Monday, February 22, 2010

Flixtime - Quickly Create Short Videos

Flixtime is a new video creation service that is quite similar to Animoto and Stupeflix. Flixtime gives users the ability to create 60 second videos by mixing together images, video clips, and music tracks. You can use your own images, video clips, and music tracks or you can choose media from the Flixtime galleries. One the things that I like about Flixtime over Animoto is Flixtime's editing tool. Compared to Animoto, Flixtime affords you more control over the sequence and timing of images and audio. That said, I prefer Stupeflix's text editor over Flixtime's.

Flixtime videos can be downloaded for use on your local computer, shared via email or social networks, or posted to YouTube. Below you will see my sample video.

TechCrunch has more information about Flixtime that you may be interested in reading.

Applications for Education
Creating videos with Flixtime could be a good alternative to slideshow presentations. In the past I've had students use Animoto to create videos as mini-biographies of famous people in US History. I've found that assignment to be a good way to get some of my special education students interested historical figures. The students start out by looking for images and reading image captions before progressing to more in-depth reading. The same type of project could be done with Flixtime.

For other video creation tools you may want to read Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online.

Update: After Mr. Wylie corrected my comment about Animoto's editing options, I edited this post to more accurately reflect my initial impressions of Flixtime.

Ten Interactive Geography Games and Maps

Interactive games and maps can be good tools for students to use in developing their knowledge of geography. The following ten websites are good places to find a variety of interactive geography games and interactive maps that will help students develop their knowledge of geography. The last item in the list is a resource for creating your own geography game.

National Geographic Kids has a wide variety of games, puzzles, and activities for students of elementary school age. National Geographic Kids has nine games specifically for developing geography skills.

Placefy is a fun and challenging geography game that uses pictures as questions. Placefy presents players with an image of a city square, buildings, and other famous landmarks. Players then have to choose the correct answer from four answer choices. Playing the game is simple, but the images as questions make it a challenging game.

GeoNet is a geography quiz game from Houghton Mifflin that offers students more than just the state or country identification questions typical of geography games. GeoNet has a category of games based on a world map and games based on a map of the United States. Within each category are six types of quiz game questions. Each quiz game has two levels.

Place Spotting is a website of geographic riddles. Place Spotting is based on the Google Earth platform. Place Spotting users can create their own geographic riddles or try to solve riddles created by others. The search feature on Place Spotting lets users search for riddles based on level of difficulty, language, region, or creation date.

Learning Together offers four activities for learning about the geography of the United States. Learning Together also offers a game about world geography and a game about European geography.

Owl and Mouse Educational Software
offers sixteen, free, interactive maps for students. The maps cover every continent except Antarctica.

Lizard Point gives students 37 interactive maps to study. The maps cover basic world geography as well as specific geography questions for various regions and countries around the world.

Reach the World produces great online games for Geography students. The GeoGames from Reach the World feature an interactive map which students drag and drop onto different elements. The beginner level games asks has student place continents and the poles in the correct position. As the games levels progress students have to place countries and capitals in their proper positions. In the Build Planet Earth section students have to place continents, oceans, mountains, and rivers in their proper positions.

Traveler IQ Challenge has 14 interactive geography activities. The activities can be embedded in a blog or website. If it is an option for you, I recommend embedding the activities into your class blog or website to cut down on the number of advertisements that your students see.

UMapper offers a platform for creating your own geography game. UMapper GeoDart is a simple game in which players have to locate the places the you specify. The directions for creating your own GeoDart game are contained in the video below.

What games would you add to this list? Please leave a comment.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
35+ Educational Games and Games Resources
Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration
30+ Alternatives to YouTube

Neat Chat - Quickly Create an Ad-free Chatroom

Neat Chat is a free chatroom service that could be a very good alternative to Chatzy and Tiny Chat. Neat Chat allows anyone to create a chatroom in seconds. To create a Neat Chat chatroom simply enter a nickname on the Neat Chat homepage, click "start group," and your room is created. Your chatroom is assigned its own unique url. You can invite people to your chatroom via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

Applications for Education
Neat Chat is an ad-free chatroom service that you could use for hosting backchannel discussions in your classroom. You could also use Neat Chat to offer "online office hours" to your students.

I've previously written about using backchannel discussions in my classroom during the viewing of a movie as well as during a note-taking exercise. You can read those posts here and here. In short, I've found that hosting backchannel chats enables me to give more attention to each student's individual questions.

You may also be interested in reading Five Platforms for Classroom Back-channel Chat.

NASA Lunar Simulator on iPhone and iPod Touch

I don't often write posts about iPhone apps or iPod Touch apps, but today I learned about one that I had to pass along. NASA recently released an iPhone app that they're calling the Lunar Electric Rover Simulator. As I don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch myself, I haven't been able to try it yet, but the Lunar Electric Rover Simulator looks like it could be a fun learning experience for students that have iPhones or iPod Touches. The app is free and can be found in the app store where you can see more screen shots of the app in action.

Mashable, which is where I learned about the app, has some more information that you may be interested in reading.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Explore Google Sky
View the Moon in Google Earth
NASA eClips - Educational Videos for K-12 Students

NY Times - Inside the Olympic Action

The New York Times has good collection of videos and audio slideshows designed to take you "inside the action" of Winter Olympic events. The videos will take you down a luge run at 90mph, through a snowboard half pipe, and down the men's downhill ski course. Along the way athletes and coaches explain intricacies of each event and how the athletes maneuver through their events.

Applications for Education
Inside the Action could be a good resource for learning about Olympic events from an "insider's perspective." You might want to use these videos in conjunction with a Google Maps Street View tour of the Winter Olympics.