Thursday, July 16, 2015

Three Audio Slideshow Video Projects for Students

Tools like Stupeflix, Animoto, and Shadow Puppet Edu make it easy for students to quickly create videos. I often use these tools when introducing video production projects to teachers who have never attempted to have their students make videos. Here are three types of assignments that you can build around audio slideshow video tools.

Biographical/ Autobiographical Stories
Have students arrange a short audio slideshow about historical figures they're learning about in your classroom. Shadow Puppet Edu offers a built-in image search tool that makes it easy for students to find public domain pictures of historical figures.

Or have students tell short stories about themselves to introduce themselves to their classmates. Students can pull pictures from their personal cell phones or social media accounts to complete this project. (If social media is blocked in your school, ask students to download pictures at home and place them in a Google Drive or Dropbox folder to use in school).

Book Trailer Videos
In place of or in addition to a traditional book report have students create an audio slideshow video about books they've recently read. Students can use images they made or grab images from sites like Photos for Class and Pixabay to use in their videos. Check out Book Trailers for Readers for more ideas about book trailer projects.

Video Timeline
Whether they're studying current events or historical events students can create video timelines by arranging images into a sequence that demonstrates the development of a significant event. Ask students to layer text onto their images to include dates and descriptions.

The knock against tools like Stupeflix and Animoto is that they make it "too easy" for students to make a video and that they don't learn anything by making videos through these tools. As with most things in the world of ed tech it's not so much the complexity of the tool that matters, it's the assignment that you give to students that matters.

Disclosure: Shadow Puppet Edu and Photos for Class are owned by companies that advertise on this blog. 

How to Create a Video on Stupeflix - No Registration Required

Earlier this week at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp a number of us used Stupeflix to create videos. Stupeflix doesn't require users to register in order to produce a video. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Stupeflix to create a video without registering on the site.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Save Time and Keystrokes With This Chrome Extension

Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome is a convenient Chrome extension that I've recently started using. The extension enables me to create keyboard shortcuts for words and phrases that I frequently use in emails.

To get started saving time sending emails install Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome. Once the extension is installed you will be sent a page to create your database of shortcuts. A handful of sample shortcuts are provided for you to help you understand how to format your shortcuts. After creating your shortcuts database you're ready to start using them in email and other web applications.

To use your Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome shortcuts in your email just type the shortcut and hit the space bar to see the full text appear. For example, I have a shortcut "tyfr" that I now use when I want to write "thank you for reading my blog" in an email.

Applications for Education
At the beginning of every new semester I find myself answering the same type of question fairly frequently. You probably experience the same. Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome should make replying to those frequently asked questions a bit easier than before.

Camp Google - Learn About Oceans, Animals, Space, and Music

Once again this summer Google is offering an online educational camp for kids. Camp Google is a four week program designed for seven to ten year old children. Each week has its own theme. This week is Ocean Week.

Camp Google features videos, live and recorded, with experts in each week's thematic topic. The videos are designed to inform as well as prompt further inquiry by students. Students can conduct virtual investigations through Camp Google. Students, with the help of an adult, can also participate in hands-on learning activities related to the theme of each week of Camp Google. Materials lists for the hands-on activities are available to download on the Camp Google website.

Applications for Education
Camp Google is designed to be used as a summer learning experience for children to participate in with the help of a parent or other adult. The online activities and the hands-on activities could be used by teachers when students return in the fall. Elementary school teachers should take a look at the hands-on activities materials lists to get ideas for hands-on activities to do in their classrooms.

5 Google Maps Tutorials for Teachers and Students

Yesterday, at that the third annual Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp Jim Wells spent about an hour sharing ideas for using Google Maps and Google Earth in variety of classroom settings. Google Earth offers a vastly more robust set of features than Google Maps offers. However, Google Maps is easier to access and is initially easier to understand. I have a set of Google Maps tutorial videos that I've created over the last year. Those videos are included in the playlist embedded below.

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