Do Better for Next Year” and includes notes about remaking assessments, adjusting my grading categories, and other fixes that will make my next classroom experience better. Not only does this give you guidance for future lessons, but you now have a comprehensive list of items to accomplish over the summer.

Observe other teachers: New teachers are often required to observe veterans, but we shouldn’t stop there. Even after you fulfill your observation obligations, make time to email different teachers in your building that you admire and let them know you want to stop by their classrooms to see them in action. Most teachers will be glad to work with you and to talk afterward about your thoughts and observations. We get better at teaching when we talk productively about our practice.

Learn a new skill: Making time in your life to learn about something you’re interested in can help remind you what your students encounter every day in your classroom: As much as it can be exciting to learn something new, it’s also scary. It’s important that we regularly look for chances to experience life the way our students do, so that we can be empathetic to their situation. For me, it was learning how to sing. After months of voice lessons, I auditioned for the local theater’s summer musical and made the ensemble cast.

Take charge of your PD: There are many ways you can be proactive in your professional development (PD). Social media websites like Twitter and Pinterest provide an entire network of teachers seeking discussions and other opportunities to connect. On Twitter, the National Councils of Teachers of English hosted an educational chat on mentor texts where I learned about using New Sentences from The New York Times as a tool to help students analyze literature.

A simple way to take control of your PD is to read books on pedagogy. Ask a few of your coworkers to join you and start an informal PD book club. Any teacher would benefit from reading The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley. This book provides an excellent month-by-month guide on how to create an atmosphere of improvement in your classroom.

Another classic way to develop professionally is to find a nearby education conference and interact with other teachers. Listening to inspiring keynote speakers and being involved in breakout sessions is a great way to re-energize and learn. When I went to the Mid-America Association for Computers in Education conference in Manhattan, Kansas, I learned about single-point rubrics, using memes as short writing assignments, and the glorious design capabilities of Canva.

Be kind to yourself: Practicing self-care is essential to your continual improvement as a teacher. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you cannot be the teacher your students need. By making good choices that lead to a healthy mind and body, you’ll enable yourself to have a happier teaching experience.

Ways to accomplish this include eating healthy, exercising, and doing activities that you enjoy outside of education. Yes, grading is important, but so is spending time with family, watching that new show, and walking the dog. To keep my head above water, I do guided meditations each morning using an app on my phone. This calms me down and lets me start each day fresh.

When trying to be a better teacher, the key is to not be hard on yourself. Teaching is a tricky and time-consuming job. No one has perfected it yet, and you won’t be the first. While improvement should always be somewhere on your radar, it doesn’t need to be a massive overhaul of your livelihood. Try even just one of these ideas for self-improvement.

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A Teamwork Tool As Versatile As Your Workforce

Web conferencing technologies — from HD cameras to intuitive software — have enabled companies and organizations to stay connected and productive, even when getting together in person has been hard or impossible. Seeing familiar faces and sharing work remotely on computer screens has bridged divides, but the next big leap forward is display technology. Display technology enables rich, fluid collaboration between people, whether they’re in the same room or all over the world.

Interactive whiteboards have grown increasingly common in environments as varied as corporate meeting rooms and kindergarten classrooms. A new class of interactive, hypercollaborative Samsung displays embraces the spirit and foundational aspects of those digital whiteboards and gives them superpowers that make learning, sharing and collaboration easy and impactful, whether everyone is gathered as a group, or working and learning separately from home offices and kitchen tables.

And that’s where the latest in interactive technology will prove effective: Samsung’s Interactive Display comes in as a wall-mounted or stand-based, 85-inch, OPS-backed, multi-touch all-in-one dynamo that can suit the needs of anyone from the boardroom to the classroom and their at-home counterparts.

Bigger and even better

The latest in collaboration tools — Samsung’s Interactive Display — is changing team capabilities, packing a monster punch with its size: a wall-mounted 85-inch 4K resolution display that takes on the same kind of big visual canvas dimensions of classroom chalkboards and meeting space dry-erase boards. Here are the other highlights:

A wide selection of connectivity options are standard, including USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, near-field communication (NFC) and an Open Pluggable Slot (OPS) in the display that allows a compatible PC to be loaded.

Viewing and changes can be synchronized between the Samsung Interactive Display and a laptop. For example, a meeting leader can connect a personal device to the 85-inch display using the “touch out” function — controlling the content on the big display from a keyboard. In brainstorming sessions, edits made to the content on the large screen also change on the laptop display, and vice versa.

