Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 Common Craft Videos That Should Be In Your Training Library

I've spent the last couple of days with Alice Barr, Sarah Sutter, and Thomas Cooper at MLTI's summer conference working with teachers interested in learning about Google tools in their classrooms. The bulk of my responsibility was to help people create blogs. At the beginning of both of my sessions today I asked if anyone had heard of Common Craft. Surprisingly to me, only a couple of hands went up. I then showed Blogs in Plain English. My experience today reminded me that somethings that I take for granted and think everyone knows about, are often still new materials to many people.

I like Common Craft videos for the clear simplicity of their presentations. For that reason I actually purchase copies of the videos to save on my hard drive. I encourage you to do the same if you use their videos for trainings. (No, I do not have any financial affiliation with Common Craft). Here are three Common Craft videos that everyone responsible for teaching technology to school faculty should have in their libraries.

Blogs in Plain English.

Wikis in Plain English.

RSS in Plain English.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Great Video - Study Like a Scholar, Scholar
Learn It In 5 - Tech How-to Videos
Seven Videos All Teachers Should Watch

Video ANT - Discuss and Annotate Videos

Video ANT is a free tool developed by Brad Hosack at the University of Minnesota for the purpose of providing a platform on which students and teachers view and annotate videos. Video ANT plays your specified video and while watching you and your students can and marks along a timeline and write comments alongside the video. Annotations are archived and emailed to you when you've completed the annotation process. Video ANT works with YouTube videos as well as with some video files that you can upload to the site. Click here to watch a screencast created by Brad Hosack of Video ANT in action.

Thanks to Desert Diver on Twitter for sharing this great resource along with a sample of one of his annotated Video ANT videos.

Applications for Education
In the past I've used back-channels while my students are watching videos so that they can discuss the footage as they're seeing it. Annotating videos with Video ANT could take that process a step further by creating an archive that matches the various points in the footage.

Viddler also allows you to annotate videos, but the drawback to Viddler is that you're somewhat limited as to the length of comments you can write. Also Viddler may be blocked in some schools. Video ANT provides a clean, easy-to-use interface in which you and your students can annotate and discuss videos.

Knotebooks - Create Multimedia Math & Science Articles

Knotebooks is a neat service that allows users to create, customize, and share lessons composed of videos, images, and texts from all over the Internet. Knotebooks uses the term "lesson" to describe what users build, but I think a more appropriate description is "multimedia reference article."

Using Knotebooks you can organize information to create a reference article for yourself or to share with others. You can also browse the articles published by others, add them to your account for later reference, and or alter the articles that others have written to suit your needs. For example if I find and article in Knotebooks about Newton's Laws but some parts of the article are too difficult for me to comprehend, I can click the option for "easier content" and Knotebooks will change the article to meet my needs. Knotebooks is a great concept, learn more about it and see it in action in the video below.

Applications for Education
Creating Knotebooks could be a great way for mathematics and science students to build multimedia reference libraries for themselves and for their classmates. The feature that I think makes Knotebooks really shine is the one click article change that gives students instant access to easier or harder verbiage and concepts.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Interactive Periodic Table
A Taste of Med School - Stanford Mini Med School
Canvas Mol - 3D Models of Molecules

One Click Document Translation in Google Docs

Google Docs has had a translation option for quite a while, but until now you had to copy and paste your text in order to create a new translated document. Yesterday, Google announced that in the new version of Google Docs you can now create a new translated document with just one click. To create a new translated copy of your document just select "tools" then "translate document." Google Docs will then prompt you to select a language. Once you've specified a language a new translated document will appear in your list of Google Docs. Google Docs now supports translation for 53 languages.

Applications for Education
If you have students that live in homes in which English is not the primary language, the new Google Docs translation option could be very useful. Now when you need to send a letter home, you can easily print it out in multiple languages.