Showing posts with label Content Creation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Content Creation. Show all posts

Friday, April 13, 2012

Initial Impressions of Qwiki Creator

Last month I learned that Qwiki was launching a creation tool that allows users to create their own multimedia Qwikis. A Qwiki is a short narrated story that includes images, videos, and text. This morning I received my invitation to try out the new Qwiki Creator, these are my initial impressions.

Creating the basics of a Qwiki is very easy. There are three steps to the process; uploading content (or linking to hosted content like a Flickr image), recording narration, and captioning content. One of the things that I learned in my first attempt at creating a Qwiki is that the order in which you upload content is the order in which it will appear in your Qwiki. Perhaps I overlooked it, but I couldn't find a way to reorder my uploads. Voice recordings are limited to 20 seconds. You can also record with your webcam and have a video of yourself appear in your Qwiki. Captioning your content is very straight forward. After uploading content and making your recordings you're presented with a grid of all of your content to caption. Just fill in the blanks in the caption fields. The caption screen is where you can   insert links.

The Qwiki Creator browser bookmarklet, titled Qwik It!, is a handy little product that will help some students clip and organize content for their Qwiki projects. With Qwik It! installed students can clip sections of webpages and send them directly to their Qwiki Creator accounts. From there they can use the clipped content to build a Qwiki.

Applications for Education
I was hoping for a bit more from the Qwiki Creator, but despite some of its editing limitations it could be a good tool for students to use to create short multimedia stories. Students could create personal narratives using Qwiki Creator. Or you might have students create short introductory narratives about topics that they're studying in your classes.

If you want to see my first attempt at creating a Qwiki, you can watch it below.

Want to create your own Qwiki? Do it »

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Next Vista & CUE Student Video Contest

Rushton Hurley's non-profit video hosting website, Next Vista for Learning and CUE (Computer Using Educators) have just announced a new student video creation contest. The contest asks students to create short videos that creatively explain a concept that a student might encounter in elementary, middle, or high school. Videos should be less than 60 seconds in length. The concept explained and the format of the video is up to the student.

The contest winner will be selected by a crowd vote from the finalists videos shown at CUE's Fall Conference on November 5th. Finalists receive $25 iTunes gift cards. The winner receives $50 iTunes gift card, the student's teacher wins a CUE membership, and the winner's classroom receives a Qwizdom Q7 Presenter Tablet.

Click here to get all of the contest rules, requirements, and deadlines.

Watch this video for an example of a middle school students sharing a mathematics tip.

Applications for Education
As this video contest is early in the school year it could be a good way for
your students to share the things they already know while also giving you the opportunity to learn what they know. Winning the contest would be great, but from my perspective the real value of the contest is generation of many videos of students helping students learn.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Interview with Rushton Hurley from Next Vista
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Students Can Blog Without An Email Address

Disclosure: Edublogs is an advertiser on this blog.

Earlier today Edublogs announced that students can now blog on Edublogs even if they don't have email addresses. Students can create a blog or become authors on other blogs without having to submit an email address to Edublogs. To get started students will simply need to choose a user name and password before writing their first blog posts. If they desire, students can submit email addresses later (which is useful for password recovery).

Applications for Education
Removing the requirement of submitting an email address should simplify the process of getting a classroom full of students blogging. By not making students go through the process of submitting and confirming an email address, Edublogs is giving students and teachers more time to focus on the work of creating blog posts. The removal of the email requirement also makes it possible for students who don't have email addresses to write their own blog posts.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How to do 11 Techy Things in the New School Year
Posterous - A Simple Way for Students to Blog
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers

Thursday, August 5, 2010

iMovie Quickstart Guide from Story Chasers

Wesley Fryer, executive director of Story Chasers Inc and all-around great guy, has recently published a quickstart guide for using iMovie. The four page guide can be downloaded from Wes Fryer's blog, from Story Chasers, or from Scribd. The guide contains everything you need to know to get started and to publish your first video using iMovie.

