Thursday, July 2, 2020

Easy Ways to Improve Your Videos

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far. 

Many of us are making more videos than ever before as a way to deliver instruction and or to simply keep our students updated about school. With time and practice you might become adept at using the editing functions in your favorite video software. You can also improve your videos without having to learn a bunch of editing tricks. Here are some simple things that we can do to improve our videos without having to learn a whole bunch of editing techniques.

1. Look at the camera, not the screen. 
It's natural to look at the screen on your phone or laptop while recording. When you do that, you're not looking at the camera and not making eye contact with your virtual audience. Practice looking at the camera.

2. Elevate your camera.
Put your camera at eye level or slightly higher. Doing that accomplishes a few things. First, people aren't looking up your nose. Second, it makes you look a little thinner and can improve your lighting. Third, I've found that elevating the camera makes it easier for me to remember to look at my camera instead of the screen.

3. Adjust Your Lighting
If you can, try to use relatively bright and even lighting around yourself. Doing this can eliminate shadows being cast on your face and can improve the overall visual clarity of your video. A ring light can be helpful in casting an even light but even just adjusting the position of a lamp on your desk can improve your lighting.

4. Pay attention to your background. 
Try to make your background interesting but not distracting. A large bookcase can make a nice background that is interesting but not distracting. An outdoor setting also makes a nice background, outdoor backgrounds can make lighting tricky. Try to record at a time and place that doesn't cast a lot of shadows. If you want to attempt making a green screen video, here's how you can do it with Zoom.

5. Adjust your sound. 
If possible, try to use an external microphone instead of the microphone built into your laptop or mobile phone. even a simple 3.5mm microphone can reduce background and echo sounds. Often the wired earbuds that come with some smartphones include a microphone that can be used for recording. If an external microphone isn't an option for you, just turning off audio playback (muting your speakers) while recording can improve the quality of your audio recording.

How to Create a Timed Quiz in Google Classroom

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far. 

As the spring went on and it became clear that school was going to be entirely online for an extended, indefinite period of time I started to get a lot of questions about how to deliver timed assessments online. In particular, a lot of people wanted to know if it was possible to do that through Google Classroom and Google Forms. In this video I demonstrate how to create and distribute a timed quiz in Google Classroom.




Step-by-step directions:
1. Create a new quiz assignment in Classwork in Google Classroom.
2. Create your quiz in the Google Form that was created by step 1 above.
3. Install the FormLimiter add-on for Google Forms.
4. Enable a date and time limit in the FormLimiter add-on.
5. Use the scheduling tool in Google Classroom to make your quiz live at a specific time.

5 Things You Should Never Do In Virtual Staff Meetings

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far.

This was a post that I wrote for fun and to vent a little after having my umpteenth Zoom meeting of the week. I didn't think it would be as popular as it became.

At this point we've all had our fill of virtual staff meetings. Hopefully, all of yours are going as well as possible. But even the best virtual staff meetings still have "that one person" who doesn't quite understand the norms of a virtual staff meeting. That's what inspired my list of 5 Things You Should Never Do In a Virtual Staff Meeting.

(This is meant to be fun. Please don't take it too seriously).

5 Things You Should Never Do In a Virtual Staff Meeting by richardbyrne