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Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Create YouTube Photo Slideshows - A Good Alternative to Animoto

Animoto is an excellent tool for creating audio slideshows. But there are some limitations to it that some teachers don't like. Most notable of those limitations is the time limit (30 seconds unless you get an Animoto for Education account), lack of space for text, and that students have to remember a username and password to use it. The YouTube slideshow tool provides a tool for creating audio slideshows without those three limitations of Animoto.

YouTube Photo Slideshows don't have a time limit other than the standard 15 minute limit applied to all new YouTube accounts (there are work-arounds for this). YouTube Photo Slideshows allow you to specify the length of time that each image is displayed for. After uploading your images you can use the annotations tool to add as much text as you like to each frame of your video. If you're working in a school that uses Google Apps for Education, your students can use their log-in credentials on YouTube so they don't have to create separate usernames and passwords.

The images below show you how to create a Photo Slideshow on YouTube. (Click the images to view them full size).

Step 1: Log into your YouTube account and click "upload" then click "Photo Slideshow."

Step 2: Select images from your Google Account or upload images from your computer.

Step 3: Drag and drop your images into the sequence in which you want them to appear.

Step 4: Choose a sound track and select the slide display duration and transition.

Step 5: Enter a title, description, and tags for your images. Select a thumbnail and privacy setting.

Step 6: Use the annotations tool to add text to each frame of your video. You can specify the length of time that each annotation is displayed for.

Watch my sample video below.

Create Your Own iPad Magazine on Flipboard

The announcement of Google's plan to shutter Google Reader this summer (July 1) has had people scrambling to try alternative ways to subscribe to and read their favorite blogs. I've been recommending Feedly, but Flipboard is an excellent option too. Last week Flipboard added a new feature that I think a lot of people will like. Flipboard users can now create and share their own digital magazines.

To create your own Flipboard magazine you have to first create a free Flipboard account. Then install the Flipboard bookmarklet in your browser (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari). After you have the bookmarklet installed you can click it whenever you find something you want to add to one of your Flipboard magazines. You can also send items to your magazines from withing the Flipboard app as you read through your feeds. To do that just click the "+" icon while reading an article in Flipboard. You can create public and private magazines for as many topics as you like. For example, you could create a magazine about teaching mathematics and a magazine about school administration.

Personal Flipboard magazines is currently a feature only available to iPad users. Flipboard promises that the feature will be available for Android users soon. 

Adding items from your web browser.

Adding items from your iPad.

Applications for Education
In a social studies class you could have students curate and create a magazine of articles about a current events topic. You could also have students create collections of travel articles as part of unit of study on regions and countries.

Creating and sharing your own Flipboard magazines could be a good way to share your favorite articles with colleagues.

Watch Pandas and More on the National Zoo App

For the last two weeks I've been trying to use Windows 8 as much as possible. I'm using a Lenovo Yoga 13 to try a bunch of Windows 8 apps. One app that I tried last week that I think elementary school teachers and students will like is the National Zoo app for Windows 8. The National Zoo app features live webcam feeds of panda bears, lions and their cubs, tigers, cheetahs, and fish. Because these are live webcams sometimes you'll see the animals and sometimes you won't. If the webcam feed isn't showing the animals when you're viewing it you can switch to the gallery of still imagery.

Applications for Education
I wish that the National Zoo app had more information to accompany the imagery of the animals, but it's still a nice app that elementary school students can use to see some unique animals.

The 10 Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers in March

March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but I woke up to find two inches of fresh snow on the ground. I hope that Mother Nature hasn't played the same April Fool's joke on you. As I do at the end of every month I've put together a list of the ten most popular posts on Free Technology for Teachers.

Here are the most popular posts from March, 2013:
1. Six Free Alternatives to PowerPoint and Keynote
2. Studies of iPad Use in Education
3. 13 Good Chrome Extensions and Apps for Teachers and Students
4. Soo Meta - A Nice, New Way to Create Multimedia Presentations
5. Picking the Best Platform for Your Classroom Blog
6. A Short Guide to Terms Commonly Used in Blogging
7. Street View of Everest Base Camp - And Other Resources for Learning About Mount Everest
8. Ideas for Managing Academic Blogs
9. Awesome Android Apps for Students and Teachers
10. A Simple Yet Powerful Student Blogging Activity

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