Forms and templates make the Interactive Display useful throughout a working day — running messaging, schedules and other need-to-know information, even when not in active use.

Easy sharing tools allow meeting leaders and educators to quickly capture and distribute the meeting output, whether brainstorming notes, marked-up drawings and other visuals, or new material shared by participants or found online, using the built-in browser.

Pen and brush modes allow as many as 20 simultaneous users for drawing, note taking or producing original, high-definition content.

Making wherever work

With an inexorable shift to remote working and learning accelerated by global health concerns in 2023, tools that go beyond voice and video calls, emails and attachments are more important than ever. It can be particularly important for executives who find themselves working from home, detached from their teams but still needing to visually communicate ideas and plans. For example, a chief technology officer (CTO) working virtually from the comfort of their home office can use a Samsung Interactive Display to mark up the plans for a major IT overhaul, while those same visuals show up on a sister device (the Flip 2 or another Samsung Interactive Display) running on the network at the main office, where a few colleagues have gathered at a limited capacity.

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Similar scenarios could play out across many industries and working and learning environments. Consider what might happen in education, healthcare and in the creative industry:

Teaching

Classrooms become more engaging and active when students can get up and use a large screen that everyone can see. As many as 20 people can use a Samsung Interactive Display simultaneously — whether they’re working out math equations, drawing pictures, making lists or marking up and editing images pulled from the internet.

The 85-inch Samsung Interactive Display has a built-in document viewer, allowing participants to access, show, discuss and work with files commonly used on computers and other personal devices. Built-in image editing tools let users easily select, move, crop, capture and edit images. Activity is built and archived around the idea of rolls, with as many as 20 pages or screens worth of writing or activity saved to a roll. Students working remotely can get the full recaps, including the visuals and annotations, effortlessly sent their way by email.

Caregiving Creating

Conventional paper flip charts and marker-based whiteboards limit the creative collaboration process to note taking and simple drawings. The Samsung Interactive Display’s high-precision multimedia capabilities enable creative teams to do everything from mark up proofs from graphic designers to create original designs — using stylus pen and brush tools. Creatives can draw bold oil paint strokes with a pen or create delicate watercolor scenes with a highly sensitive brush.

Chalkboards and whiteboards have been central to learning, sharing and innovating for decades. The new 85-inch Samsung Interactive Display takes that idea and optimizes it for today’s working and learning climate.

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2024 Audi A8L First Drive: Luxury As A Place Of Sanctuary

Do not for a single second expect that Audi’s approach of keeping tech out of the way means stripping away all the digital whiz-bangery for an analog-only experience (sorry analog purists, keep lobbying). Instead they’ve taken two approaches: simplify the experience or get tech out of the way so you can focus on what you’re doing — driving or being driven.

Let’s start with the interior design. Audi designers want those who enter the A8 to feel welcomed with open arms, and once the door closes, surrounded in a comfortable embrace. On placing one’s posterior in the A8’s noticeably comfortable leather seats, your attention shifts to the cleanliness of the lines and comfortable balance of materials. It’s the antithesis of many upper-echelon luxury cars that sometimes that on the appearance of a ‘mood-board smorgasbord.’ Instead you are presented with a well-appointed, minimalistic collection of matching textures and tones, that wouldn’t be out of place in a modern downtown apartment’s interior. To my eye, the most pleasing interior combination was the Sarder Brown leather with the natural Ash timber inlays, an elegant grey-brown color reminiscent of dark coffee.

However, If you are really insistent on more expected interior combos, such as walnut panelling with warm leather tones, they’re offered, but aren’t as sharp as the more modern tonal options. The ‘classic’ tones almost feel like the interior designers acquiescence to past sales date rather than completeness of Audi’s vision. Do yourself a favor, go Sarder Brown.

There are distinct horizontal layers within the cabin that wraps around from the front console to the doors. It’s not just easy on the eyes, each band denotes function. Where possible, functionality has been consolidated into touch screens or multifunction buttons, often hidden from view, including the air vents that are covered when not in use. What appears as a wide, flowing piano-black panel, upon start-up, reveals two large touch screens. All the things in this black layer are made for interaction: vehicular function, environment and personal setting controls.

The topmost screen delivers media, navigational and vehicle setting, and the display below it contains all environment controls, seat settings and other comfort options. A nice progression from the previous A8, with most functions inside the A8 placed within reach and in a logical flow. Screens, buttons and panels are all tightly fitted in the cockpit, and the finish feels truly bespoke.

