Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Creative Fire - A Next Vista for Learning Video Contest

Next Vista for Learning is a video sharing site unlike any other. Videos hosted on Next Vista are created by teachers and students for the purpose of sharing good news and good lessons with other teachers and students. Throughout the year Next Vista for Learning hosts challenges that are designed to get students and teachers thinking about creative video projects. The latest contest is called Creative Fire!

The Creative Fire video contest asks students and teachers to produce videos demonstrating a creative approach to teaching a concept a student might encounter in elementary, middle, or high school. Videos should be no more than 90 seconds long. Submissions are due by December 17th and bonus points are awarded for submissions made by November 14th. You can find the scoring guidelines here and a submission checklist here. In addition to the usual gift card prizes, this contest has a bonus prize of a GoPro camera that you can win if your video is created through WeVideo.

You and your students can find inspiration for video projects by taking a look at some of the finalists for last year's videos of the year on Next Vista. You may also want to take a look at Next Vista for Learning's list of hints for video projects.

One of my favorite Next Vista videos of all time is embedded below.

How to Create Stop Motion Videos With JellyCam

In my post about using paper toys in video projects I briefly mentioned a tool called JellyCam. JellyCam is a free program (available for Mac and Windows) for creating stop motion movies. In the video below I demonstrate how to use JellyCam to create a simple stop motion movie.

JellyCam uses the Adobe Air platform. If you don't have Adobe Air Runtime it takes just a couple of minutes to install.

Explore the Pyramids and More In the Latest Street View Imagery in Google Maps

The latest update to Google Maps Street View imagery was released earlier today. The update features Street View imagery of the Pyramids of Giza. Although the imagery doesn't take you inside the pyramids, you can view them from outside just like a tourist in Egypt. Take a look at the video below for an overview of the new imagery.

View Larger Map

Paper Toys and Video Creation

Foldify is an iPad app that has been popular for a few years. Foldify is an iPad app that students can use to design all kinds of 3D figurines on their iPads then print them out to fold and assemble. I first learned about Foldify from a student who used it to create a bunch of characters and buildings that he then used in a video that he made. In his video he and other students provided the voices for each character. Unfortunately, Foldify is not a free app and it is only available for iPads. However, I have found a free alternative to Foldify.

Paper Toys is a website that provides free printable templates and directions for making paper models of all kinds of buildings, cars, boats, people, and landmarks. The directions are PDFs that you can download and print. The templates range from simple hats and dolls to complex structures like the White House, the Great Wall of China, and the Eiffel Tower.

Applications for Education
In much the same way that my student used Foldify to create characters for his video, your students could use Paper Toys to create models to use their video stories. After making the models and writing their video scripts students can shoot and the video with any number of free apps including WeVideo, iMovie (included free on new iPads), or JellyCam.

Lesson Plans and a Road Map for Teaching Search Strategies

Last month I published an infographic about simple search strategies that students can use to improve their approaches to performing Google searches. While the infographic is good, your students may need help understanding when and how to implement the strategies outlined in it. In that case, take a look at the fifteen search lesson plans offered on the Google Search Education site.

On the Google Search Education site you will find beginner, intermediate, and advanced lesson plans for five skill sets. Those skill sets are picking the right search terms, understanding search results, narrowing a search to get the best results, searching for evidence for research tasks, and evaluating credibility of sources. A lesson plan map is available to help you identify which skill sets fall into the beginner, intermediate, and advanced categories. The lesson plan map also includes references to alignment with Common Core standards.

An interactive search road map:
The Kentucky Virtual Library hosts an interactive map of the research process for students. The map, titled How To Do Research, walks students through the research process from start to finish with every step along the way. One of the things about this map that school librarians will like is that it is not focused solely on web research. How To Do Research includes a good section about using library catalogs, books, and magazines.

A video overview of search strategies:
A good resource that can help students understand web search strategies is Common Craft's Web Search Strategies in Plain English.

The video can be viewed online. If you would like a copy to download or embed into your blog like I have done above you will need to have a Common Craft subscription.

Disclosure: I do have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft.