Friday, May 15, 2015

Three Good Tools for Building Animated Videos in a BYOD Environment

One of the challenges that teachers face in BYOD environments is finding tools that will work for all of their students and all of the various devices they bring to school. I was reminded of this today when I received an email from a reader who was looking for a tool similar to Tellagami for her students that didn't have iOS or Android devices.

Tellagami is an app for iPad and Android that is a lot of fun to use to create narrated animations. Tellagami allows you to create customized animated scenes in a matter of minutes. To create a narrated, animated scene simply open Tellagami and tap “create.” After opening the create menu you will see a default character and background scene. The characters can be altered by selecting from a big menu of customization options. The background scenes can be changed by selecting from a menu or by inserting a picture from your iPad or Android tablet’s camera roll. To add your voice to your animations simply tap “record” and start talking. Completed animations are stored on the camera roll of your iPad or tablet. Tellagami does not require students to create accounts or have an email address.

Wideo is a neat video creation service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online through a simple drag-and-drop process. A couple of months ago Wideo started offering templates to help users start their video projects. Wideo templates provide a basic framework for a video's theme. A couple of the templates that might be of interest to teachers are the slideshow template and the curriculum template.

Scratch allows students to program animations, games, and videos through a visual interface. Students create their programs by dragging together blocks that represent movements and functions on their screens. The blocks snap together to help students see how the "if, then" logic of programming works.

Applications for Education
Creating animated videos is a great way for students to bring a story to life. They can create animations for stories they have written or for stories they have read.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How to Privately Share Videos Through YouTube

As the end of the school year approaches there are lots of occasions to shoot videos of things like commencement ceremonies, school plays, and field days. While many students and parents would like to see those videos shared, not all students and parents want to see those videos shared with the whole world. I've previously written about privately sharing videos through Google Drive. Another option is to privately share videos through YouTube. In the video embedded below I provide directions for privately sharing a video through YouTube.

Breaking News from

Breaking News is Russel Tarr's latest creation on Breaking News is a template for creating fake breaking news screens like those that you might see on CNN or BBC News. Russel sent me a Twitter message about Breaking News this morning and I quickly tried my hand at making a fake breaking news screen. Through the template you can add a news headline, a ticker, a location, and custom background image. After completing the template you can download your news screen as an image or host it online at Imgur.

I initially tried the template in Chrome where it ran a little slow when I uploaded an image. I had a better experience with the template in Firefox.

Applications for Education
Russel Tarr has a bunch of examples of Breaking News screens created about historical events like the assassination of President Lincoln. You could also have students create Breaking News screens about major turning points in the plots of their favorite fiction works.

How to Create a Rubric in Google Sheets - Video Demonstration

Yesterday, I published a post about the Google Sheets Add-on called Online Rubric. This morning I had a couple emails from folks with questions about how to use it. The video embedded below provides an overview of how to create a rubric in a Google Sheet.

Remind's Chat Feature Is Now Open to Everyone

Back in March I wrote about Remind (formerly Remind 101) adding a chat feature to their free mobile messaging service. That service initially launched in a private beta. Remind's chat feature is now available to all users.

Remind chat allows students and parents to reply with text to a teacher's messages. Just as Remind has always done, the real phone numbers of both parties is hidden. When I first heard about Remind chat I was leery of it because I was concerned that students and parents would be messaging teachers at all hours of the day and expecting rapid responses. Remind alleviated that concern when I saw the "office hours" setting in the Remind chat service. "Office hours" allows teachers to specify when they will allow them to state when they will be available for messaging. Teachers can also pause or stop chat exchanges at any time.

Applications for Education
The chat feature is one that Remind says has been requested by a lot of teachers. The feature should make it easier for you to quickly bring clarity to a message that a student or parent didn't initially understand. Before using the new chat feature I would set office hours and clear guidelines for the kind of conversations that you will have with students and parents through the Remind chat feature.