Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Last Thanksgiving Resource

If you're looking for an educational activity to do with the children in your life on Thanksgiving, National Geographic Kids offers a Mad Libs-like story writing activity. Funny Fill-In generates a funny Thanksgiving story based on the words that kids write in response to Thanksgiving prompts. If you don't use this at home tomorrow, consider bookmarking it for next year.

Stupeflix Wows the Crowd

This morning in one of my classes, my students shared short presentations about reform movements of the 19th century with those of the 20th and 21st centuries. The students had a three minute time limit in which they could present on the topic(s) of their choosing and in a style of their choosing. Most of the students defaulted right to slideshows. But one of my students decided to make a video using Stupeflix. While I did spend some time earlier this year showing kids how to use Animoto, I have not spent any time showing them how to use Stupeflix. My student who choose to use Stupeflix figured it out on her own and shared this video with the class this morning. Although there are a couple of small errors in the video, the video captivated the students in the classroom for two minutes. Next time I give an assignment in which the students can pick their presentation format, I think we'll see more Stupeflix videos.

The following is from an earlier review of Stupeflix.
Stupeflix is a service that allows user to quickly and easily create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. In many ways Stupeflix reminds me of Animoto, but there are a couple of differences that are worth noting.

Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into the sequence that they would like the images to appear. Adding text to the images is easier in Stupeflix than it is on Animoto. Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack so you have to upload your own audio clips. That said the advantage of Stupeflix is that you can use more than one audio clip within the same video.

Applications for Education
Stupeflix is a good tool for students to use to create video montages of images. Stupeflix is a good alternative to old-style, boring slideshows. The captioning and editing tools are easy to use which makes Stupeflix a tool that most students above age 10 could use.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Photo Peach - Quick and Easy Audio Slideshows
Animoto for Education - The End of Boring Slideshows
Animoto vs. Photostory 3 - Side by Side Comparison

America's Wild Spaces

The National Geographic Channel is running a Thanksgiving Day marathon of shows exploring America's Wild Spaces. The day will feature shows about the Appalachian Trail, Death Valley, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Everglades. If you find yourself looking for something educational to watch after eating your turkey or tofurky tomorrow, check out these programs. The beginning of the series about the Appalachian Trail is embedded in the video below.

Applications for Education
Geography teachers who conduct lessons about national parks and America's wild places or have students do research about those places, may want to use these videos to supplement instruction.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The National Parks Digital Storytelling Modules
Every Trail, The Grand Canyon, and National Parks
Create a National Parks Virtual Tour