Friday, June 24, 2016

Handy, Overlooked YouTube Features

YouTube offers a bunch of handy editing tools that often go overlooked by users. One of those is the option to rotate videos that have been shot in vertical mode when they should have been shot horizontally. Another great feature is the face blurring tool built into the video editor. You can learn about those features and more in my video embedded below.

Ed Tech Start-ups, Please Don't Do This At #ISTE2016

Dear Ed Tech Start-up Marketing Directors:

ISTE 2016 is just a couple of days away. Everyone who is going  is excited about it. Teachers and school administrators are excited to learn new things in workshops, see great presenters, learn about new tech, and connect with friends they've met online and or at previous conferences. ISTE's Blogger Cafe and Social Media lounge is one of the places that conference attendees love to connect and share the exciting new things that they've learned during the conference. Unfortunately, over the last few years there has been a trend of ed tech start-ups who aren't paying for booth space to use the Blogger Cafe and Social Media lounge to fling around flyers, stickers, and other marketing trinkets.

Littering a lounge with marketing trinkets is annoying, but it's not nearly as annoying as the other trend I've noticed over the last few years. That trend is to send low level employees to the lounges to "pick the brains" of conference attendees who are just trying to connect with fellow educators in a relaxed environment. In other words, these ed tech start-ups are trying to conduct market research for free by taking advantage of the polite nature of most educators. Nothing will make a company representative seem more disingenuous than starting up a conversation with me and then when I ask "what do you do?" or "why are you at ISTE?" being given a sales pitch for a start-up. By the way, if you are going to give a pitch, please make sure you're not making this mistake too.

Go ahead and wear your company's tee shirts, sit in on presentations, and have pre-arranged meetings with bloggers and press members (Even the lowest level of ISTE vendor space/ sponsorship will give you access to the contact info for bloggers and press members with a reach of more than 100,000 readers, each). Just be respectful of why so many educators are in those lounges, it's to connect with each other not to hear your sales pitch or have you "pick their brains" for your market research.

If you're now wondering, "how do we connect with people at ISTE 2016 if we can't bug them in the lounges?" here are a couple of low budget marketing strategies that I've seen work well. 1. Tweet a link to a very simple landing page that gives visitors a code for free coffee when they enter an email address. 2. Partnering with another small start-up or two to sponsor a fun evening activity that doesn't involve drinking at a bar.

I hope my advice doesn't foil your plans for ISTE 2016. If it does, I'll make it up to you by letting you pick my brain during a pre-arranged fifteen minute meeting during the conference. Email me at richardbyrne (at) to arrange that meeting.

Three Good Apps for Creating Videos on Android Devices

Creating videos is one of my favorite activities to do with students. I never get tired of seeing what students create and I never tire of their enthusiasm for the creative process. I'm a big fan of letting students choose the video creation tool that they like best rather than prescribing that they all have to use the same app. By letting them choose the app they like the best, they have more flexibility in the format of their final products. That said, some students will look for recommendations from you. These are the Android apps that typically recommend for creating videos on Android devices.

Clarisketch is a free Android app that has great potential for classroom use. The app allows you to take a picture or pull one from your device’s camera roll and then add your voice to it. While you are talking about your picture you can draw on it to highlight sections of it. Completed projects are shared as links to the video file hosted on Clarisketch. You can share the link to your Clarisketch video and have it play on nearly any device that has a web browser.

WeVideo’s Android app allows you to create and edit videos on your tablet or phone. WeVideo offers the most features of the three apps in this list. Those features come with the trade-off that it takes a while to understand all of the intricacies of the app. The baseline use of the app allows you to record live video and edit it by trimming or clipping sections, adding or deleting audio, and by adjusting color saturation. You can also use WeVideo to create a video in a slide-by-slide format to which you add your voice or other audio recording.

Magisto is a free video creation and editing application for Android and iOS. Using Magisto you can mix together raw video clips, pictures, and sounds on your phone or tablet to create a video. The Android version allows you to draw on frames in your video clips and add borders to your frames. Magisto can be integrated with your Google Drive account allowing you to add video clips stored in your Google Drive account to your Magisto projects. All of the processing and editing of Magisto videos happens in the cloud so you will need an internet connection to use the app.

Stop Motion Studio Offers a Great Way to Make Videos

Stop Motion Studio is a great app for creating stop motion videos. The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac operating systems. The basic (free) version of Stop Motion Studio lets you take as many pictures as you like and string them together in a sequence that plays back at a frame-per-second rate of your choosing. Each frame can be edited individually before you produce the final video. You can also add narration to your video in the basic version of the app. Completed projects can be saved to your device and from there you can share them on YouTube or on your favorite social network.

The Stop Motion Studio editor does offer upgrades that can be purchased in the app. Those upgrades include various background themes, templates, and audio track options.

Applications for Education
Creating stopmotion and timelapse videos can be a good way for students to tell a story that they have developed. Stopmtion and timelapse videos can also be helpful when teachers are trying to help students see how a lengthy process like osmosis works. While good stopmotion and timelapse videos can take a long time to create, tools like Stop Motion Studio make that process a bit easier.

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