Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Put a Video Editor on Your School's Website

In Making Videos on the Web I included directions for using the web-based video editor JayCut. That guide was designed for average computer-using classroom teachers, not computer science folks who enjoy tinkering. Therefore, in my guide I left out the fact that JayCut's API is free and allows you to put the JayCut video editor on your own website. Using their API you can install JayCut's video editor on your PHP-based website. Last week JayCut posted step-by-step directions for installing their video editor on your website. JayCut says you can do this in five minutes, but that assumes you have better coding knowledge and skills than I do (which is to say you have some skills).

Applications for Education
If your school district has the personell and technical resources to install the JayCut editor on your school's website, you could have a great, free, cloud-based video editor. This could mean that your students could work on video creation projects from any Internet-connected computer regardless of which operating system they're using.

My PLN and The Butter Battle Book

I have a confession to make, my lesson plans don't always go as I planned or hoped they would. In fact, sometimes they collapse like a cake taken out of the oven too early. Yesterday, that is exactly what happened in my first class of the day.

My original plan was to have my students do an online KWL activity about the Cold War. We haven't discussed the Cold War in class this year so this was going to be an introductory activity. The only problem with this plan was that I made the fatal (to my lesson plan) assumption that my students had some prior knowledge about the Cold War. They had very little prior knowledge about the Cold War. Fortunately, my PLN came to my rescue.

When I realized that my plan wasn't going as I hoped, I jumped on Twitter and asked,
"Doing an intro to Cold War w/ my class, can you help? Which event(s) of the Cold War were most significant/ memorable in your lifetime?"
My hope was that the responses would lead my students investigate some of the events mentioned in the responses, it did. But, I also got some unexpected responses of "read them the Butter Battle Book." I didn't have the book available, but I did have YouTube available. Sure enough I found a video of the Butter Battle Book on YouTube. So we stopped the KWL activity and watched the video. It turned out to be a great introduction to Cold War concepts. Thank you to everyone in my PLN that helped me out yesterday. As Angela Maiers says, together we are smarter.

How has your PLN made you a better teacher? Has your PLN salvaged a lesson plan or made your lessons better? Please share.

Skype Introduces Group Calling

Skype enables classrooms around the world to connect with each other. This week Skype announced a new beta version of their product for Windows-based computers that will enable three way, four way, and five way calling. Now Skype allows more than just two classrooms to connect to each other.

It's important to note that Skype's five way calling is a beta product so you might run into some bugs. Skype also reports that five way calling will require a relatively new computer and a fast, uncluttered Internet connection.

Applications for Education
Classrooms participating in programs like Around the World in 80 Schools, could benefit from five way calling in Skype. Now more classrooms can connect in less time. Perhaps in the future we'll see Around the World in 800 Schools.

If Skype isn't an option for you, you may want to explore 3 Ways Other than Skype to Bring Experts Into Class.

Week in Review - Most Popular Items

It's a beautiful Saturday morning in Maine. I hope the weekend brings you the rest and relaxation you deserve. If your rest and relaxation calls for catching up on your favorite blogs, here are seven posts that were popular this week.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Dozens of Science and Social Studies Games
2. Social Media Revolution & FYI Kids Don't Email
3. Monkey Machine - Experiment With Rhythms
4. Augmented Reality in Plain English
5. HootCourse - A Classroom Application for Twitter
6. Compare the Oil Spill's Size to Your Town's Size
7. Spelling Match Game

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And if you're wondering about the picture, it's four of the seventeen goslings that are being raised in the pond next to my house. (Click it to enlarge)