Monday, June 1, 2015

Student Created Videos: Google Slides and Screencasting

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Jonathan Brubaker.

Right place at the right time. The place was Edcamp Palm Springs. The time was a session on video in the classroom led by Jessica Pack. This perfect moment pushed me to provide opportunities for students to use video in their projects.

Since my students have Chromebooks, I decided to use Google Slides to design content and screencasting extensions to record video. Google Slides is a very versatile image and text editing tool and I spent a lot of time throughout the year teaching my students how to use it effectively. In order to make our slide decks into video, I used screencasting tools for Google Chrome. The two best options are Screencastify or Snagit’s screen clipping app and extension. Both products have many of the same features, but Screencastify allows students to include their faces when creating video projects. Both of them work by clicking on the extension and then pressing the record button. Students can record a single tab or the whole screen.

One of the first projects my students completed was a screencast of a Google Slide presentation. Throughout the year my students worked in collaborative groups to create a slide deck to present to the class on a topic the class was studying. Unfortunately, this meant that students had to furiously take notes while the speakers presented. When we turned this assignment into a screen cast, the speakers could work on writing carefully worded scripts and the audience could pause and rewind the content as needed.


Next, I had my students create a Public Service Announcement after a unit on brain research. Students were required to come up with advice for fellow teenagers on how to use technology responsibly using the information my students had learned about the brain. Again, slides was an excellent resource for creating the visuals for the unit. While I usually tell students to stay away from animations in live presentations, many of the animations worked out well on a screencast. Students also had to think through how to create visuals to supplement what they had learned.


Finally, my 8th grade students had to create a children’s book for a performance task after completing a unit on Frederick Douglas. The book had to adapt an episode from his autobiography and turn it into a powerful narrative for fifth graders. After completing the books I wanted the students to share them with a wider audience and add a personal touch beyond the text. I decided to have them create an audio-visual book by screencasting themselves reading their book. Since the book was created in slides, all they had to do was record themselves reading the book while turning the pages. We could then share the links to the videos with one of our feeder elementary schools.


In the future, I would like students to create tutorials on how to use common web tools as a resource for other students. Screencasting can also be a great way to share Genius Hour projects with a wider audience. If it is on the screen, students can create a video project with it.

I am middle school teacher in Beaumont, CA. In 2014 I was the California League of Middle Schools State Educator of the Year. I have a passion for inspiring students to love reading, writing, discussing, and presenting. I do my best to incorporate technology into the classroom in a way that amplifies my instruction and engages students.

http://techtipsedu.blogspot.com

@mrjbrubaker

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Month in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Moonrise in Maine.
The end of the month is here. As I do at the end of every month I have put together a list of the most popular posts of the month. In this month's list you'll find resources for creating fun end-of-year review activities, free PDF handouts on digital storytelling, and tips on using Google Spreadsheets.




Here are this month's most popular posts:
1. Six Styles of Classroom Video Projects - A Handout
2. 12 Good Tools for Creating End-of-Year Review Activities
3. Ten Great Tools for Telling Stories With Pictures - A PDF Handout
4. Making the Most of Google Keep
5. Create Rubrics and Email Grades from a Google Spreadsheet
6. By Request - Five Options for Creating Videos on Chromebooks
7. 5 Good Ways to Send Text & Push Notifications to Students & Parents - A Handout
8. Seven Steps for Creating Videos In Your Classroom
9. Create Animated Videos and Presentations at the Same Time on Wideo
10. What2Learn - Create Your Own Review Games

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Three Video Tutorials on Using Padlet in Your Classroom

As I mentioned in my mailbag post yesterday, Padlet is one of my favorite tools for gathering comments and questions from students. I've also used Padlet as a task management tool, as a blogging tool, as a multimedia collage platform, and as a tool for collaborative bookmarking of websites. In the playlist embedded below I explain and demonstrate how to do all of those things with Padlet.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mailbag - Answers to Questions from Readers

Every week I receive a questions from readers of FreeTech4Teachers.com. Some of those questions are very specific to a classroom or school while others have a more broad appeal. Those with a broader appeal end up in my periodic mailbag columns. Here are some questions that I've recently received whose answers may benefit a number of people. If you have a question for me you can email me directly at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com or if you're an email subscriber just hit the reply button on any email I send out.

Question:
My colleagues and I are looking for a way for students to post ideas (but not a polling site). Do you have any suggestions?

Padlet.com is a tool that makes it easy for students to post ideas. Tozzl.com is another that I like for that purpose. A video on how to use Padlet is available here. A video on how to use Tozzl is available here.

Question:
I teach journalism and have been exploring apps to help my students record, edit and post audio interviews and, if possible, narrated slideshows. Any free apps for iPhone and Android that you can recommend?

A few options come to mind for your situation. First, StoryCorps.me is designed to help people conduct and record great interviews. The app includes a set of questions that you can use in your interview. The question sets are varied depending upon the relationship that you do or don't have with your interviewee. While recording your interview you can swipe through the questions to help you keep the interview on track. Completed recordings can saved on your device and or shared with the StoryCorps community. Second, AudioBoom offers an app (iOS and Android) for creating audio recordings. You can apply a background image to display with the recording when it is posted online. Finally, I often recommend ShadowPuppet Edu for making audio slideshows on an iPad, but I fear that university students might find it a little too simple.

Question:
My local professional org. wants to create a free website for our group. And, we are using smore for a monthly newsletter. Is there a way we can combine our needs into a website with pages that archive monthly content say with Google? Where would we find info/training vids on this?

When you say, "say with Google" I assume you're talking about a Google Account. If that is the case then Google Sites is a good option for developing a website for your organization. You can have multiple page formats including an announcements page within your site. If you're trying to divide the workload in your organization then you can add multiple editors to the site too. As for training, I have a tutorial on Google Sites that can be viewed here. I also offer online training on Google Apps.

Question:
With my students I have created bilingual dictionary in Google sheets (two columns, one for English and one for translation). Do you happen to know of any way to turn it into online dictionary with a search box?

If you share the Spreadsheet with students in a "view only" mode they should be able to search within the spreadsheet (Ctrl+F will bring up the search box). The process for doing this would be to publish the spreadsheet to the web as "view only" (that setting is found under the File menu) then post the link on your blog or simply direct to students to the link through a Goo.gl shortened URL.

The Week in Review - The Winds Are Changing

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where the wind is howling as the temperature is dropping. At this time of year around here we see a lot of rapid shifts in the weather. The shifts make it hard to plan outdoor activities (I should have ridden my bike before the wind picked up) and it creates some really cool colors in the sky like that in the picture to the left. From my office window on Thursday I shot a neat video of a thunderstorm rolling in. You can see that video here on my Instagram feed.

Speaking of summer. I'm offering a few online PD opportunities this summer. Teaching History With Technology begins in July, Getting Going With GAFE is offered in June and July, and Blogs & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is offered in July. 

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Making the Most of Google Keep
2. Ten Great Tools for Telling Stories With Pictures - A PDF Handout
3. Create Animated Videos and Presentations at the Same Time on Wideo
4. Dozens of Story Starters in One Free eBook
5. A Crash Course for Kids on Weathering & Erosion
6. Try Scratch Jr. for Programming Fun on iPads and Android Tablets
7. How to Create, Edit, and Share Notes on Google Keep

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.