Socratica Quarantines with Met Opera

We’re under quarantine here in California, due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. That means we can’t film at Socratica, at least for the time being.

So how are we spending our time? We’re still writing scripts and editing videos. But we’re also taking time for cultural enrichment, thanks to a generous gift from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

The Met is streaming an opera every day, for free. 

We’ve always loved opera here at Socratica.

Believe it or not, when I was a kid, most of grownups in my life loved and embraced opera. It wasn’t thought of as some kind of elite art form, only for the wealthy. It was easy to understand even as a kid, often bawdy and over-the-top. It was digested into simple acts, with well-known stories and musical themes. I defy anyone to watch “Marriage of Figaro” and say it is inaccessible.

But as I entered adulthood in the 90s, something started to change. People started to think opera was something fancy.  Was it because of “Pretty Woman?”  A wealthy man takes a prostitute to the opera and opens her eyes to refined culture. I prefer the depiction in Moonstruck – we see an everyman who lives for the opera.

Moonstruck love opera

Ticket prices started to rise uncomfortably. I still got to go to the opera a lot because when I was in grad school, Princeton would give poor grad students FREE tickets and a FREE ride to the glorious opera house in New York City, the Met. I saw everything they did for five years.

Met opera at night

 

But when I moved back to LA in 2003, by then, ticket prices were out of control. Even with two of us working good jobs, we couldn’t, in good conscience, spend a couple of hundred dollars on two hours’ of entertainment. That’s more than two week’s groceries in our house.

Thankfully, the Met started streaming HD recordings of their operas. You can rent a gorgeous production for $5. They’re beautifully made videos –  it’s like the best seat in the house, complete with subtitles.  It’s really a wonderful resource. And now, during the pandemic, they’re making one of their operas free to stream each day. Thank you, sincerely. What a lovely, lovely gift.

If you’re hesitant – you don’t think opera is for you – we have a gift for you, too. When we first started our channel, we made a playlist to give an introduction to this incredible art form.

 

 

You can tell these are some of our earliest videos!  The lighting is crazy hot (we were using powerful ARRI Fresnel lights). We were just learning how to edit using Adobe Premiere.  But I look back on these early videos with great affection.

Our playlist of opera terms is here: https://bit.ly/SocraticaOpera

Opera is for everyone!

KHH

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Multiple Choice Tests, defanged.

 

 

Do you think Multiple Choice tests are unfair?

Is this because you don’t do very well on them? Be honest, now.

Wouldn’t you like to know how to do better on these tests? Socratica can help.

The truth is, that while multiple choice tests can seem tricky, they really can be the best way to test for certain kinds of knowledge. Namely – can you draw distinctions between closely related ideas?

Answer sheet

To do well on Multiple choice tests, you have to stay calm and proceed through the test without getting too hung up on any one question. Don’t waste your time fretting if you don’t know the answer right away. This is easier to do if you prepare well.

In this video, we share some of our best strategies for doing well on multiple choice tests. Our number one tip is to take a practice test, and then use it to figure out what you DON’T know. Then, study only the material you don’t know! This can feel uncomfortable, but it really is the most efficient use of your time. After studying, then re-test yourself, only on those topics you previously missed. Now, you have a much better chance of success on the real test, and you haven’t wasted precious study time on material you were already going to get right on the test.

Try our techniques on your next multiple choice test, and see for yourself!

More Excellent Study Tips Here (YouTube Playlist)

~ KHH

Easy ways to support Socratica:

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Socratica Patreon

Socratica PayPal

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Where did the year go? Socratica in 2019

I was about to make a Happy New Year post, when I noticed the last real post I made was for the New Year, January 2019. Where has the year gone? In a word: PROJECTS.

2019 was the year of 3 major projects for Socratica: SQL, VR180, and Python Kickstarter. 

SQL

We were tapped by the YouTube Learning Initiative to create a “Learning Playlist” about SQL – Structured Query Language. The Learning Initiative was a major undertaking by YouTube to create a new way for people to interact with educational videos. This new system allows you to subscribe to a learning playlist (as opposed to a channel). YouTube presents these videos in a distraction-free environment, and keeps track of your progress. We hope YouTube continues developing ideas like these to help educational creators and viewers who want to learn!

Introduction to SQL (Computer Science)

 

VR180

VR has finally gone mainstream, with the arrival of HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, etc. But while there are a number of Virtual Reality games available, VR content on YouTube remains sparse. Socratica was once again chosen by YouTube to represent educational creators on their platform as part of their VR Creator Lab. We were invited to attend a special hands-on course with ten creators, including Patrick Starr, Big Cat Rescue, Invisible People, the LA Times, and Titanic Sinclair/ Poppy.

We learned how to use a special VR180 camera, which captures a 180-degree hemisphere in 3 dimensions. Filming like this poses special challenges, including deciding how close to stand to the camera (not as close as you’re used to, or it feels scaryclose!), how to move it (very carefully), and how to enhance the 3D experience. Then we learned how hard it was to work with 8K files! Our poor computers got a real workout. As a result of this project, we also learned about how to use render farms.

