Thursday, October 14, 2021

A New Video Editing Tool from Canva

Over the years I've used Canva to create everything from simple social media graphics to websites and dozens of things in between including making short video presentations. Today, Canva introduced a new video editor that goes beyond the basics of the previous video creation options available in Canva. 

Canva's new video editor includes hundreds of video creation templates designed for school projects. All of the templates can be modified as teachers and students see fit. It's also possible to simply build a video from scratch without using a template in Canva's new video editor. The video editor works the same way whether you use a template or build your video from scratch. And just like the other design tools in Canva, the video editor is designed for online collaboration. 

Key Features of Canva's New Video Editor
There are a lot of things that you could do with Canva's new video editor. Here's a run down of the key features:
  • Online collaboration. Students can invite their classmates to work on a video project remotely. 
  • Hundreds of templates designed for school projects. 
  • Millions of stock pictures, drawings, and icons. 
  • Large library of free music and video clips to include in video projects. 
  • Record new video clips within the editor and or import your own video clips into the editor. 
  • Videos can be downloaded as MP4 files and or published online via Canva. 
How it Works
The basic framework of Canva's video editor is that you build your video on a frame-by-frame basis much like slideshow presentation. However, each frame can be as short or as long as you want it to be and each frame can be as simple or complex as you make it. Additionally, the finished product doesn't come across as an audio slideshow the way that videos made with other tools like Animoto or Adobe Spark appear.

Within each frame of your Canva video you can add pictures, text, video clips, and background audio. You can also add background audio to the entire video and edit that audio separately from the video frames. 

Completed projects can be saved and shared in a number of ways. The simplest thing to do is to download the video as an MP4 file so that you have a local copy to share anywhere you like. Additionally, you can share your video by using one of the many sharing options built into Canva's video editor. Those options include sharing via unique links, publishing as a simple stand-alone website, sharing to Google Drive, and grabbing an embed code to post on a blog. 

Applications for Education
Canva's new video editor could be used for all kinds of projects from 30 second personal introductions to book trailers to short documentary-style videos. As it is an online and collaborative tool, Canva's video editor is perfect for students to use at home as well as in your classroom without having to worry about misplacing or forgetting project assets. 

I gave Canva's new video editor a first try this morning and I'd recommend it for students in grade five (age 10-11) and above. Younger students may be frustrated by it because there are so many options and it's not immediately obvious how to use all of them. 

To learn more about other ways to use Canva in your classroom, take a look at this blog post that I published last month. In that post you'll find tutorials on using Canva to make interactive worksheets, create presentations, make infographics, create multimedia timelines, and much more. 

Blackbird - Coding as a Conduit

Last spring I trialed a new learn-to-code platform called Blackbird. As I wrote in May, I liked it and most of my students liked it. This fall Blackbird introduced an updated user interface and a new slogan of "Coding as a Conduit." The mission of Blackbird remains the same as before. That mission being to help teachers introduce coding to their students. 

How it Works
Blackbird is a platform that is trying to bridge the gap between using block editors like Scratch and making students jump into a full-fledged IDE without any built-in support resources. Blackbird teaches students how to write code (specifically, JavaScript) through a series of short, guided lessons before challenging them with some "workshop projects." Along the way there are plenty of easily accessible help resources for students to use without having to leave the code that they're currently writing.

What's New This Fall
Last spring I made this short video about how to use Blackbird. The concepts are the same as when I made the video, but the user interface has changed to make it easier for students to find the lessons and for teachers to view their students' progress. Blackbird released a new video that shows how the current user interface looks. That video is embedded below.

Blackbird Product Tour - Fall 2021 from Blackbird on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
If you have lots of experience teaching coding and programming, Blackbird might be too simple for you. But if you're new to teaching coding and programming, Blackbird is a great choice because it will walk you through all of the activities and lessons before your students do the lessons.
Another update from when I used Blackbird last spring is an improved integration with Google Classroom that makes it easy to import your Google Classroom rosters and view your students' progress through the lessons.

Tour the Great Wall of China - A New Google Arts & Culture Experience

After Google announced the closure of Google Expeditions earlier this year Google Arts & Culture became the place to go to find much of the virtual imagery that was available in Expeditions. The library of imagery and stories in Google Arts & Culture has steadily grown throughout the year. The latest big addition to that library is found in the new Walk the Great Wall exhibit that was introduced yesterday

Walk the Great Wall includes a virtual tour of the Great Wall of China in which you can view immersive, 360 imagery of the towers and the wall. The Walk the Great Wall exhibit also includes detailed imagery of the bricks of the wall, short lessons about the construction of the Great Wall, stories of myths and legends of the Great Wall, and lots of imagery of the Great Wall from end to end in all four seasons of the year. 

Learn With Google Arts & Culture
Earlier this year Google introduced a new resource for teachers called Learn With Google Arts & Culture. It is a collection of lesson plans, Street View imagery, and virtual tours based around the content found in Google Arts & Culture

The lesson plans are what make Learn With Google Arts & Culture worth bookmarking. There are dozens of detailed lesson plans available through Learn With Google Arts & Culture. The lesson plans are very detailed and include links for students and teachers to follow. Much of each lesson plan that I reviewed could be completed by students working independently. 

In this video I provide an overview of Learn With Google Arts & Culture. The overview includes:

  • How to access the lesson plans. 
  • How to share specific portions of Google Arts & Culture in your Google Classroom. 
  • How to create collections of artifacts from Google Arts & Culture to share with your students.