Friday, February 22, 2013

A Quick Guide to Using Interactive Whiteboards

Danny Nicholson runs The Whiteboard Blog where he has just posted another helpful guide for new interactive whiteboard users. Getter Started With Your Interactive Whiteboard offers some suggestions for activities to to familiarize yourself with the process of using an IWB regardless of which brand of IWB you have in your classroom. Danny has also included links to download the software for six brands of interactive whiteboards. After you have gotten familiar with the basics of using your new interactive whiteboard, you might want to move on to Danny's Interactive Whiteboard 101.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Create Animated Videos With Wideo

Wideo is a service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online. You can create an animated video on Wideo by dragging and dropping elements into place in the Wideo editor then setting the sequence of animations. Each element can be re-used as many times as you like and the timing of the animation of each image can individually adjusted. Wideo's stock elements include text, cartoons, and drawings. You can also upload your own images to use in your videos. Wideo's promo video is embedded below.

WIDEOO REEL ENG NEW LOGO from Agustin Esperon on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Wideo has the potential to be a great tool for students to use to bring their creative short stories to life. Wideo could also be used by students to create animated explanations of historical events, to animate biographies, or to teach other short lessons.

Thanks to Debbie Biddle for sharing Wideo with me in an email earlier this month. 

Create Interactive Videos on The Mad Video

The Mad Video is a new service for creating interactive videos. The service is kind of like ThingLink for videos. Using The Mad Video you can take a video that is hosted on YouTube and insert interactive tags. The tags can link to websites, images, or other video clips. People can see your tags when they place their cursors over your video. You can add multiple tags to each video in your The Mad Video account. When I tested The Mad Video this evening it worked for some, but not all videos that I tried. It did work with all of the videos that I own. Take a look at The Mad Video sample below.

To create your own interactive videos on The Mad Video you do have to create an account. After creating your account paste in the URL of the video that you want to make interactive. The Mad Video will provide you with a timeline editor for placing each of your interactive tags. Publish your video after placing all of your tags.

Applications for Education
The Mad Video could be a great tool for students to use to enhance videos that they create and or find on YouTube. You might have students create short videos about a topic and include interactive tags to direct viewers to the sources of their information, to additional video clips, or to additional reading about the subject of their videos.

Find Great Public Domain Images on Pixabay

Pixabay is a good place to find and download quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. When you find an image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture. 

Applications for Education
Whenever I lead a workshop on video production in the classroom I recommend that students use their own images whenever possible. When using their own images is not an option then I recommend using public domain images. Pixabay is a good place to find public domain images that students can use in their multimedia presentations.

H/T to Dianne Krause.

A Free Dictionary of Historical Terms, People, and Events

History Today offers a nice resource for quickly looking up definitions of terms frequently used in history texts, mini-biographies, and short summaries of historical events. The Historical Dictionary contains hundreds of concise entries. You can search for explanations of terms and events or search for mini-biographies by entering your query into the Historical Dictionary search engine. You can also browse the dictionary in alphabetical order. Each entry includes links to related entries and further reading suggestions.

Applications for Education
History Today's Historical Dictionary could be a good resource to include on class blog or website so that your students can quickly find it when they need a brief explanation a historical term. The concise entries could provide the mental jump-start that students sometimes need in order to recall other information that they already knew about the topic.