Monday, December 19, 2016

Anchor - Simple Podcasting

Earlier today I Tweeted a link to my first recording. Anchor provides a simple way to create and publish short podcasts. In fact, you can't record for more than two minutes at a time on the Anchor apps. I like that you cannot record for more than two minutes at a time. The time limit forces people to get to the point rather than filling time with buffer music, "words from our sponsors," and other filler conversation that doesn't add any value to the podcast.

When you publish on Anchor your podcast is open to voice responses from listeners. Listeners reply by just hitting the "reply" button below your published recording then speaking into their phones.

Applications for Education
Anchor is not a platform that I would recommend for student use. The commenting system is too open to be appropriate for classroom use (think YouTube comments without moderation). But Anchor could be a good platform for teachers or administrators who are looking for an easy way to create a professional development podcast.

One Image Inspires a Lesson

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning, a great place to find and share educational videos.

Imagine starting class without saying anything. The students look at you, awaiting something. You wait long enough to catch their attention, and then project this image in front of them:
Image source: Rushton Hurley

You then speak up, asking the class to take a close look at the sculpture, and in pairs, come up with at least three connections between what they see and what was covered in the last class. Let them know that truly cool answers earn style points, which aren't factored into their grades, but are a good thing to have earned, anyway.

It's not that your last class is expected to have covered Tang Dynasty sculpture. In fact, the idea is that you didn't. What you want is for the students to actively talk with each other about what you covered last without your having to say, "Okay class, let's review what we covered yesterday."

In other words, make learning a little more active, a little more creative, and a little more fun with an image. Any image that doesn't get you fired is probably okay. Hopefully they'll come up with some cool connections!

Three Ways to Create Year-in-Review Videos

It is the time of year when just about every media company is publishing a year-in-review video. Those year-in-review videos will cover everything from the top news stories of the year to celebrity gossip stories to memorials for famous people who died in 2016. Asking students to create year-in-review videos can be a good way for them to recall their best moments of the year or to recall the most important news stories of the year. Students could use the following free tools to create year-in-review videos.

Just last week Adobe Spark added the option for students to include video samples in the videos they make in Adobe Spark. Previously, the videos students made in Adobe Spark could only include text, pictures, music, and voice-over audio. Now students can include video clips and record voice-overs on those clips. Adobe Spark is a good choice for creating year-in-review videos because students can record voice-overs to explain the significance of each image or video clip that they use to summarize the year. A simple formula for students to follow is to have them add one image or video clip for each month of the year. Learn how to use Adobe Spark by watching this tutorial.

Update 2020: Sharalike is no longer available. 
Sharalike is a good option to consider when you want to create an audio slideshow. To create an audio slideshow on Sharalike simply import some images from your computer, your Android device or from your iPad, drag them into the sequence in which you want them to appear, and then add some music. Sharalike offers a small collection of stock music that you can use or you can upload your own music.

Finally, YouTube offers some good video creation and editing tools that most people overlook. One of those tools allows you to combine video clips to make one longer video. You can combine your own videos and or use video clips from YouTube's gallery of Creative Commons licensed videos. So while your students aren't limited to just their videos, they also just can't grab any old video from YouTube, like this chart-topper, to include in their projects.

You can learn more about how to use YouTube's overlooked features this Wednesday in YouTube, It's Not Just Cats & Khan Academy

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