Friday, April 5, 2013

Scoot & Doodle - Drawing and Mind Mapping in Google+ Hangouts

Scoot & Doodle is a fun Google+ Hangout application that Kyle Pace recently introduced to me. Scoot & Doodle provides a blank canvas on which you can draw, stamp, and type. You can hangout and collaborate with up to nine people at a time on Scoot & Doodle. You can save each of your canvases in a Scoot & Doodle scrapbook. See how it works in the video below.

Applications for Education
Scoot & Doodle could be a good tool for creating free-hand mind maps, to explain how to solve a mathematics problem, or to just have fun creating drawings to use in a presentation.

Pin-a-note - Sticky Notes for Your Windows 8 Start Screen

The more I use Windows 8 the more I get the hang of the shortcuts and the utility of the start screen. This morning I added a new utility to the start screen, sticky notes. Pin-a-note is a free Windows 8 app that you can use to write and pin sticky notes to your start screen. Pin-a-note is a simple sticky note application that doesn't have a color coding option, but it does everything else that I use sticky notes for on my Windows 7 computer and on my MacBook.

Applications for Education
If your school is starting to use Windows 8 computers and tablets, you're probably looking to continue to use some of your favorite productivity tools on this new operating system. Pin-a-note brings the commonly used sticky notes to Windows 8.

Excellent Tools for Creating Videos Without Installing Software

Over the years I've published some lists and reviews of free tools for creating videos online. Quite a few of those tools have been for creating simple videos that are really just automated, audio slideshows. See Animoto for an example of this. There's nothing inherently wrong with having your students use those tools, but at some point you will want to take your video projects to the next level. These are the five tools that I recommend for creating and editing videos without installing any special software.

Pixorial is the online video creation tool that I hear teachers talking about a lot lately. The thing that I like the most about Pixorial is that the video creation and editing tools are laid out in an intuitive user interface. Most users will never find themselves wondering what any of the editing tools do or what to click on next. To create a video in Pixorial you can upload pictures and raw video footage then organize that media into the sequence in which you want it to appear. You can insert transitions between elements by selecting them from the transitions gallery. If you would like to add a soundtrack to your production you can select one from the Pixorial gallery or upload your own audio files. Pixorial also makes it easy to add text to each picture or video that you upload. Just click on "overlay text" in the video editor when you're viewing the element that you want to add text to. Pixorial offers a free plan to educators. The educators' plan provides 30GB of free storage. Pixorial offers Android and iOS apps too.

WeVideo is a collaborative online video creation tool. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. What makes WeVideo collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. The WeVideo Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects.

PowToon is a nice service for creating explanatory videos through a drag and drop process. The videos that you create feature digital paper cut-outs on a colorful background. Think of PowToon as an online tool for creating videos in the style made popular by Common Craft. PowToon provides drawings of people and objects that you can arrange on blank canvas. After adding your narration to the arrangement you can publish your video. PowToon's free version limits your videos to 45 seconds.

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 and audio files to use in your videos.

WIDEOO REEL ENG NEW LOGO from Agustin Esperon on Vimeo.

Weavly provides a simple drag and drop interface that allows you to search for, trim and combine tracks without ever leaving the Weavly site. You can mix together video and audio from YouTube, Vine, and SoundCloud. You can also add animated GIFs from Loopcam, Tumblr, and Imgur. To start creating your Weavly video perform a search for video content. When you find a video clip that you like drag it to the Weavly editor where you can adjust the start and end times of the clip. Then move on to adding sounds by search for sounds and draggin them to the Weavly editor where you can again trim the start and end times. Finally, you can add some animated GIFs by searching for them and dragging them into the editor. You can repeat all of these steps as many times as you like to create your video.

Use a Timer In ClassDojo

The popular student behavior tracking service ClassDojo has added new feature that teachers have asked for, a timer. The timer is available to you when you're viewing a class in your web browser (it's not in the iPad app). The timer has a countdown and a count-up mode. The video below shows you how it works.

Applications for Education
Over the last year I've heard from a lot teachers who love ClassDojo. One good use of ClassDojo is projecting the "positive behaviors only" screen while giving out positive recognition at the end of the school day. I've also had a conversation with a high school teacher who is using ClassDojo as a way to award points for participation in classroom discussions as the discussion are happening. And if students are logged-in to their accounts they can track their progress too.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Three Videos Looking at Life Inside North Korea

Last month I shared five resources for teaching about the history of conflict between North and South Korea. This afternoon I spent some time looking at resources for showing students what life is like for citizens inside of North Korea. Here are few of video resources that I think are worth sharing. All three of these were produced before the death of Kim Jong Il.

Inside North Korea was produced by National Geographic Explorer. Some of the imagery may not be appropriate for use with students younger than high school age.

Snag Films is currently hosting a three part series of videos about life inside North Korea. Part one is embedded below.

Life Inside the North Korean Bubble is the title of a BBC article and fifteen minute video (viewing may be restricted in some areas) on daily life in North Korea.