The A8 flaunts the second generation of Virtual Cockpit Plus. With higher resolution, faster processing and a smoother scrolling display, the digital experience now extends to the rest of the cabin with the media center and environmental controls integrated into one system.

While there has been much gnashing of teeth about the removal of physical buttons and replacing them with screens, after having driven the A8 for a day, you quickly become accustomed to the layout of the screens and methods of interaction. For the most part, I got into a rhythm of how to interact with the touch screen, save several moments while driving, trying to find seat functions that had been available as physical buttons in the previous generation A8. The latest generation of MMI — Audi’s infotainment, navigation and communication system — works much the same way as any other touch screen does, including the ability for users to customize the displays by moving icons around on the screen as you would on any modern smart device. Engaging with it feels incredibly familiar, just like using your smart phone.

Acknowledging that while physical controllers allow a user to reach and initiate a function from muscle memory, albeit a single use function, digital screen versions of controllers require a different kind interaction to allow users to stay focused on the road. Audi found that users quickly grew accustomed to operating the display through their peripheral vision using function color association — each function has a color assigned to it that is consistent through all Audi vehicles.

Audi’s interior designers are so confident, or perhaps deeply enamored by the aesthetic simplicity that screens offer, that they would have sucked in every single button and switch into this system were it not for pesky regulations that required they keep a certain number of functions as ‘real’ buttons. While the display surfaces are a designer’s dream in simplifying the interior, in part they were an inevitable requirements, due to the ever-growing number of features and controls being added to each new generation of vehicle.

However, using a single digit to push buttons is so 2023 — natural writing recognition and voice commands are the way of the future. Hence the A8 features natural handwriting recognition, where you can write entire destinations onto the touch screen, a leap forward from the start-stop individual character input of previous systems. Alternatively, you can talk to your A8 using its onboard voice recognition to help you in a multitude of ways, from easy tasks like changing temperature settings to finding a coffee shop, you’ll even get fed the top three Yelp reviews to ensure you pick the right spot.

Starting from the moment you step out of your home, Audi wants to be your complete end-to-end travel concierge. For example, locating a coffee house is but the first step — once you’ve identified the ideal purveyor of ground beans, to ensure you get that caffeine hit as soon as possible, Audi has a slew of systems to get you there faster. Your A8 is fed real-time traffic light information, telling you the speed you need to take to make each light (within the limit of the law of-course), or if it’s about to change.

There are seven cities in the US that already have connected smart lights — including, Vegas, Palo Alto, Washington DC— based on municipality, with more coming online. Then as you approach your coffeeshop, your A8 will help you find parking via parking search assistance, and perfectly park via Park Assist if your driver has the day off. It doesn’t stop there either. Using the myAudi app, there is continued direction if you need to walk to your destination if it’s within a mall, ensuring a continuity of experience from vehicle to final caffeination destination.

Getting there, in the back of the Audi A8 provides its own focused experience. First, the space in the back is capacious. There’s no way you’ll be bruising your knees on the back of the front seats, in fact there’s enough room to comfortably stretch out. It’s without reserve, a first-class space. The rear seats have multidirectional adjustments, and the in-seat massagers have been updated with additional massage nodes for both the front and rear seats. I already consider Audi to deliver best-in-class seat massagers, and the updated systems in the A8 continue this tradition. To further enhance your comfort, an air-quality package for ionization and aromatization is available, as are heated center and door armrests to further enhance comfort.

Passengers in the back can use either a removable remote in the folding handset, or the fixed center console that replaces the middle rear seat in the 4-seat package, to control the environment in the rear. Controlling all the expected features, such as temperature, seats and infotainment system, with the addition of a neat new directional lighting feature. Namely, a Matrix LED in the ceiling that allows you to select exactly where the light will fall and how widely it is cast, great for ensuring your personal wellness book is perfectly lit as your feet are pampered in the heated massaging footrest. Both are optional features, but it’s BYO wellness book.

To further provide you with a space away from it all, blinds for the rear, side windows are available, as is dual-pane acoustic glass. Naturally.

However, if the space in the back is going to be more about productivity as you shuttle between board meetings, then you’ll likely appreciate the folding productivity tables and utilize the large and brightly lit displays behind the front seats.

The designers and engineers behind the A8 are understanding more than ever the myriad of ways we want to use our cars, and the A8 provides a vision into how they are fulfilling our needs, while ensuring we do it in a safe, efficient, helpful and peaceful manner. Time will prove out whether Audi’s level of visible technology is the right balance, especially having sucked all the physical buttons into screens, but out of the gate, it’s not horrible.

