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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Flip Your Classroom With eduClipper and PixiClip

Teachers interested in trying the flipped classroom model often ask me for recommendations for video creation tools. They also often ask me for ideas on sharing videos without using YouTube. One answer to both of these questions is to use eduClipper.

On the free eduClipper iPad app you can create instructional videos on a whiteboard in the Khan Academy style. You can also use the app to create a video in which you annotate an image or document while talking about it. After creating your video you can save it to an eduClipper board that you have shared with your students through the eduClipper classroom setting. Your students can view the videos on their iPads or in the web browsers on their laptops.


Whiteboard and Annotations from AdamBellow on Vimeo.


If you don't have an iPad, PixiClip is a good option for creating simple instructional videos. PixiClip provides a whiteboard space on which you can draw, upload images to mark-up, and type. While adding elements to your PixiClip whiteboard you can talk and or record a video of yourself talking. In fact, you can't use the whiteboard without at least recording your voice at the same time. Recordings can be shared via social media, embedded into blog posts, or you could grab the link and include it in an eduClipper board that you have shared with your students.


Disclosure: I am an advisor to eduClipper with a very small equity stake in the company.

Flipagram - Telling Stories Through Pictures

Flipagram is a free Android and iOS app for telling stories through pictures. Like its name implies, Flipagram lets you import pictures from your Instagram account to create a video flipbook of images set to music. Instagram is not the only source from which you can pull images. You can also pull images directly from your device's camera roll or from your Facebook account.

After choosing images for your Flipagram you can rearrange them into the order that you think will best tell your story. After arranging the image sequence choose some music to complete your project.

Applications for Education
I look at Flipagram the same way that I look at Animoto and similar simple video creation tools. They're nice tools that students can use to quickly create visual autobiographies, to create a summary about a school field trip, or to highlight some of their favorite parts of the school year. You might also have students use a tool like Flipagram to create digital postcards and digital greeting cards.

Start.me - Your Favorite Sites, Feeds, Calendars, and Social Networks In One Place

Start.me is a free service for organizing all of your favorite sites, RSS feeds, and social networks in one place. The easiest way to describe Start.me is to call it an iGoogle replacement. On Start.me you can create as many start pages or homepages as you like. On each page you can include widgets for RSS feeds, bookmarks, feeds from social networks, and you can include calendars from your Google Account. Start.me offers a browser bookmarklet that you can use to add content to your start pages at any time.


The first time that you use Start.me you will be greeted by a default start page. To remove a widget from the default page just click on the edit option in the upper-right corner of the widget. From that same edit menu you can also remove an element of a widget without removing the entire widget. If you would like to add a widget use the "add" menu in the top-left corner of the page. The "add" menu is the same menu that provides the option to create additional start pages within your account.

Applications for Education
I have never been a big user of start pages, but I know that a lot teachers like to use them as a place to organize the resources they use with students on a regular basis. The appeal of Start.me for those teachers could be the option to create multiple start pages. By using that option teachers could create a different start page for each of the courses that they teach.

Complete These Free Courses to Become a Better Researcher

A couple of summers ago Google offered a MOOC about search skills. The content of that course is still available online for anyone to use at his or her own pace.

Power Searching With Google provides six units of study on search strategies. Each unit includes slides, videos, and text. Examples of how each strategy works in practice are provided by Daniel Russell, Google's search anthropologist. One of the videos from the course is embedded below.


Advanced Power Searching With Google is full of challenges through which you can test your power searching skills. The challenges include helpful videos and texts to consult when you get stuck on a challenge. When you think that you have successfully completed a challenge, you can check your answer before moving to your next challenge.

Applications for Education
Whether you are looking to brush-up on your search skills or you are looking for search lessons to share with your students, Google's Power Searching courses are valuable resources. I've watched many of Daniel Russell's videos and read many of blog posts about search strategies. Every time that I watch one of his videos or read one of his posts I come away with a new little nugget of information that helps me become a better researcher. Many of the strategies aren't complicated, but knowing when to employ them goes a long way toward becoming a better researcher.

Even if you don't use the entirety of these courses, you and your students could glean a lot information by trying the Advanced Power Searching challenges.

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