Quickstart Guide to iMovie '09

Applications for Education
Wesley Fryer has graciously given permission to reuse the guide for your own professional development workshops provided that you give proper attribution to Story Chasers for the work. If your staff and students have access to iMovie and you're looking for a good reference to distribute to get them started making videos, this guide might be just what you need.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers
Making Videos on the Web
How to Use YouTube's New Video Editor

Monday, July 19, 2010

So Your Content Got Stolen, Now What?

Earlier today I published a post about the proper ways to reuse the content of another blog. Unfortunately, not everyone will read and or agree with that post and will continue to improperly reuse other people's content. If you find yourself in the position of seeing your content improperly reused, this post has some steps you can take to remedy the problem.

First, if you are at all concerned about people reusing your content you need to monitor your digital content. Google Alerts provides a very easy way to discover the unauthorized reuse of your content. Simply create a Google Alerts account and create alerts using keywords and phrases common to your blog. For example, I have alerts set up for many variations of my blog's title and for my name. My friend Sue Waters has some great advice about monitoring the use of your content and name online. In that same post Sue also explains how to use some other services to monitor your content and name online.

When you find your content reused by someone else here is a progression of steps you can take to remedy the problem.

Step 1: Try to determine if the person is doing it maliciously or innocently. This is important because it influences how I take my next steps. Determining this can be tricky, but generally if the blog reusing your content doesn't allow comments, doesn't have a contact email or form, uses a lot of inappropriate advertising, and or is reusing the content of many other blogs in the same way they're using your content they are intentionally stealing your content. In some cases though I've had teachers/ principals reuse my content innocently because they didn't understand fair use.

Step 2a: If there is a contact form or contact email available and if you think the person is improperly reusing your content because he/she doesn't understand fair use, send a strong, but polite (I left out polite once and I later wished I hadn't) email explaining the person that what he/she is doing is improper practice. Be sure to include some suggestions for properly reusing your content such as using truncated feed widgets. Feel free to share the info in this post with them.

Step 2b: If the offending blog doesn't have a contact form or email address posted, run a WHOIS search using Go Daddy,, or Whois-Search to see who has registered the domain. When there isn't a proxy in place it's easy to locate the contact information (email, phone, fax, mail) for the person who registered the domain. Use that information to contact the offending site or blog's owner. In some cases the person who registered the domain might have used a proxy to hide their contact information. If that is the case it can be hard to find the contact information. Likewise, a Whois search will not work for subdomains. An example of a blog on a subdomain is

Before going any further I need to remind you that although I did well on the LSAT I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to be an expert on copyright and intellectual property law. Consult your lawyer if you think you need legal advice.

Step 2c: Provided you've found the contact information for the person improperly reusing your content and you think he/she is doing that maliciously go ahead and use the phrase copyright violation in the email you send. Sternly tell the person that they are violating your copyright rights, provide an example for the person, and give a clear deadline (48 hours is more than sufficient) by which they must remove your content from their site. Be sure to include wording indicating that you will pursue legal action if they don't take down your content. Usually, this takes care of the problem. Sometimes I hear back from the offending party and other times I do not hear back from the offender, but they do remove the stolen content.

Step 3: If you cannot get in touch with the offending party and or they do not remove your content, you can try to contact their hosting service. Inform the hosting service of the problem and be sure to give specific examples of plagiarism. I've done this only twice. Once I got a response and the other time I didn't get a response.

Step 4: The public option. If you cannot get anywhere using steps 1-3 above go ahead and publicly "out" the offender. Post it on your blog that someone is stealing your content, post it on Twitter, and generally try to embarrass the offending party into taking down your content.

