Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Three Tools for Creating Multimedia Year-in-Review Collages

In my previous post I shared some tools for creating year-in-review videos. A video might not be the format in which you want students to summarize the year. You may find that a collage of images, videos, sounds, and text is a better format for your students. Here are three tools that could be used to create multimedia year-in-review collages.

PicCollage is my go-to iPad and Android app for creating multimedia collages. It is a free app that allows you to quickly arrange pictures, video, text, and stickers into collages. From the app you can share your collage to Google Drive, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, and many other file sharing services. You can also simply save your collage to your tablet's camera roll. A video tutorial on PicCollage is embedded below.

PicMonkey is a web-based tool for creating image collages. If you import your PicMonkey collage into ThingLink you can create a multimedia collage. I demonstrate that process in the video embedded below.

If you want all of your students to work together on the development of one collage, Padlet might be the tool for you. You could create a Padlet wall to which your students post videos, images, links, and files summarizing the highlights of the year. The video embedded below provides an overview of how to use Padlet.

Three Options for Creating Year-in-Review Videos

As the end of 2014 approaches we'll start to see most news organizations publish videos that review the biggest stories of the year. Some of these videos will feature serious news while others will be of a lighter nature. Instead of waiting for year-in-review videos to appear on the web, challenge your students to create their own year-in-review videos. Students' year-in-review videos could be about local news, national or global news, entertainment, sports, or a combination of all of these areas.

Three free tools students can use to create year-in-review videos:
1. The simplest of the options on this list is to use the YouTube photo slideshow tool. The YouTube photo slideshow creation tools allow you to specify the length of time that each image is displayed for. After uploading your images you can use the annotations tool to add as much text as you like to each frame of your video. Directions for creating a YouTube photo slideshow are available here.

2. WeVideo is a online video creation tool that has been featured many times on Free Technology for Teachers. In the WeVideo editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. What makes WeVideo collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. The WeVideo Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects.

3. Weavly is a video creation tool that provides a simple drag and drop interface that allows you to search for, trim and combine tracks without ever leaving the Weavly site. You can mix together video and audio from YouTube, Vine, and SoundCloud. You can also add animated GIFs from Loopcam, Tumblr, and Imgur. To start creating your Weavly video perform a search for video content. When you find a video clip that you like drag it to the Weavly editor where you can adjust the start and end times of the clip. Then move on to adding sounds by search for sounds and draggin them to the Weavly editor where you can again trim the start and end times. Finally, you can add some animated GIFs by searching for them and dragging them into the editor. You can repeat all of these steps as many times as you like to create your video.

How to Build Your Own Custom Image Search Engine

Flickr can be a good place to find Creative Commons-licensed images to use in multimedia projects. That said, Flickr does have its flaws and some inappropriate pictures can slip through its filters. One way to avoid this problem is to build your own Google Custom Search Engine. In your search engine you can specify the image hosts that you want your search engine to index. When your students use your search engine the only content that will appear will be from the sites that you have deemed appropriate for them to view. You could start building your search engine with this list of sites that host public domain and Creative Commons-licensed content.

How to create a Google Custom Search Engine.

Important note for building an image search engine: on the page in which you specify the sites to index you must enable Image Search.
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