Friday, March 25, 2011

Three New Ways to Create Videos in YouTube

Last June YouTube launched a video editor for creating mash-ups of your video clips or editing raw video footage. This week YouTube introduced the integration of three video creation services. Now you can create videos using Stupeflix, Go Animate, and Xtranormal within your YouTube account. To use these services just go to and authorize one or all of the services.

I've reviewed all three of these video creation services in the past and each one is easy to use. Xtranormal and Go Animate both allow users to create animated videos without drawing. To create videos in Xtranormal and Go Animate users select settings, choose characters, and type the dialogues they want spoken. To create a video in Stupeflix users mix together images, text, and sound to make a slideshow-style video. Learn more about Stupeflix in the video below.

There are some limits to the free versions of the services offered by Xtranormal, Go Animate, and Stupeflix. Xtranormal and Go Animate charge for additional characters and some "premium" design elements. Stupeflix charges if you want to create a video longer than one minute in length.

Applications for Education
If students are allowed to access YouTube in your school, these new integrated services could be useful for short video projects. Students can work on developing and presenting dialogue through the creation of animated videos in Xtranormal or Go Animate. Stupeflix could be used to create book trailers.

Friendly Reminder: Back-up Your Files

Earlier today I saw a look of panic and horror on the face of one of my colleagues when he realized that he couldn't find his 8gb flash drive anywhere. Months ago he went through the same feelings before eventually finding the flash drive in the woodpile at his house. At that time I gave him another flash drive and told him to make copies of his files, he didn't. Nor did he move them to an online storage service like Drop Box. I hope he finds that flash drive soon because in his words, "losing all of those files could be career ending."

If you haven't backed-up your most important files in a while, do yourself a favor this weekend and take some time to do it. Even if you have files saved in the cloud (Google Docs, Zoho, Drop Box) it's still a good idea to have an offline copy you can access. And if you're a blogger, take a few minutes to create an offline file of your blog entries.

Want to learn more about Drop Box? Watch the video below for an introduction.

Goodbye Instructify, We'll Miss You

I just read the news, Instructify is signing off. For more than three years Instructify has been one of the first blogs I read in my RSS reader every day. According to the post by Instructify editor Bill Ferris, the archives of the site will stay online for a while, but no new content will be added. If you have never visited Instructify, I do recommend browsing their archives for some great educational technology resources.

The Week in Rap

It has been a while since I've posted The Week in Rap. For those that haven't seen it before, The Week in Rap is a short overview of some of the week's biggest stories in politics, business, sports, and entertainment. I've found that the video is a good jumping-off point for classroom discussions and independent student research about current events. Watch this week's episode below.

CNN Student News - Gas, Cars, and Peanuts

This morning's episode of CNN Student News has a couple of stories that students could find relevant to their lives and enjoy a lively discussion about. The lead story is about US actions in Libya and how those actions could affect gas prices in the US. The closing story this morning is about a Florida school's handling of peanut allergies. The school has put some policies in place that have parents and students complaining that the policies infringe on the freedom of other students. Watch the story in the video below or read the transcript here.