If all of the above fails, then you have gone beyond any steps I've had to take and suggest that you consult a lawyer if you want to pursue the matter. But take solace in the fact that most splogs don't last very long.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Aviary for Education Launches in Beta

Over the last year Aviary's suite of tools has become one of my favorite free resources on the web. This week Aviary took another step up the ranks of my list of favorite free tools. This week Aviary launched, in beta, Aviary Education. Aviary Education will give teachers and students access to Aviary's image editor, music creator, vector editor, and sound mixing service. Aviary Education will allow teachers to manage student accounts, give assignments, and messages all students at once within a private environment. Aviary Education is in beta and you do have to apply and be approved to use the new service. When you apply you do need to provide you school email address as well as the name and location of your school.

You can read about Aviary's sound mixer Myna here. You can read about Aviary's music creator Roc here. In the slideshow below you will see how to use Aviary Roc.

If you're a Google Apps for Education school, you can add all of Aviary's services to your Google Apps. Read about how to do that here.

Applications for Education
This year my students used Aviary's Myna sound editor to make sound tracks for mini-documentary videos they made about the expansion of US borders during the 19th century. Roc is a relatively new offering from Aviary that will allow anyone to create music tracks. You can then take those Roc tracks and mix them with voice tracks in Myna to create an outstanding original sound track for a podcast or video.

The image editing tools offered by Aviary are great free, web-based, alternatives to the offerings of Photoshop.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How to Use YouTube's New Video Editor
Free Guide - Making Videos on the Web
Five Ways Students Can Build Multimedia Timelines

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kids' Vid - Video Production Tips for Kids

Kids' Vid has been around for a while, but it's worth revisiting. Kids' Vid provides great information and ideas about how students can make their videos into something that others will want to see and, in turn, somthing that your students can be proud of. Kids' Vid provides tips on lighting, sound, sequencing, scripting, and more.

Applications for Education
Kids' Vid provides a nice list of teaching ideas and methods for incorporating video production into the classroom. The methods and ideas presented on the teachers' page of Kids' Vid are appropriate for any content area above the third grade (8 years-old) level.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Animoto Now Accepts Video Clips! This Is Awesome!

I just received a very exciting email from the guys at Animoto. Animoto now accepts video uploads. This means that now you can mix and mash pictures, text, audio, and video to create exciting high-quality videos. Since its launch, Animoto has been one of my favorite tools for students to use in my classroom. The addition of video clips makes Animoto even better than ever. Click here to learn more about Animoto's newest feature and see sample videos that utilize video clips.

To learn more about using Animoto in education, please see these previous blog posts:
Animoto for Education - The End of Boring Slideshows
Animoto in the Special Education Classroom
Video Holiday Greetings Courtesy of Animoto
Using Animoto (and Glogster and Wordle) to Learn
Where I Live... Another Use for Animoto
A Student-Parent-Teacher Lesson Plan

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vuvox - Create Multimedia Panoramic Slideshows

Vuvox is a multifaceted multimedia collage and slideshow creation tool. There are so many great tools including in Vuvox that it is tough to choose a feature with to start this review. The basic idea of Vuvox is to allow anyone to create a multimedia panoramic collage. At its most basic level you can use Vuvox to stitch together your photographs into a panorama. Vuvox offers great tools that you can use to edit your images so that they match up perfectly. You can also use the Vuvox editing tools to crop out sections of an image for re-use later in your collage or for use in a separate collage. You can upload images from your computer to Vuvox or import images from your Flickr, SmugMug, or Picasa account.

The multimedia aspect of Vuvox allows you to include video in your collage. You can insert the video into any place on your Vuvox collage. In the sample I created and embedded below you will find a video inserted toward the end of the slideshow. Arranging image and video elements in a Vuvox slideshow is a simple matter of drag and dropping them into the sequence you desire.

There are three free versions of Vuvox. Vuvox Express offers the fastest way to create, but has the fewest options. Vuvox Studio is the most advanced option offering broadest selection of editing tools. Vuvox Collage is the middle ground between Express and Studio.

