Monday, October 10, 2016

MySimpleShow Adds a Convenient New Way to Create Flipped Video Lessons

MySimpleShow is a great tool for creating explanatory videos. I've been raving about it since I first tried during the summer. It has also been a hit in many of my workshops. The thing that I, and many others, love about MySimpleShow is that students have to create a script in order to produce a video through MySimpleShow.

This week, MySimpleShow introduced a new option for creating and using scripts in the production of videos. The new option lets students upload PowerPoint files and use the contents of those files as their scripts. Learn more about how this works by watching the one minute video embedded below.

Students who use PowerPoint files as the basis of their MySimpleShow videos can still avail themselves of MySimpleShow's text to speech function for narration, can use suggested art work, and edit their stories just as if they had written their scripts in MySimpleShow.

Applications for Education
The new PowerPoint importation option in MySimpleShow provides students with a great way to turn presentations that they have given in your classroom into explanatory videos to share on the web. Likewise, the new PowerPoint importation feature gives teachers a good way to create flipped video lessons based on slides that they have developed for classroom presentations.

Disclosure: MySimpleShow is currently advertising on

A Thanksgiving Lesson for the Whole Family

Last year StoryCorps launched a new initiative that they called The Great Thanksgiving Listen. The purpose of the project was to get students to interview family members during Thanksgiving weekend. The first year went well as more than 50,000 recordings were made. The project is back for 2016.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative intended to facilitate conversations between students and adult family members over Thankgiving weekend. StoryCorps has released a toolkit for teachers to use to guide students in the process of recording interviews with family members. In the toolkit you will find an interview planning sheet and two pages of interview question suggestions. The toolkit recommends using the StoryCorps mobile apps to capture the conversations. The StoryCorps mobile apps includes question prompts and a suggested script for conducting interviews.

NPR's Steve Inskeep offers five interview tips in the video embedded below.

Applications for Education
Thanksgiving can present a great opportunity for kids to talk with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other family members that they don't frequently see during the rest of the year. Participating in the Great Thanksgiving Listen could be a good way to help students facilitate conversations and learn from their elders.

Planning on Paper - The Material, Not the App

One of the things that I mention in my keynote Leading Students In a Hyper-connected World is the need for teaching students to have some time disconnected from the Internet and mobile networks. A couple of years ago I heard Chris Brogan sum this up nicely by saying "paper doesn't have a new browser window." In other words, doing something on paper creates a good obstacle to distracting yourself with Facebook, email, or some other non-essential task.

Chris made his comment in the context of planning and task management. I apply that comment to the process of brainstorming and or reflecting. Taking the time to read a book, to write some ideas on paper, or to simply go for a walk give out brains time to wonder and develop new-to-us ideas without the distraction of digital input.

Don't get me wrong, I love some of the digital brainstorming and project management tools that we have available to us. There is a time for using those (iBrainstorm is one of my favorite brainstorming apps), but there is also a time for not using digital tools too. As our students grow up in a hyper-connected world, it is will be increasingly important to take the time to teach them when being connected might not be the best choice.

Three Lessons About the Sound of the Human Voice

"I hate the way my voice sounds," is often said by students and teachers the first time they hear their own voices on a podcast or video. This is because most people aren't accustomed to hearing their own voices the way that others hear it. Why does your voice sound different to you when you hear it on a recording? BrainStuff has the answer to that question in the following video.

Exploratorium offers a related lesson that explains why you think your voice sounds great when you're singing in your shower.

BrainStuff has another related video lesson titled Why Do Men Have Deeper Voices? Through this video students can learn how vocal cords change during puberty and how the length and thickness of vocal cords changes the sound of your voice.

Try a service like Vizia or EDpuzzle to create interactive quizzes based on these video lessons. You can learn more about both of those tools on page 20 of the free Practical Ed Tech Handbook.