Showing posts with label animated gifs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animated gifs. Show all posts

Thursday, February 11, 2021

How to Create Animated Valentine's Day Cards

On Wednesday I shared a video about how to make edible glass candy hearts. That activity could get messy in your classroom or kitchen. If you're looking for a digital Valentine's Day activity, consider creating animated Valentine's Day cards. 

Canva offers free templates for creating greeting cards for all occasions including Valentine's Day. Many of those templates can be quickly turned into animated GIFs with just one click. In this short video I demonstrate how to create an animated Valentine's Day card by using Canva's free greeting card templates. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Unscreen - Remove and Replace Video Backgrounds With Just a Click

In the last few months I've shared a some good tools for quickly removing the background from images. I even made a video about how to use Canva to remove and replace the background in your images. But until this morning when I read this Tweet from Greg Kulowiec I didn't know of any tools to do the same with video without launching into a fully featured video editor like WeVideo or iMovie. Greg's Tweet mentioned using Unscreen to remove the background from videos.

Unscreen is a free tool that you can use to remove the background from any video clip that you have stored on your computer. Simply upload your video and Unscreen will remove the background. Once the background is removed you can replace it with a stock image from Unscreen or with an image that you upload from your computer. The catch is that Unscreen will only give you a GIF or PNG from your video and its replaced background. That's how I ended up with the image featured in this blog post.

Applications for Education
Just like when using Canva or Remove.bg to strip the background from an image, Unscreen could be a good option for students to use to remove the background from videos then virtually place themselves in front of landmarks. The GIFs that result from that process could then be placed into a slideshow or audio-slideshow video about a series of landmarks. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why Have Students Make Simple Animations?

Last week I wrote about having middle school students create presentations from a combination of illustrations and videos that they made. In that post I shared Brush Ninja animation tool. That's just one of many tools that students could have used to animated GIFs to include in their slides. The point of the activity wasn't to have students learn how to use Brush Ninja, it was to have students create animations to demonstrate their understanding of a process.

In the example that I shared last week students made animations to illustrate forms of energy. That topic was a fairly natural fit to illustrate with animations. But animations can be used to illustrate nearly every topic that is taught in K-12 schools. I was turned onto this idea many years ago when I read Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin books. These books make the point that if you truly understand a concept, you can illustrate it with simple drawings on the back of a napkin or other blank canvas.

You don't need to be artistically inclined at all in order to make effective illustrations. In fact, in Unfolding the Napkin I learned that simple stick figures were often all that is needed to illustrate a concept. And if you do use the concepts of Unfolding the Napkin in your classroom, you will have to remind some students to focus on the concepts first before getting hung up on the aesthetics of their sketches.

Watch the following video in which Dan Roam explains the concepts of Unfolding the Napkin.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Using Brush Ninja and Screencastify to Make Science Presentations

This week I had the opportunity to work in an eighth grade science class. I was there to help their teacher help them learn new ways to make presentations. The topic of their presentations was "forms of energy." That topic lends itself to having students making illustrative animations. In this case I taught the students how to use Brush Ninja to make animated GIFs that they then inserted into Google Slides. Click here for video directions on how to use Brush Ninja.


After making their animations of forms of energy the students inserted them into Google Slides. Those animated GIFs were positioned to take up about half of a slide. Once the animations were in the slides we moved onto using Screencastify on their Chromebooks.

The students used Screencastify to record short, 15 to 30 seconds, videos in which they gave explanations of the concept that their animations illustrated. Screencastify automatically saved their videos into their Google Drives. Then they were able to insert their videos into their Google Slides right next to their animations. My sample slide is embedded below (the students did a better job, but I didn't get permission to share their work on this blog).


If you'd like to have me work with teachers at your school, please get in touch with me here.