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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Five Options for Creating Animated Videos on Your Chromebook

Creating animated videos can be a great way for students to explain a science concept, to tell a history story, or to bring to life short stories they've written. One of last week's most popular posts was about how to do those things on an iPad. Chromebook users have some good tools available to them too.

Option 1: Toontastic 3D
If you have a Chromebook that supports the use of Android apps, Toontastic 3D is a tool you must try. On Toontastic 3D students can pick from a variety of story setting templates or they can create their own. Once they have established a background setting students then select cartoon characters to use in their stories. Students can choose from a wide array of customizable cartoon characters or they can create their own from scratch. Once characters are placed into the story scenes students can begin recording themselves talking while moving the characters around in each scene. Students can swap characters between scenes, change the appearance of characters between scenes, and move characters from one scene to the next. Check this list to see if your Chromebook supports the use of Android apps.

Option 2: Animaker Edify
Animaker Edify is the classroom version of the popular Animaker animation creation tool. To create a video on Animaker Edify students start by selecting “video” from the menu of project options. Then they can choose to make a video by following a template or by building from scratch. Creating a video in Animaker Edify is done on a frame-by-frame basis. Each frame can be designed by dragging and dropping individual characters, speech bubbles, background scenes, and clip art into the scene. Animaker Edify provides tools for animating each character. For example, you can make a character appear to be running across the screen, walking, or talking. You can build as many characters and animation actions into each scene as you need. Once you have built the frames for your video you can add sound effects, music, or narration. Animake Edify provides a large gallery of royalty-free music and sound effects that you can use. But you can also record your own voice by using the built-in voice-over capability.

Option 3: PowToon
Creating a video on PowToon is similar to making one on Animaker Edify. It has been a popular platform for creating animated videos for many years. In PowToon students create animated videos on a scene-by-scene basis through a series of slides. Students can choose background scenes, characters, and scene objects from a huge media gallery. After configuring the scenes of their stories, students can record voiceovers or play music in the background.

Option 4: Animatron
Animatron is a nice tool for creating animated videos and images. To create a video on Animatron you start by dragging and dropping characters on a background scene and then choosing how long each character will be displayed in a scene. You can also set the length of time for each character in a scene to be in motion. By using Animatron's timeline editor you can make objects appear and disappear from a scene. The best feature of Animatron is that you can record audio directly over the animation. The built-in recording tools lets you see the scene while you're recording so that you can precisely synchronize each scene with its audio track.

Option 5: MySimpleShow
MySimpleshow is a free tool for creating Common Craft-style explanatory videos. MySimpleshow requires you to write a script for your video before you can start adding illustrations and sounds to it. In MySimpleshow you will find a wide variety of script templates that will help you plan your video. The script is written in chapters that become the outline for your video. After you have written your script MySimpleshow will take your chapters and give you suggested images and animations to use. The suggestions are based on the keywords in your script. You also have the option to upload your own visuals to use in your video. Adding narration to your video is the last step in the MySimpleshow editor. There is an automated text-to-speech narration that will read your script as narration for your video. Completed videos can be downloaded and or directly uploaded to YouTube from MySimpleshow.

Disclosure: Animaker and Mysimpleshow have been advertisers on this blog at various times. 

A Timeline JS Timeline of Wall Street

Timeline JS is one of my favorite tools for social studies teachers and students. It's one of six excellent storytelling tools produced by Knight Lab at Northwestern University. Timeline JS lets anyone create a multimedia timeline by entering data into a Google Sheets template. It's used by teachers, by students, and by media companies like CNN, Time, and WGBH. In fact, WGBH used it to produce this history of Wall Street timeline.

The History of Wall Street is a concise timeline of the origin of Wall Street and its role in American banking and politics. By scrolling through the timeline students will pick up little bits of information that may help them connect the past to the present. For example, a point on the timeline features Charles Dow's development of what is now known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The History of Wall Street timeline was developed as a supplement to the American Experience film The Bombing of Wall Street. The film is about the 1920 bombing in front the Morgan Bank.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Geography, Portfolios, and Programming - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where I'm home after spending a few days in Key West, Florida where I had the privilege to work with some energetic teachers at Sigsbee Charter School. The trip laid the groundwork for some exciting work we're going to do in the fall.

As much as I enjoy traveling and working with teachers in schools all over the country, it's always great to come home to my toddler running up to hug me.

My posting schedule got a little off this week. I'll be back to four posts a day starting on Monday. In the meantime, take a look at this week's most popular posts.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Nine Fun and Challenging Geography Games
2. ClassDojo Introduces a New Digital Portfolio Option
3. Three Free iPad Apps for Creating Animated Movies
4. Animaker Edify - Easily Create Animated Videos In an Online Classroom
5. Math Playground - Hundreds of Math Games & Instructional Videos
6. An Interactive Story Building Lesson
7. Three Ways to Develop Programming Skills This Summer

Bring Me to Your School
I have three openings left in my summer schedule for on-site professional development workshops. I can provide professional development workshops on G Suite for Education, Teaching History With Technology, and many other topicsClick here to learn more or send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to book me today.

Book me for a G Suite for Education workshop and in addition to my on-site training your whole school gets access to my online G Suite for Teachers course

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
MySimpleShow offers a great way to create animated videos for free.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Turn CSV Files Into Heat Maps

Heat Map Tool is a tool for easily creating heat maps or incident maps from a CSV file. To create a heat map all you need to do is upload a CSV file then specify your desired display attributes like scale, colors, and opacity. You can edit the display attributes of your map whenever you like. If you're wondering how to create a CSV file you can do so by exporting from a spreadsheet in Google Documents or exporting from an Excel file. Click here for directions on exporting from Excel. The free version of Heat Map Tool allows you to have up to 100 data points on your map and up to 500 hits per day on your map.

Applications for Education
Heat Map Tool could be a good tool for students to use to create visualizations of geography-related data that they collect. Students could gather and display data about people's habit in their community or throughout the world. For example, you could have students gather data about dialects and display that information on a map.

Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners - Practical Ed Tech Webinar Next Week

From creating and scoring meaningful formative assessments to organizing school events, Google Forms and Google Sheets are powerful tools to help you get things done. But you need to know where to start. That's why next Thursday at 4pm Eastern Time I'm hosting a webinar designed to help you learn how to use and get the most out of Google Forms and Sheets in your classroom.

If you’ve ever read about or seen a neat use of Google Forms or Google Sheets and thought, “I want to do that,” Google Forms and Sheets for Beginners is for you.

When you attend you’ll learn:

  • How to create multimedia formative assessments in Google Forms.
  • The common mistakes made by new users and how to avoid them.
  • How to use Google Sheets to make rubrics and deliver feedback to students.
  • Methods for using Google Forms and Sheets to organize school events like field trips, PTA meetings, and extracurricular club meetings.
  • How you and your students can use Google Forms and Sheets to gather, organize, and visualize information.

You should register if:

  • You’re new to using Google Forms and Google Sheets.
  • It has been a while since you last used Google Forms or Google Sheets.
    • Have you tried all the new features added in the last six months?
(It will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live presentation)