Using Your Ios Device As A Remote

This is something I never even considered until my son came home from college. He had picked up a used iPod Touch from a friend and didn’t have the same music on it that we have  downloaded to our house iTunes account. He could have downloaded it from the cloud, but instead, he logged onto Remote and iTunes and played the music he wanted through one of our laptops.

Once you open Remote, you have two choices: Turn on Home Sharing and Add an iTunes Library. Before you add anything, Home Sharing needs to be turned on.

Turning on Home Sharing asks you to log into your account with the Apple ID and password. This isn’t necessarily the same ID and password of the computer you’re using, but yours. It’s how Apple keeps track of you.

Once you are signed in with your Apple ID, the app asks you to turn on “Home Sharing” on any computer using your Apple ID and iTunes.

Once Home Sharing is turned on, the iTunes logo pops up, along with your library on your desktop or laptop computer. If you have multiple computers using your Apple ID, all of those would show up.

Not only can you “see” what’s inside the library, you can also control the play. From here, you can stop, pause, forward, and reverse, as well as control the volume. The volume isn’t coming out of your Apple device, but the desktop or laptop computer. You can also create Genius libraries at this point.

This leaves this library as yet another option in the Remote app. Opening it not only allows you to play the computers that are using your Apple ID, but also the computers you have set up that are not. Your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch can now be used as a Remote so that you can play music, movies, or TV from anywhere in your home or place of business. No longer do you have to go upstairs, go into another room, or go inside to change the music. You can do it all from where you’re sitting.

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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Earthworms Are Thriving In Martian(Ish) Soil

A Dutch scientist found two baby earthworms wriggling around in soil that is supposed to replicate the surface of Mars. But we’re still pretty far away from gardening on the red planet.

For now, scientists don’t have access to real Martian soil. So Wieger Wamelink, biologist at Wageningen University, bought a simulation from NASA at a hefty $2,500 for about 220 pounds (he created a crowdfunding campaign to help with the costs). The U.S. space agency fetched that dirt from a volcano in Hawaii and the Mojave desert, then sterilized it to copy the lifeless Martian environment. Wamelink and his research team then put the simulation soil through a Martian colony scenario. They were enthusiastic when they added adult worms that not only survived, but reproduced. “That was way beyond what we expected,” says Wamelink.

The discovery that earthworms could survive on the red planet would be thrilling. These underrated annelids are crucial to a healthy ecosystem on Earth. They’re living super-composters, eating dead plants and pooping out productive soil. If human colonies could breed them, their crops would fare better.

But the process of recreating a stranded Matt Damon scenario is not all that scientific for the time being. After receiving the soil from NASA in 2013, Wamelink planted a variety of seeds. To his delight, tomato, wheat, cress, field mustard, and a wild plant called stonecrop grew. He checked that batch for heavy metals, but put a roughly equal amount of plants back into the soil to imitate what would have happened without human intervention. After that first year, he started putting the actual plants back into the soil, but also added pig slurry as a stand-in for human feces.

Future Martians probably wouldn’t do this, according to Andrew Palmer, a biology professor at the Florida Institute of Technology. “It’s highly unlikely we will put feces in agriculture of any kind in the soil,” he says. “Human feces are a horrible vector for disease, and I don’t know how many pigs will be on Mars.”

But the dangers from spreading human poop—diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, polio and hepatitis—don’t compare to perchlorate, which the Phoenix Mars Lander found in Martian soil in 2007. This compound, which humans sometimes put in propellants and packaging, affects the thyroid and lungs. Martians would need to get rid of this substance before planting anything in the soil, and other space missions that collect larger soil samples may bring back news of other less-than-delicious substances.

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No soil on Earth is a perfect replica of Martian stuff. And like the dirt on our own planet, it’s not uniform. Just as the white sand of the Amazon river basin is completely different from the limestone-rich clay in Spain, Mars has a varying geology, and probably a corresponding dirt diversity that humans have not begun to explore. And all the dirt on Earth has had some sort of life stumble into it at some point, even in the relatively barren areas where NASA collects Mars simulation soil. Plants can use the chemical remains of this past life to grow more easily. “There’s going to be trace amounts of organic matter,” says Palmer. “That footprint is going to be different on Mars.”

