Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Art of Movie Sounds

A key element in most good movies is the soundtrack of that movie. There is more to a sound track than a compilation of songs. The sounds of horses galloping, a crowd cheering, or the bustle of a busy subway are also sound elements that can become part of what makes a movie great. The people that create those sounds are called foley artists. In the video below foley artist Gary Hecker demonstrates and explains the creation of many sounds heard in movies.

SoundWorks Collection: Gary Hecker - Veteran Foley Artist from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

H/T to Open Culture.

Applications for Education
If you have students creating videos, it might be worth showing them this short video to help them get ideas for creating sound effects and how those sound effects can influence the way their video production is perceived by viewers.

A New Student Video Contest Hosted by Next Vista

Next Vista, a moderated video sharing site for students, recently announced the launch of another student video contest. The contest is called the Nebraska 90 Video Contest. The "Nebraska" part of the title reflects that the winners of the contest will be chosen live at the Nebraska Educational Technology Association's annual conference (I'll be presenting there too). The "90" part of the title reflects that submissions need to be 90 seconds or less. The video should demonstrate and or explain an academic concept that students are likely to encounter in elementary school, middle school, or high school. Contest entries are due by Monday, April 18. Read all of the contest rules here.

Click here to watch one of the videos that was a finalist in the previous Next Vista video contest.

Applications for Education
One of my US History classes just started work on a project in which they are each making a short video about the US government's policies toward Native Americans. Entering this contest might give my students a little extra incentive to put their best editing efforts forward. My students are using JayCut to create their videos, but there are plenty of other ways to make videos using web-based tools.

The True Size of Africa

Africa is a huge continent, but just looking at a map of the world students might not realize just how big it is in comparison to other continents. Through Jim Gates's blog I found an image that puts into perspective just how big Africa really is. As you can see in the image below (created by Kai Krause and released into public domain), China, the United States, India, and many smaller countries all fit within the boundaries of Africa. The image is huge so to make it navigable I dropped it into Zoom.it before embedding it.

Applications for Education
If you're teaching world geography this image could be a good one to demonstrate to students how large Africa is. Alternatively, give students a world map and ask them to try to fit as many countries as possible into Africa.

February's Most Popular Posts

February was a busy month for me capped-off by a great week of working with teachers in Nebraska and Alaska. The picture to the left is one that I took while walking back to my hotel from a Starbucks in Anchorage. There aren't too many cities that offer that kind of view just steps from Starbucks. Thank you to everyone that has spread the word about Free Technology for Teachers. Without you, this blog's only readers would be people related to me.

These were the most popular posts in February:
1. 11 Mathematics Resources to Try in 2011
2. Art Teachers, You Have to See This!
3. My Fake Wall - Create a Fake Facebook Wall
4. Learn Advanced Uses of Form in Google Docs
5. 38 Free Printable Graphic Organizers
6. New Google Docs Tools to Try
7. 10 Ways for Teachers & Students to Build Websites
8. InClass - An App for Text, Audio, and Video Notes
9. Little Bird Tales - Digital Storytelling for Young Students
10. Seven Free Platforms for Teaching Online Courses

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Magnetic Poetry for Kids

Walk into any gift shop or toy shop and you're likely to find a set of magnetic words for sale. Slap them on your refrigerator and soon your whole family is having word fun. The Magnetic Poetry website offers kids and adults the opportunity to have that same word fun online. Magnetic Poetry's Kids' Poetry Page provides a bank of words that students can drag onto a blank canvas to create poems. There are four word kits that students can pick from to create poems and stories; First Words, Kids Kit, Best Friends, and Storymaker. After creating a poem or story students can save their creations online, email them to friends, and or contribute to the public poem gallery.

Applications for Education
Magnetic Poetry offers teachers fifteen activity ideas for using Magnetic Poetry with pre-readers, early readers, and readers. The activities list includes individual activities like word searches and group activities like tag team writing.