Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Three Options for Creating Year-in-Review Videos

As the end of 2014 approaches we'll start to see most news organizations publish videos that review the biggest stories of the year. Some of these videos will feature serious news while others will be of a lighter nature. Instead of waiting for year-in-review videos to appear on the web, challenge your students to create their own year-in-review videos. Students' year-in-review videos could be about local news, national or global news, entertainment, sports, or a combination of all of these areas.

Three free tools students can use to create year-in-review videos:
1. The simplest of the options on this list is to use the YouTube photo slideshow tool. The YouTube photo slideshow creation tools allow you to specify the length of time that each image is displayed for. After uploading your images you can use the annotations tool to add as much text as you like to each frame of your video. Directions for creating a YouTube photo slideshow are available here.

2. WeVideo is a online video creation tool that has been featured many times on Free Technology for Teachers. In the WeVideo 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.

3. Weavly is a video creation tool that 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.

How to Build Your Own Custom Image Search Engine

Flickr can be a good place to find Creative Commons-licensed images to use in multimedia projects. That said, Flickr does have its flaws and some inappropriate pictures can slip through its filters. One way to avoid this problem is to build your own Google Custom Search Engine. In your search engine you can specify the image hosts that you want your search engine to index. When your students use your search engine the only content that will appear will be from the sites that you have deemed appropriate for them to view. You could start building your search engine with this list of sites that host public domain and Creative Commons-licensed content.

How to create a Google Custom Search Engine.

Important note for building an image search engine: on the page in which you specify the sites to index you must enable Image Search.
Add caption

Monday, December 8, 2014

Create Trading Cards for Fictional and Historical Characters

Big Huge Labs offers a great selection of free tools for building digital products with your pictures. One of the tools that I like is their Trading Card generator that allows you to create trading cards about people, places, and events both real and fictional. To create your card you simply upload a picture or import one from Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook then add some text details about the person featured in the card. I created one about my dog, Morrison.

Applications for Education
As I wrote when I featured Read Write Think's Trading Card Creator earlier this year, the Big Huge Labs Trading Card generator could be used by students is to create a set of trading cards about characters in a novel, to create a set of cards about people of historical significance, or to create cards about places that they're studying in their geography lessons.

2 Good Sites and 2 Good iPad Apps to Virtually Explore Chemical Reactions

The chemistry lab was the location of some of my most memorable moments in high school. Many of the lessons I learned then can now be experienced virtually on a laptop or iPad. Take a look at these options for exploring chemical reactions virtually.

The Molecular Workbench is an excellent site produced by the Concord Consortium with funding from the National Science Foundation. On the Molecular Workbench you can find dozens of interactive models, simulations, and lessons in biology, chemistry, and physics. Each of the lessons walk students through a concept or series of concepts using a set of models and simulations. For example, the Cellular Respiration activity is actually a series of nine lessons using simulations of the process. In addition to the pre-made models, simulations, and lessons users can create their own using the tools provided by the Molecular Workbench.

Chem Collective is a project designed and maintained by Carnegie Mellon University's chemistry department and the National Science Digital Library. On Chem Collective you will find virtual labs for chemistry experiments, simulations, visualizations, tutorials, and auto-graded problems. Students and teachers can search the site by resource type or by chemistry topic.

goREACT is a free iPad and Android app from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. This free iPad app allows students to virtually create chemical reactions. To create the reactions students simply drag elements from the periodic table to the “reaction area.” The app features suggested reactions to help students get started. In all there are nearly 300 chemical reactions supported on the app. The app includes pictures and videos related to the reactions that students can virtually create on goREACT.

Elements 4D is an augmented reality app through which students can create virtual reactions. Elements 4D provides templates for cutting and folding paper cubes. Each cube represents elements from the Periodic Table of Elements. Students scan the cubes with their iPads or Android tablets to learn more about the elements they represent. Put two cubes together and scan them to see how the elements interact with each other. Elements 4D now offers a collection of lesson plans that utilize the augmented reality app in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Elements 4D is available for iPad and Android.

Ebooks of Lesson Ideas for iPad Apps in the Classroom

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

iPads have entered classrooms at an unprecedented rate. In response to the prevalence of this device in schools, Apple has released a series of free eBooks outlining lesson plans for various apps. What makes these especially powerful is that they harness iPad’s unique feature of being a mobile creation device. All of the eBooks are free and the apps, if not free, are heavily discounted under Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for Educational Institutions.

Each of these eBooks focuses on a specific app and outlines a series of lesson plan ideas by grade level and subject matter. A quick note for educators, many of these Apps have iPhone and Android Options so these eBooks could be used for other platforms as well.

SketchBook Express Lesson Ideas

SketchBook Express allows students to draw, paint, and draft using just their fingerprints! Not just for art and design, there are lessons for Mathematics K-5, Science 5-8, History 5-12, Art K-5, and Science 9-12.

Stop Motion Studio Lesson Ideas

Stop Motion Studio allows students to act out their own scenes or incorporate clay, drawings, and photos to “create animated sequences.” This is a creative way to bring video into your classroom. There are lessons for Mathematics K-5, Science K-8, Literacy 9-12, and History 9-12.

Explain Everything Lesson Ideas

Lessons cover mathematics for grades K-12, Literacy grades K-12, Social Studies 9-12, and Science 6-8. Each lesson outlines age levels, objectives, sample rubrics, and examples. The outlines are a great way to get started and to build from as you progress with the tool.

Hopscotch Lesson Ideas

Hopscotch is a simple tool that “helps students learn to code, letting them get creative while developing computer science, problem-solving, and logical-thinking skills.” However, don’t think that all of the exercises are focused on computer science and coding. Rather, they provide lessons that help you to infuse coding skills into a “traditional” curriculum. Lessons cover K-8 mathematics, Literacy K-5, Foreign Language 6-8, Science K-5, and Geography 6-8.

Puppet Pals HD Lesson Ideas

Puppet Pals allows students to create their own characters and record voice overs in order to tell stories. It’s similar to other comic book apps, but allows for moveable characters that can be personalized. Lessons include topics for Science K-5, Literacy K-5, Geography 5-8, and Foreign Language 5-8.

If you would like to explore more tools for your Mobile Device classroom, check out EdTechTeacher’s “Apps for the Classroom” and “Tech Tools by Subject and Skills" or come join them for their February 9-11 iPad Summit in San Diego.