Applications for Education
Vuvox could be an excellent tool for students to use to create multimedia presentations. Students could use Vuvox to create a documentary-style slideshow that includes images and video. I'm planning to do some more work with Vuvox and will probably have my US History students using it this fall.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Remix America - Make Your Own US History Documentaries
Remix the News on Link TV
How-to Week, Day 5 - Using Animoto and VoiceThread

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Connecting Social Studies and Art Through Video

Some of you may have read my post that appeared on Wesley Fryer's blog with the same title as this one a couple of weeks ago. Connecting Social Studies and Art Through Video Creation is the title of a workshop that I'm conducting on Thursday morning at the MLTI Summer Institute. This slideshow is a preview of the tools and resources we'll be using that day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

PodSafe Audio - Sounds for Podcasts

Creating podcasts and videos can be a great way to get students excited about school projects. But one of the common concerns that teachers have is locating music that can be used without violating copyright. PodSafe Audio, which I learned about in a session here at NECC 2009, could be a good place to locate and download free music for multimedia presentations. PodSafe Audio is a community of musicians who create music and share it for the purpose of fair-use in podcasts.

Applications for Education
In the opinion of my students this year, one of the most exciting projects was creating music videos about US Presidents. The only complaint they had was not having enough music choices. PodSafe Audio is a resource that I'll will access next year if I do the same type of project.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you: - Podcasting With
Free Music Archive
55 Places for Free Sound Effects

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Something to Watch for from Animoto

In an article on TechCrunch about Animoto's most recent round of funding, it was hinted at that there are some more improvements coming to the video creation service. The most exciting of those prospects is the capability for inclusion of video clips within the video you're making. In other words you could mash-up still images, image captions, video clips, and music into one high-quality video. Watch this video from the Webby Awards for an idea of what this possible feature could look like.

On a related note, if you, your students, or your children are looking for a last-minute Father's Day idea, Animoto has created some Father's Day card templates that you can use to create a Father's Day video. You can read more about that on the Animoto blog.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The End of Slide Shows - Animoto
Animoto for Education
Stupeflix - Free Video Montage Creator

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Animoto Makes Improvements

Animoto has been featured on Free Technology for Teachers many times over the last year and is included in Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration. And just when I think Animoto has reached the zenith of awesomeness, they make more improvements. In an email that I received today from Animoto I learned that they have made infrastructure improvements that will improve upload times and decrease buffering times. These improvements should make for a better user experience at times of peak activity on the site. The Animoto video player has also been improved for ease of use.

Applications for Education
For some ideas about using Animoto in your classroom please read any of the blog posts listed below.
Animoto in the Special Education Classroom
Using Animoto (and Glogster and Wordle) to LEARN
Where I Live... Another Use for Animoto
New Use for a Favorite Resource
Animoto for Education - The End of Boring Slide Shows

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stupeflix - Free Video Montage Creator

Stupeflix is a newer service that allows user to quickly and easily create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. In many ways Stupeflix reminds me of Animoto, but there are a couple of differences that are worth noting.

Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into the sequence that they would like the images to appear. Adding text to the images is easier in Stupeflix than it is on Animoto. Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack so you have to upload your own audio clips. That said the advantage of Stupeflix is that you can use more than one audio clip within the same video. The one significant drawback of Stupeflix is that the videos you create cannot be shared as easily as Animoto videos can be shared. Stupeflix is still in beta so hopefully they will make some more improvements soon.

Applications for Education
Stupeflix is a good tool for students to use to create video montages of images. Stupeflix is a good alternative to old-style, boring slideshows. The captioning and editing tools are easy to use which makes Stupeflix a tool that most students above age 10 could use.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Photo Peach - Quick and Easy Audio Slideshows
Animoto for Education - The End of Boring Slideshows
Animoto vs. Photostory 3 - Side by Side Comparison

Fair Use and the Remix Culture

For teachers interested in learning about fair use and the use of media in the classroom the Center for Social Media at American University has some excellent video explanations of fair use. The video I've embedded below offers an explanation of fair use as it relates to creating remixes. In addition to the video embedded below the Center for Social Media offers documents about best practices for online video. The Center for Social Media also offers video examples of best practices.