We made 3 videos to explain how VR works (we are an educational channel, after all) – The Science of VR, The Math of VR, and The Tech of VR.  Then, as a bonus fun (but also highly educational) reward, we made a VR180 Tour of the Solar System.

 

 

 

 

 

PYTHON KICKSTARTER

Our last major project of the year involved you, all of our Socratica Friends. We took stock of the progress on our channel, and also all of your comments and requests. Our most popular playlist was Python, but we had only made about 30 videos over the course of 5 years. You kept asking for more, but we just didn’t have the resources to make them any faster. So we decided to ask you for help!

Working on the SQL project and the VR180 videos allowed us to see just how much we could get done when we had reasonable funding and a chunk of time set aside. We drew up a careful budget and asked if you would like to support us making 20 Python videos in 2020. And you said yes!  Our Kickstarter was successful. We begin production in January. That is…NOW!!

We’ll be writing, filming, and editing Python for the next several months, thanks to your support. We can’t thank you enough. Soon we’ll have our new Python videos to share with you. In the meantime, here’s our Python Playlist:

 

Happy New Year, Socratica Friends.  

KHH

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Socratica Python Returns – with your help.

 

 

We’ve made some very fine Python videos on our Socratica YouTube channel. They’ve done well, and we’re happy we’ve been able to help so many people get started programming.

But the truth is, it’s not enough. We’ve made 32 videos over the course of 5 years. It’s going to take more than 32 videos to make you into a great Python programmer.  We need to make more videos, and we need to make them faster.

But we’re working as fast as we can! We need help.

That’s where you come in.

If you love our work – if you think what we’re doing offers value – consider supporting our Kickstarter project to make 20 new Python videos over the course of the next year.

Support what you love!  Socratica Python Kickstarter

KHH

 

 

Socratica Dialogue is here!

We’re happy to announce the launch of a new Socratica Publication!

Socratica Dialogue:

Dialogue issue 1 masthead

It’s a monthly newsletter available exclusively to our patrons on Patreon. You get it with your $10 and up monthly support of Socratica. It’s where we collect the most interesting tidbits of ideas we’re mulling over during the month. What are we reading? Where did we go? What are we working on at Socratica? We figured it’s something that our most dedicated fans would be interested in…that’s why it’s part of our Patreon.

We named it Dialogue for two reasons – first, as a play on “Socratic Dialogue” because we just can’t help ourselves. But also to tell our viewers that we’d love to open a dialogue with them – to let them know more about ourselves and our process.

If you value the work we do, and would like to support our efforts to make the most beautiful educational videos free for everyone on YouTube, please consider becoming our Patron.  Even the smallest donation makes a big difference to us. Thank you!

KHH

Socratica Patreon

Subscribe to Socratica on YouTube

Socratica Shop on Amazon

 

 

 

Socratica is now an Amazon Influencer

Socratica doesn’t have any beauty recommendations for you. 

Beauty-influencer-zoella-youtube-10-13-17

It’s fun, we just don’t have anything to contribute here.

 

And we don’t do Follow Me pictures.  We’re mostly sitting at our desks, working. 

follow me field

Kudos to Murad Osmann for popularizing this new style of photo.

 

But we can recommend great books ALL DAY LONG.

 

cornell library

THIS we can do!

 

I thought “Influencer” was a term only used for YouTube vloggers and the beautiful people on Instagram.  I’m happy to learn I was wrong!

Amazon has opened the doors of its Influencer Program to a wide variety of YouTube channels. This is an opportunity for these channels to share their favourite products, and for all of us to buy from their storefronts as a way to support these channels. The creators receive a small percentage of every purchase made through the links on their storefronts.

And now… Socratica is an Amazon Influencer. Did not think this was going to happen. But here it is, our new storefront:

 

Some clear pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Easy to Use – I got this up and running in under 5 minutes.
  • Easy to Update
  • Includes pictures of items

CONS:

  • Not customizable – we’d love to break this into sections (Math, Chemistry, Film Equipment)
  • No place to write blurbs. Let us say WHY we’re recommending a product.

 

I’m all for exploring alternate revenue streams, since YouTube ad revenue is not nearly enough to support a business.  So we set up our shop, and we’ll start sharing the link, and we’ll see what happens.  Let us know what you think (or if you have any other ideas to fund our scicomm work at Socratica).

Please share this link with your friends!   https://www.amazon.com/shop/socratica

KHH

Subscribe to our Socratica YouTube channel here

FREE Socratica Apps on the Google Play Store

10 Back to School Tips for Success

We all think of ourselves as eternal students here at Socratica.  That means we get a little thrill every September, even though we’re not in the classroom anymore.

happy fall

Between us, the Socratica team has a LOT of experience points – both as students and teachers – we’ve learned a lot about how to be do well in school. That collected wisdom is what we’re trying to share in our Study Tips series.

