Thursday, December 15, 2016

Adobe Spark Now Lets You Insert Videos into Your Videos

Adobe Spark is one of my favorite new tools to 2016. In fact, I like it so much that I now feature it in my workshops and webinars about creating videos in the classroom. Today, Adobe Spark got even better by adding the ability for users to insert video clips into their video projects.

Prior to today's update Adobe Spark videos could only include pictures, text, music, and spoken words. Essentially, you were creating audio slideshows. Now you can upload video clips to use videos. Once you have uploaded and inserted a video clip you can then trim it to length to fit into your project. You can also record your own audio over the video clip. See all of the new features in this announcement published by Adobe.

Applications for Education
Here are a few ways that you can use Adobe Spark video in your classroom.
  • Create a short flipped-lesson with Adobe Spark. The recording tool makes it easy to precisely record your narration over the slides in your lesson. 
  • Have your students create video lessons. The slide aspect of Adobe Spark's video tool lends itself to students creating short Ken Burns-style documentary videos. Have them use Spark's search tool to find images to use in their videos or have them use a place Flickr's The Commons to find historical images. I've had students make this style of video to tell the stories of people moving west across the United States in the 19th Century. 
  • This is the time of year for year-in-review videos. Use Adobe Spark's video creation tool to make a video of highlights of the year. 

Brrr...Lessons on Winter Weather

The weather forecast for my town calls for a temperature of -5F and a wind chill of -33F tonight. I'll be bundling up when my dogs need to go out tonight. The cold forecast made me think about some resources for teaching lessons about winter weather.

The following video explains how wind chill is calculated. The video comes from Mind Your Decisions. Use the video with Vizia or EDpuzzle to create a flipped lesson about wind chill.

My favorite winter weather lesson resource from Scholastic is the Interactive Weather Maker. Using the Interactive Weather Maker students adjust temperatures and humidity levels to create rain and snow storms. Students simply move the temperature and humidity sliders until rain or snow begins to show up in the scene on their screens.

We had a nice snowstorm here on Sunday and Monday. That reminded me of this Bytesize Science video lesson about the chemistry of snowflakes. 

In the winter when we have fresh snow combined with a full moon I don't have to wear a headlamp to see my dogs in the yard at night. In the following Minute Physics video we learn why the full moon appears brighter in the winter.

Media Literacy & Fake News - A Lesson Plan

C-SPAN Classroom has a new lesson plan that is quite timely given all of the recent stories about fake news stories created and shared through social media. Media Literacy & Fake News is a free lesson plan that is based on five C-SPAN videos featuring authors and other experts talking about the role of media in influencing how people think about political topics. The last video in the lesson plan features writers from The Onion talking about why they're disappointed when people believe their stories are real.

Media Literacy & Fake News can be viewed on the C-SPAN website or as a Google Doc here.

This lesson plan could easily be expanded by asking students to identify fake news stories that are circulating in their own social media echo chambers.

Three Ways to Create Multimedia Year-in-Review Timelines

The year is almost over and for many of us this is a time to look back at the year. Creating a year-in-review is a great way to celebrate our successes and learn from our failures. Creating a multimedia timeline is one way that your students can structure a year-in-review. They can make personal year-in-review timelines or make a timeline to review the biggest news stories of the year. The following three tools all provide a good way to create multimedia timelines.

The History Project provides a fantastic platform for creating personal year-in-review timelines. The History Project lets you upload your own pictures or import pictures from social networks to add to your timeline. Each event on your timeline can include multiple pictures. After adding a picture to a timeline event you can record audio to add to that event. You also have the option to upload an existing audio recording. Of course, like any good time tool, The History Project lets you write in notes, dates, and locations. When you write in a location a Google Map of that location is added to your timeline event. A video overview of The History Project can be seen on my YouTube channel.

Timeline JS offers nearly unlimited flexibility for including media in a timeline. Timeline JS timelines can include pictures, videos, audio files, and maps. Students can collaborate on the creation of multimedia timelines published through Timeline JS. The video embedded below provides an overview of how to use Timeline JS.

Read Write Think's timeline creation tool is a great choice for elementary school settings. Students don't have to create accounts in order to use the tool. It can be used on Chromebooks, laptops of all varieties, iPads, and Android tablets. The only limitation to it is that students can only use pictures and text in their timelines.

More ideas and directions for developing and using multimedia timelines will be shared in Teaching History With Technology starting in January.

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