Scientists have only elemental analyses on a limited amount of Martian soil. Palmer says he hopes to someday have a molecular analysis of dirt from different areas of Mars, perhaps collected by humans. He says that research estimating how much food humans will be able to grow on Mars is crucial to creating preliminary budgets for future manned missions. So while these wormy experiments might not be enough to prove we’ll be able to live off the land, they’re still important. “We’re getting better,” he says. “You start imperfect and you refine and refine and refine.”

How To Use A Gopro Camera As Your Webcam On A Mac

If your work is confined to being at home and the only way you’re able to interact with your colleagues and superiors is through video conferencing software, then your webcam is your best buddy during these tough times. However, unlike other tools of technology, webcams haven’t really made huge strides in quality.

But what if you already have a GoPro camera? Can you use it as a webcam for your meetings? The answer is yes, thanks to GoPro’s recent attempt to make its cameras work as your default webcam.

What do you need

In order to set up your GoPro Camera as a webcam for video conferencing, you will need to have the following items in check:

GoPro HERO8 Black camera

 USB-C cable that came with your GoPro

A macOS machine (MacBook, Mac, or Mac mini)

A USB adapter/dongle if your Mac system doesn’t have a USB-C port

Your camera’s microSD card, adapter and card reader

How to enable a GoPro camera as your virtual camera on a Mac

Once you have made sure that you have all the items listed above, you can proceed to enable the GoPro Camera as your default webcam on a Mac.

Since the ability to use the GoPro as a webcam arrives through the latest beta firmware, you first need to update your camera software to get the functionality. To update to the latest beta build, download the GoPro Webcam Beta Firmware on your Mac and unzip the file which will create a folder in the name of the .zip file.

Now, insert your camera’s SD card to your Mac by placing it inside its SD card adapter and then inserting it into the native SD card reader. If your Mac doesn’t have an inbuilt SD card reader, you will need an external SD card reader to plug into the USB port. Once your micro SD is detected on the Mac, copy the extracted folder (extracted from the .ZIP file) onto the SD card using Finder.

To install the GoPro beta firmware, power OFF your camera, insert the micro SD card into the camera and then power it back ON. The camera will be able to update its software automatically and will beep during the installation process. Once the software is installed, you will be able to see a checkmark on the GoPro screen.

Note: In case the update failed, remove and re-insert the battery and then power ON the camera for allowing it to install the firmware again. Follow this support page for more details on the installation. 

Download and install GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility on your Mac

After the beta firmware on your Go Pro is installed, you can now install the GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility on your Mac. You first need to download the GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility, open the “.PKG” file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the GoPro tool for your Mac.

Once the installation is complete, a new GoPro icon will appear in the Menu bar.

Setting up your GoPro webcam

Before you connect your GoPro Camera to the Mac, it’s important that you set it up right, so that it’s perfect for being used as your default webcam. Since a GoPro is known to have a wider field of view than most cameras, you can set it up nearer to you than your regular webcam. You can position it in front of Mac’s screen like on a desk or mount it on top of Mac’s screen using your existing GoPro mounts.

Additionally, you can purchase and use GoPro’s own accessories like the Jaws Flex Clamp, Magnetic Swivel Clip, Suction Cup, and Gooseneck to mount your GoPro in different angles and creative point-of-views.

Connecting your GoPro to the Mac

Now that you have set up your GoPro in position to be used as a webcam, you can connect it to your Mac using the USB-C cable that came with your Go Pro. After connecting the two devices, power ON your GoPro.

The GoPro icon in your Mac’s Menu bar will now display a blue dot to indicate that it has successfully established a connection with the GoPro.

At the same time, the display on your GoPro will also show the USB icon, indicating that it is currently in USB Mode.

Enable GoPro camera inside your video conference app

Now that you have enabled the GoPro as your webcam, it’s time to set it as your default video source inside the video conference app you use.

Here are steps to enable the GoPro camera as your default webcam in some of the popular video calling apps:

Additional tips

The above guide was for those of you who wanted an easy and simple setup solution of the GoPro Webcam on a Mac. You can also follow the tips mentioned below to make the most of your GoPro inside meetings and video conferences.

Change video resolution

Adjusting the Field of View using Digital Lens

The GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility comes with a Digital Lens feature which lets you change the Field of View of your webcam. The Digital Lens option will only be visible when your GoPro is being actively used as a webcam.

GoPro camera as webcam a Windows PC

Well, GoPro’s software supports only macOS right now. Hence, if you got a Windows PC, or any other OS, you can use your GoPro camera as a virtual camera on that.

Was this guide helpful to teach you to use the GoPro HERO8 Black as a webcam on your Mac?

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