Friday, September 14, 2012

Create Cool Things on Creaza Education

Creaza Education is a great suite of tools that I've shared in many of my workshops, but I've never written a blog post about it until now. Creaza Education offers four useful tools to teachers and students. Those tools are a video editor, an audio editor, a cartoon creator, and an excellent mind map builder. To access all of these tools create an account on Creaza Education then select "tools" after you sign in.

Creaza Education's movie editor is similar in layout to WeVideo and Pixorial. The movie editor provides you with some stock media clips and transition effects to get you started. You can upload your own audio recordings, videos, and pictures and store them in your account to use in all of your video projects. To create your movie just drag media elements from your library into the track for that media type. For example, if you want to use a video clip drag it to the video track. You can trim the start and end times for your video elements. Rearranging the sequence of elements in your video is just a drag and drop process.

Creaza Education's mind mapping tool is actually an installation of Mindomo. Mindomo is one of the most feature-rich mind mapping tools that I've used. The user interface is clear and intuitive as every important function happens through clearly labeled drop down menus. Mindomo allows you to include videos, pictures, and audio files in all cells in your mind map.

The Creaza Education audio editor is not as laden with features as Aviary's now closed Myna tool was, but it is still a good option for recording and mixing audio tracks. You can record directly into the audio editor or upload files that you have saved on your computer. Creaza Education's audio editor has a library of sounds and music that you can mix into your productions too. There are eight audio tracks that you can blend together.

Caroonist is Creaza Education's cartoon creation tool. Creaza provides eight templates to get you started. The Manga, Crazy, and Norwegian Woods templates offer the most variation in settings and characters. The Historical Universes template is appealing to me too. The cartoon creation process is the same regardless of which template you choose. To create a cartoon drag items to each cartoon frame from the menus of settings, characters, and props. You can upload your own props and images to use too.

Aviary Online Image & Audio Editing Ends Tomorrow

As was announced in July, Aviary is shutting down their online advanced suite of image and audio editing tools. September 15, tomorrow, the advanced suite will be closed. If you have image or audio files stored in Aviary that you don't want to lose, download those files today. If you're interested you can read Aviary's closure announcement here.

Click here for five alternatives to Aviary for online audio recording and editing.

A National Parks Service Tour of Geology

From Yellowstone to Bryce Canyon to Acadia the United States is full of national parks that showcase wonderful geology. The National Park Service has organized all of the parks and their geological features on one Tour of Park Geology page. The Tour of Park Geology highlights fifteen geological features including fossils, caves, shorelines, and plate tectonics. Click on any feature on the Tour of Park Geology page to jump to more information about that feature and the park(s) that contain that feature.

Applications for Education
The Tour of Park Geology could be a good resource for finding photo albums and examples to use in your geology lessons. You could have students build a virtual national parks tour on Google Maps and have them include geology information in their tours.

Try Magisto for Simple Video Editing

Last month I reviewed Magisto on Android 4 Schools. Magisto for Android makes it easy to quickly trim raw video clips, combine them into longer productions, and overlay them with sound tracks. Yesterday, I discovered through the Official Google Docs/Drive Blog that the web version of Magisto now integrates with Google Drive.

The web version of Magisto is just as easy to use as the mobile version (available for Android and iOS). To use Magisto on the web just upload your raw video clips, trim the to length, combine clips together (optional), add a soundtrack, and you're done. If you're a Google Drive user who has videos stored in your account, you can upload those videos directly into Magisto.

Applications for Education
Magisto isn't going to replace WeVideo or iMovie as my favorite video editor. That said, if you need a tool for quickly creating a video montage, Magisto might be it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

YouTube Launches "Star Search" for Teachers

Okay, so YouTube's not bringing Ed McMahon back to life to have teachers sing and dance on stage, but they have launched a star search of sorts. Starting today and running through October 1st, YouTube is  looking to identify ten YouTube EDU Gurus.

YouTube has partnered with Khan Academy to run this contest. The ten chosen finalists will receive $1,000 toward for video production equipment, attend a three day workshop with Khan academy staff, and have work featured on YouTube EDU. To enter you have to submit video samples and answer two short essay questions (responses limited to 200 words).

Keith Hughes is one teacher that I would love to see chosen even though his productions are already of better quality than most of the Khan Academy stuff. If you're a history teacher and you haven't seen Keith's Hip Hughes History YouTube channel, go check it out now.