People viewing this in RSS may need to click through to Free Technology for Teachers to view the video.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Video Introduction to Understanding Fair Use
Copyright for Educators
The End to Copyright Confusion

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photos 8 - Thousands of Public Domain Images

Photos 8 is a great place to find thousands of images that are in the public domain. These images can be used in any way that you and your students see fit. There are twenty-two categories of images of which the largest collections are of animals, birds, and sunsets.

I learned about Photos 8 through a great blog post on Making Teachers Nerdy. I encourage you to read that blog post for more public domain image resources.

Applications for Education
Other than using images of your own creation, using images in the public domain is best way to create a digital presentation. Using images in the public domain means that you don't have to worry about what is or isn't fair use or do you have to Creative Commons attributions.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Creative Commons Animal Photos
Video Introduction to Understanding Fair Use
Copyright for Educators

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Students Taking Charge Video Contest

Students Taking Charge is a video contest being held by Action For Healthy Kids. The contest asks students to create a short video, 30 seconds to 2 minutes, about how their school makes it easy for students to be healthy. The video can document physical education programs, food service programs, or any other school or student initiative designed to promote healthy living. The contest is open to any student in grades nine through twelve. Winners receive up $500 for themselves and $1000 for their schools. Submissions are due by June 1st. Read the full contest rules and requirements here.

Thanks to Christine Hollingsworth for sharing the link to this contest.

Applications for Education
This contest provides a good opportunity to have students take a good hard look at the things their schools do to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Creating videos for this contest is a great way to bring technology into a health education class.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Sugar Stacks - How Much Sugar is in Your Snack?
Learn to be Healthy - Free Lesson Plans
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fresh Brain - Fresh Ideas for Student Projects

Fresh Brain, a non-profit funded in part by Sun Microsystems, provides teachers and students with ideas for technology projects. On Fresh Brain students and teachers can find projects in which they build games, build iPhone and Facebook apps, make web pages, and mash-up videos. Fresh Brain provides space and a forum for students to connect and collaborate. To complete each project, Fresh Brain provides a list of suggested tools and getting started guides for completing each task.

Some of the popular projects on Fresh Brain right now are a project in which students create a webpage about cultures and a graphic design competition.

Applications for Education
There is no shortage of project and activity ideas on Fresh Brain. Teachers looking for creative ways to bring digital content creation into the classroom should explore Fresh Brain. The projects and tools suggested on Fresh Brain are intended for middle school and high school use.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Story Top Story Maker
Create a Free Website
Photovisi - Simple, Quick Collage Builder

Thursday, May 7, 2009

CNN iReport - Are Your Schools All They Could Be?

iReport, CNN's video depot for citizen journalists, is looking for opinions about public schools. The iReport assignment reads "The Obama administration has pledged to reform the country’s school system and we want to know where you think they need to focus their attention. Are your schools all they should be? Show us what needs work."

Applications for Education
Creating a video response to the iReport class project could be a good way to get students to think about what they would do to improve schools. Some iReport videos are selected for use on CNN News. Knowing that a high quality video could be used by CNN may motivate students to put forth their best, thoughtful efforts.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Story Top Story Maker

Update: It appears that StoryTop has gone offline. If it reappears, I will update this post again.

Story Top is a good web-based tool for creating digital stories and comics. Story Top features an easy-to-use drag and drop tool for creating your story. To use Story Top simply select your background, characters, and text bubbles from the menu and drag them into your story box. After selecting the basic story elements you can then add additional elements like plants, animals, and vehicles. When your story is complete you can save it in your Story Top account or send it to friend. You can also share your story with a group of other Story Top users.

Applications for Education
Story Top is a good tool for getting students online and creating stories quickly. The user interface is easy to use and offers just enough features to allow students to create digital comics that they can be proud of.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
7 Resources for Creating Cartoons and Comics
Comiqs - Create Comics to Play as a Slideshow
Make Beliefs - Multilingual Comic Creation