Friday, July 17, 2015

An Interactive Video Series About the Search for the Northwest Passage

Journey Into the Arctic is a neat choose-your-own-adventure series of videos about the search for the Northwest Passage. The series of videos, produced by Canadian Heritage, puts viewers in the role of an explorer leaving England in the 19th century to search for the Northwest Passage. At the end of each segment in the series viewers have to make decisions about navigation and logistical concerns. Each decision will lead to another segment in which viewers can continue or turn back in the exploration.

Applications for Education
Journey Into the Arctic could be a nice resource to use in an elementary school history or geography lesson.

The series itself is a good example of how you can build an interactive video series in YouTube through YouTube annotations. Click here to learn how to use YouTube annotations.

Thanks to Jen Deyenberg for sharing Journey Into the Arctic on Twitter.

A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Explanatory Animated GIFs

When it comes to crafting explanatory videos and images no one does it better than Lee and Sachi at Common Craft. Recently, they published a comprehensive free guide to creating animated GIFs as explanations.

In How to Create ExplainerGIFs you will learn how to create animated GIFs using software that you probably have already. Through the guide you'll learn how to publish and share your explanatory GIFs. If you need images to use in your GIFs, How to Create ExplainerGIFs has a section devoted to finding images appropriate for crafting explanations.

Applications for Education
Having students create an animated GIF to explain a concept could be a good way to get them to think about how the individual parts of a concept come together to form one cohesive process.

The examples section of How to Create ExplainerGIFs are a good source of ideas for using animated GIFs in school. In the examples you will see animated GIFs used to bring graphs to life, a GIF used to explain how a sewing machine works, and a GIF to illustrate a soccer rule.

New Content Notifications in Google Classroom

Students who use the Google Classroom mobile apps (iOS and Android) will soon be able to receive instant notifications when new content is added in their classrooms. Students will receive notifications of new assignments from teachers, new announcements, grades becoming available, and new comments in the Classroom stream.

The new announcements feature could help students stay on top of course content. However, it could also become just another alert on their phones that they mute or ignore.

Source: Google Apps update blog

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.