Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Three Things to Consider When Planning Video Projects

This afternoon at the TICL conference I gave a short presentation about classroom video projects. Part of that presentation is a short list of things to consider when planning a video project.

1. The first consideration is what you want your students to demonstrate through their videos. This will help to determine which video production tools your students will use. For example, if you want your students to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of Manifest Destiny then you'll probably want them to create longer documentary-style videos by using a tool like WeVideo. On the other hand, if you just want your students to share some highlights of their field trips then a simple tool like Animoto might be adequate.

2. Your students' skill level with video editing tools. Early in the school year when my students don't have a lot of experience with video production tools, I like to start them out with relatively simple tools. Then as they year progresses I introduce them to move complex tools.

3. Be concise. Last year Wistia published some interesting data that revealed that people are more likely to watch multiple short videos all the way through than one longer video of equivalent length. Consider having your students use the YouTube annotations tool to create a series of linked, short videos about a topic rather than one long video. Directions for doing this can be found here.

Four Google+ How-to Videos

Last month I wrote 5 Things I Like About Building a PLN on Google+. Over the last ten days I've had four opportunities to talk with teachers about personal learning networks. In each of those presentations I've introduced Google+. One of the things that I like about Google+ is the ease with which you can start and follow conversations. If you've been considering trying Google+ or you've tried and didn't quite get it, take a look at the following videos from Google about how to get started on Google+.

GoSoapBox - Survey Your Audience In a Variety of Ways

GoSoapBox is a nice tool for surveying your audience on realtime. I first tried the service a couple of years ago when it was still in beta. GoSoapBox allows you to have your audience respond to questions through their laptops, tablets, and phones.

This morning I saw Doug Johnson use it during his presentation at the TICL conference in Storm Lake, Iowa. Doug used a couple of the handy features in GoSoapBox to get the audience involved in his presentation. The tools that he used were Polls and Discussions. The Polls tool allows you to survey your audience by having them select an answer choice in response to a question. The Discussions tool allows you to have audience members reply to open-ended questions.

GoSoapBox has a handy option called a Confusion Meter. The Confusion Meter allows members of your audience to simply say, "yes, I get it" or "no, I don't get it." The Confusion Meter, like all of the GoSoapBox survey tools, can accept anonymous feedback.

Applications for Education
GoSoapBox allows you to create an event prior to your presentation or lesson. You can select all of the questions and question formats ahead of time. When your presentation or lesson starts, give your students the link to the event and they can access respond to the questions when you prompt them to respond. The Confusion Meter is the simplest tool in the GoSoapBox collection, but might be the most useful for some teachers.

Monday, June 17, 2013

FlowReader Makes It Easy to Transfer Google Reader Subscriptions

Google Reader users have 13 days left to figure out how they are going to subscribe to and read their favorite blogs after Google Reader shuts down. FlowReader is a free RSS reader that I tried this afternoon and I have to say that it couldn't be easier to import your Google Reader subscriptions.

To start using FlowReader just visit the homepage and click "Import Your Google Reader Feeds Now." After clicking that button authorize FlowReader to access your Google Reader feeds and all of your feeds will be imported into FlowReader. If you are using categories in Google Reader, those will be imported too. After importing your feeds you can connect your social media accounts like Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also connect Evernote, Instapaper, and many other bookmarking services to your FlowReader account. FlowReader lets you read your feeds in full article view or in a headline-only view.
Headline-only view in FlowReader.

Applications for Education
Everywhere I go I try to encourage people to create a list of blogs and websites that can aid their professional learning. FlowReader could be a great place to create those collections and keep up with the latest information from your favorite sources.

Create Multimedia Presentations & Quizzes in Edmodo

Soo Meta is a great tool for creating multimedia presentations and quizzes. I tried it for the first time back in March and it has only improved since then. Today, I learned that Soo Meta is available in Edmodo. So if you use Edmodo and you want to create multimedia presentations and quizzes or you want your students to create them, that can happen by using Edmodo log-in credentials.

Soo Meta allows you to combine videos from YouTube, pictures from the web or from your desktop, text, and voice recordings to create a presentation. You can also pull content in from Pinterest and Twitter to use in your final product. Soo Meta also allows you to insert a quiz into your projects. This means that people viewing your Soo Meta projects can watch a short video clip then answer questions about it before moving onto the next part of the presentation.

Applications for Education
Soo Meta could be a good tool for creating short flipped lessons for your students. You could have students create projects in which they create book trailers using video clips, images, and their voices. Students could use Soo Meta to create a digital collage of media around a current events topic that they're studying. Soo Meta might also be used by students to create a showcase of their best digital works of the semester.