Here’s our latest offering – advice on how to make this school year a great one:

10 Back to School Tips for Success.

 

Don’t feel like you have to tackle all 10 tips at once. Try incorporating one or two, and see if it helps. Not everyone has the exact same strengths and weaknesses. But in our experience, these strategies won’t hurt and may actually mean the difference for you.  Give it a shot!

Good luck and be sure to use our videos for help this school year!

KHH

Links to our playlists on YouTube:

Abstract Algebra

Astronomy

Biology

Calculus

Chemistry

English Grammar

Geometry

Python

Study Tips

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!
http://bit.ly/1ixuu9W

To support more videos from Socratica, visit Socratica Patreon:  https://www.patreon.com/socratica

Shop Amazon Used Textbooks – Save up to 90% http://amzn.to/2pllk4B

 

Send Socratica to SXSW EDU!

Socratica might go to SXSW EDU…with your help!

sxsweduspeaker

SXSW (“South by Southwest” or just “SouthBy”)  is a HUGE conference held every year in Austin, TX. You may be more familiar with the arts side of the conference, but did you know there’s an education component? It’s called SXSWEDU, attended by thousands of teachers and administrators.

sxsw talk picture

Socratica has applied to give talks there in 2018 – but it really depends on our panel ideas getting “upvoted.” That’s where you come in!

votenow

You can register and vote for panels for free, no obligation. This is a way for the organizers to gauge interest. We’d love for you to show your support for Socratica, so we can share our channel and our experiences with thousands of educators.

Kim is proposing a Case Study of the pathways to becoming an online educator. She and two fellow EduTubers will be discussing their journeys from Scientist, to Teacher, to YouTuber.  Her panel is here: Scientist-Teacher-YouTuber: Paths to Online Edu

Michael is proposing a Workshop about how to make higher quality educational videos. He’ll be running the workshop with two other EduTubers who make great looking videos without spending a ton of money. His panel is here: Taking Your Educational Videos to the Next Level

You can see our founders at SXSWEDU in 2018! Please register (free) & vote!

After you register, it’s easy to get lost in the website. You can click these links to go directly to our panels to vote for them!  And please upvote other panels that look interesting to you. You don’t have to attend, but if you do, we’ll see you there!

Kim: http://bit.ly/2ujW2tW
Michael: http://bit.ly/2vgeCST

Here are the instructions from SXSWEDU:

On Monday, August 7, the greater online community is invited to vote and share its input on your session idea through Friday, August 25. The community’s input will amount to 30% of the total score for your proposal. Your proposal will also be evaluated by the SXSW EDU Advisory Board (40%) and SXSW EDU staff (30%) during this time.

The community will have the opportunity to “Vote Up” or “Vote Down” on all session ideas (votes will be kept private) and add comments to each page. We encourage you to use this commenting feature to expand on your session idea, make notes of any updates or changes and even engage with the voting community.

Anyone with internet access can cast a single vote for as many proposals as they would like upon creating a PanelPicker account.

We really appreciate your helping to send us to this conference!  It’s a great opportunity to meet other educators and let more people know about the work we do at Socratica.  Every bit of awareness helps our channel stay in business.  Hope we see you next year in Austin! THANK YOU!

KHH

PS You’re Subscribed to Socratica, right?

Can you explain ECLIPSES ?

 

total eclipse

It’s your big chance to see the Sun’s CORONA.

You might have heard: there’s a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE coming to the US on August 21, 2017.

solar eclipse 2017 path

Are you in the path of totality?

We’re so excited! We made a video explaining SOLAR ECLIPSES and LUNAR ECLIPSES.  Can you explain how these happen?  This is a great video to share with your friends and family before the big event. We describe what causes these two kinds of eclipses, and describe what you will see on the big day of the TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE. 

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: YOU MUST WEAR ECLIPSE GLASSES. 

You must, must MUST get some safety glasses.

★★★VERY IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE★★★
Many fake eclipse glasses have been sold on Amazon.com
Please read these articles and be safe!
https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/iso-certification
Here is an approved list of vendors:
https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters

GreatAmericanEclipseKidsViewing

Sunglasses simply won’t do. PROTECT YOUR EYES!! Get GENUINE ECLIPSE GLASSES.

Do you have plans to see this incredible event? Have you ever seen an eclipse before? We’d love to hear about it.
KHH

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!
http://bit.ly/1ixuu9W

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.
http://bit.ly/2jgPDWx

To support more videos from Socratica, visit

Socratica Patreon
https://www.patreon.com/socratica
http://bit.ly/29gJAyg

Socratica Paypal
https://www.paypal.me/socratica

We also accept Bitcoin! 🙂
Our address is: 1EttYyGwJmpy9bLY2UcmEqMJuBfaZ1HdG9