Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The United Nations Presents 2012 in Review

I'm sure that we'll be seeing a lot of "year in review" videos released over the next couple of weeks. Some  like Rewind YouTube Style will be fun looks at popular culture and others will have a more serious tone like this one from the United Nations. United Nations Year in Review highlights the major UN news stories of 2012 from natural disasters to political unrest. A PDF of the video's transcript can be downloaded here (link opens a PDF).

Applications for Education
The United Nations Year in Review could be a good video to use in a social studies lesson to either remind students about events of the year or to prompt them to investigate the events in the video in more detail.

WeVideo Offers 10 Tips for Creating Great Videos

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a lengthy review of the suite of online video editing tools from WeVideo. This week WeVideo published a blog post containing ten tips for creating great Christmas morning videos. While the theme of post is Christmas morning, the tips in the post can really be applied to recording and editing videos for any live occasion whether it's a holiday party, a birthday party, or a fun school event to celebrate reaching an academic goal.

You'll have to visit the WeVideo blog for the full list. I've only copied in two of them below. 

Ask Leading Questions but Don’t Narrate.

Don’t Make Your Video at the Expense of the Holiday.

Video Editing Service Pixorial Drastically Increases Free Storage

Pixorial is an online video editing service that I tried and liked this summer. The drawback was that the free plan only allowed you 1GB of storage. Today, Pixorial announced that the free plan now provides 7GB of storage. Additionally, Pixorial has brought back a free plan for educators that provides a free pro account for teachers in addition to the 7GB free accounts for students. You do have to fill out an application form to get the educator plan.

Here's what I had to say about Pixorial back in August:
The thing that I like the most about Pixorial is that the video creation and editing tools are laid out in an intuitive user interface. At no point was I wondering what any of the editing tools did or what I needed to click on next.

The only part of Pixorial that I found slightly confusing at the beginning was a prompt for installing the Pixorial desktop uploader. It appeared to me that I had to install that uploader, but it turns out that I didn't. The uploader just makes it quicker and easier to upload multiple files to your account at once.

To create a video in Pixorial you can upload pictures and raw video footage then organize that media into the sequence in which you want it to appear. You can insert transitions between elements by selecting them from the transitions gallery. If you would like to add a soundtrack to your production you can select one from the Pixorial gallery or upload your own audio files. Pixorial also makes it easy to add text to each picture or video that you upload. Just click on "overlay text" in the video editor when you're viewing the element that you want to add text to.

My Link Cloud Updates to Become a Better iGoogle Alternative

When Google announced the closure of iGoogle earlier this year many people went looking for an alternative. One of the alternatives that I liked this fall is My Link Cloud.This week My Link Cloud released some updates that will make it better than it was before.

My Link Cloud allows you to create start pages with your favorite links.Within your account you can create multiple start pages. Each start page can have a different color scheme. Organizing the links on your pages is a simple drag and drop process. To delete a link just right click on it then confirm that you want to delete it from your start page. One of the recent updates to My Link Cloud allows you to add sticky notes to your start pages. You can now add frames to your pages too. The frames allow you to group items on your pages. And now you upload your own custom background images instead of having to use the default My Link Cloud backgrounds.

Applications for Education
My Link Cloud has released a short video demonstrating how teachers and students can use the service. Watch the one minute video below.

67 Original Short Films About Theodore Roosevelt

According to the Library of Congress Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to have large portions of his career highlights captured in motion pictures. 67 of those motion picture clips can be found on the Library of Congress YouTube channel. The clips are silent and short. Watch for the text in the clips to learn a bit about President Roosevelt. I particularly like his response to an invitation to fly in a bi-plane in this film (fast forward to the 1:04 mark to find it).

Image source: Flickr The Commons.

Crash Course - The Great Gatsby

Earlier this month I shared the news that John Green had started a new Crash Course series on English Literature. The latest addition to the course gives us a look at The Great Gatsby. The video is labeled as part one so it's probably safe to assume that part two will be released shortly. These videos won't replace actually reading and discussing the works with teachers, but they can provide students with some help in understanding the major plot lines of The Great Gatsby. Watch the new episode below.