Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Video Creation and Editing 101

Creating videos is one of my favorite classroom activities for students. A well-planned video project can be used to have students sharpen their research, writing, and revising skills while developing video production skills. Below you will find a collection of tips and resources for learning to become a better video editor. If you're looking for a mobile video creation tool, take a look at this comparison chart.

In the video below WeVideo offers three key tips for shooting better videos.

The Vimeo Video School offers more than five dozen videos about creating better videos. Two of their videos are embedded below.

Quick Focusing Tips from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

Zoom vs. Moving Camera from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

Stillmotion is a video production company based in Oregon. They offer a series of videos all about how to tell stories through video. The series takes you through the planning, shooting, and editing of a video. The series isn't a how-to on the technical side of production as it is a how-to plan and think about the process of producing a great video. The first video in the series is embedded below. Below the video I've linked to the other videos and text outlines in the series.

Storytelling The Stillmotion Way: Part 1 from stillmotion on Vimeo.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

ClassDojo's Messenger App Now Supports Voice Messages

Two weeks ago ClassDojo launched a stand-alone messenger app. The app allows you to send messages from your mobile device to your students and their parents. The messenger app protects the privacy of you and your students by not relying on your cell phone number to send messages.

Today, ClassDojo announced the addition of voice messages to the messenger app. Voice notes in the ClassDojo messenger app can be sent to individuals or to groups of students and parents. The voice option is still in beta so you will need to sign-up here to receive early access.

Applications for Education
Text messages are great because they're quick and easy to send and receive. That said, there are times when voice does a better job of conveying your message. Sending a voice message could be a better option than a text message when you want to convey your enthusiasm for the improvement that a student is making in your classroom.

Monday, August 25, 2014

C-SPAN's New Student Documentary Contest

This fall C-SPAN is once again hosting a documentary video contest for students. The contest is open to middle school and high school students. To enter the contest students need to create a documentary video, 5-7 minutes in length, on the theme The Three Branches and You. Students should tell that demonstrates how a policy, law or action by either the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branch has affected them or their communities. The deadline for entries is January 20, 2015. This year $100,000 in prizes will be awarded. The theme and the deadline for this year's contest have been announced, but the rules page hasn't been updated yet. The rules from last year's contest are available here.

Applications for Education
Even if your students don't enter the contest, creating videos about a policy, law or action by either the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branch has affected them or their communities could be a great project for a civics class.

How to be Notified When Someone Completes Your Google Form

This morning I received an email from a reader who was looking for a way to be notified whenever someone completed the "contact me" form he had created through Google Forms and embedded into the Google Site for his classroom. Google Sheets, where Google Form responses are collected, has a built-in tool for notifications. To be notified, open the "tools" menu while viewing the spreadsheet on which your form responses are collected. In the "tools" menu select "notification rules." In the "notification rules" settings you can choose to be sent an email when someone submits new information through your Google Form.  Screenshots of the process are included below (click the images to view them in full size).

ReadWorks Adds Vocabulary Lists to Accompany Common Core-aligned Reading Passages

ReadWorks is a free service that has cataloged hundreds of lesson plans and nearly two thousand reading non-fiction and fiction passages aligned to Common Core standards. Vocabulary lists and lessons are the latest addition to ReadWorks. Now when you select a passage and a lesson in ReadWorks you can find a list of key vocabulary words to go with the passage. Click on a word in one of the vocabulary lists to find its definition and a list of sample uses of the word. At the bottom of the vocabulary list you will find PDF of practice exercises to give to students.

Applications for Education
With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade level, lexile score, reading skill, subject area, and text type (fiction or non-fiction). In your ReadWorks account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use.

Note: not all of the ReadWorks passages have accompanying vocabulary lists yet.