Saturday, March 10, 2012

Make Stop-Motion Movies With JellyCam 4.0

Last spring I discovered the free stop-motion movie maker, JellyCam. I was instantly impressed by JellyCam even though at the time it had limited features beyond capturing images with a webcam and playing them back in stop-motion. JellyCam has made a couple of nice improvements in the ten months since I wrote my initial review of it.

The biggest improvement to JellyCam is the option to up include a soundtrack in your movies. When I first tried JellyCam I could only use images that you captured with my webcam while JellyCam was running. Now you I upload images that you have stored on your computer, camera, or phone. Another nice enhancement in the latest version of JellyCam is the removal of JellyCam watermarks on your videos.

JellyCam runs on the Adobe Air platform. If you don't have Adobe Air Runtime on your computer, you will be prompted by JellyCam to download it. The download is free and it takes just a couple of minutes to install.

JellyCam was created and is developed by one man. You can keep up with his latest work on JellyCam here. I like JellyCam so much that I included it in my best of the web presentation at NCTIES.

The video below will help get you started using JellyCam.

Applications for Education
One way that JellyCam could be used in the classroom is to create a time-lapse video of a lengthy process like osmosis. Take pictures of raisins in water over a period of time to create a time-lapse stop-motion video of the process of osmosis. Your students could also attempt to make a video like this one in which stop-motion is used to show how food is processed by a cow from start to finish.

Four Video Explanations of Daylight Saving Time

Tonight many of us will be turning our clocks ahead one hour. On Monday, some students may be asking why we do this. Other students, mostly teenagers, will just be complaining about the lost hour of sleep. Here are four video explanations that you can share with them. The first two I've shared before, but the second two are new to me.

Week in Review - From Flat to Flying

Good morning from Maine where signs of spring are starting to show despite the snow that is still in my yard. I've had a busy seven days since the last week in review. It started with a flat tire in the pouring rain and ended with a flight home from North Carolina where I spent three days presenting at the NCTIES conference or as Rushton Hurley called it, the Neck Ties Conference. I had the great privilege to speak to many fantastic educators and leaders in the field of educational technology. One of the highlights of the week for me was, after years of reading their works, meeting David Warlick, Tammy Worcester, and Kathy Schrock.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Khan Academy Videos Mapped to Common Core Standards
2. Is Khan Inherently Crap?
3. Bunsella Bedtime Stories - An App for Narrating Stories
4. Resources for Learning About the Iditarod
5. Use Custom HTML and Javascript in Google Sites
6. Audio Memos - A Voice Recorder for iPad & iPhone
7. 10 Awesome Android Uses & Apps for Education

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
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Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers. In April I will be holding another free public webinar through UMBC.
Ed Tech Teacher offers professional development services for schools.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

What's Your Goal? Thinking About Tech Choices

I am often asked by educators (classroom teachers, school administrators, librarians) to help them “use technology.” My response to their requests is always, “yes, I will help you.” The next thing out of my mouth is, “what is your goal for using technology?” Through these simple exchanges I’ve discovered that there are three basic goals that most of us have for using technology in our schools. The first is discovering new information, the second is discussion, and the third is demonstrating what we know. It is with these three goals in mind that I evaluate any new website or mobile app. 

How do you evaluate new technology apps and websites that you find?

9 Ways Students Can Publish Slideshows Online

Creating slideshows can be an excellent way for students to summarize their learning, share their what they've learned, and to share their ideas. If you have students that create slideshows that you or they think should be shared with a wider audience than that of their immediate peers in the classroom, the web offers many ways to do that. Here are some ways that students can publish their slides to the web.

1. The sharing method that is right under most Internet users' noses is Google Docs presentation sharing. Students can create presentations, collaborate on presentations, chat about presentations, and publish presentations using Google Docs. Google Docs presentations can be embedded into any blog or website. Students can also share presentations by emailing or Twittering the url of their presentations.

2. Empressr is a fully functional, high quality, online slide show presentation creation and sharing service. Empressr has a couple of features differentiating it from its competitors. The first feature of note is the option of embedding video from multiple sources into your slide show. The second feature of note is Empressr's editor which allows users to draw, create, or edit images inside their slides. Empressr slideshows can be embedded anywhere.

3. SlideShare is probably the most popular service for publishing slideshows to the web. While you cannot create original works in SlideShare, you can add voice narration to your slideshow with a free service offered by SlideShare. SlideShare offers a variety of widgets for embedding collections of slideshows into one webpage. If you wanted to you could create a collection of your students' slideshows and put them into one widget on one webpage. To learn more about SlideShare, watch this presentation.

4. Slide Boom, like SlideShare, allow users to upload their slide show presentations and share the slide shows publicly or privately. SlideBoom quickly converts your slide shows for use on the SlideBoom website and provides the html code for use on other websites or blogs. SlideBoom preserves the transitions you included in your original presentation when your slideshow is uploaded to SlideBoom.

5. Slide Rocket is a web based presentation creator similar to Empressr. Slide Rocket has some very nice features like 3D transitions and a collaboration feature for sharing the creation process with other users. Slide Rocket's interface is user friendly making it easy to include videos, pictures, or third party plug-ins. The quality and definition of images on Slide Rocket is far superior to that found in many of its competitors' offerings.

6. Author Stream is a service that converts your PowerPoint slideshows to flash media files. Just like SlideShare, Author Stream can be used to host and share your slide shows publicly or privately directly on the Author Stream website. In addition to sharing on the Author Stream website the slideshows you upload can also be shared via Youtube, iTunes, or embedded into a blog or website. A free companion tool to Author Stream is Author Point Lite. Author Point Lite is a desktop application that converts Power Point files to flash files. Files converted with Author Point Lite retain all of the transitions, timings, and narration created in your original file. Author Point Lite is a free download.

7. If you convert your slideshows into PDF format, you can upload them and host them on DocStoc and Scribd. Both DocStoc and Scribd will provide you with an editable (for height and width) embed code for your PDF.

8.  Hello Slide is a tool that you can use to add voice narration to slides that you display online. Hello Slide is different from services like Slideshare's Zipcast because instead of recording your voice you type what you want the narrator to say. Where you might type "speakers notes" in other slide programs, in Hello Slide you type out the narration. Hello Slide creates the audio and narrates your slides for you. While the voice is slightly robotic, it is much much better than most text to speech services. To get started using Hello Slide, register for a free account, upload a PDF of your slides, then start typing your narration. It's very easy to use Hello Slide.

9. 280 Slides is a free presentation creation tool. 280 Slides operates inside of your web browser where it looks and operates as if it was installed on your computer. In fact, one of my colleagues looked at 280 Slides and said, "is that Key Note?" One of the features that makes 280 Slides really unique is the image and video search and insert options. Rather than closing the 280 Slides window you're working on, you can find images and videos using a built in search box on 280 Slides. Using the search box on 280 Slides users find Youtube and Vimeo videos as well as images from Flickr.     280 Slides shut down in December. Sorry :(