Friday, December 11, 2015

A Great Example of a Student Video Made With ChatterPix

Today, during a workshop in Kansas I showed some videos from Next Vista for Learning. One of those videos, titled A Healthy Meal, provides a great example of using ChatterPix to create talking images to use in a video. As you can see in the video below, the students used ChatterPix to create talking vegetables and other foods. Those clips were then put together in a video editor (I can't tell for certain, but I'll guess that they were assembled in iMovie or WeVideo). Watch the video below. It just might be the cutest academic video you'll watch this year.

More about ChatterPix
ChatterPix Kids is a free iPad app that students can use to turn pictures into talking pictures. To create a talking picture just snap a picture with your iPad or import a picture from your iPad’s camera roll. After taking the picture just draw in a face and tap the record button to make your picture talk. Your recording can be up to thirty seconds in length. Before publishing your talking picture you can add fun stickers, text, and frames to your picture. Finished Chatter Pix projects are saved to your camera roll and from there you can export it to a number of services including YouTube.

Five Tutorials on Creating Audio Recordings

One way to engage students in blogging activities is to have them create short audio recordings that serve as blog posts. Their recordings could be simple statements about what they've learned in your class or they could be full explanations of their thoughts on a news story. Students could also make audio recordings of interviews with classmates, parents, or people that they meet on a job shadow trip. The StoryCorps Question Generator can help students format interview questions.

There is no shortage of tools for creating audio recordings. The five that are featured in the playlist below are all tools that I've used with students at various times.

The tools featured in the playlist are Vocaroo, SoundCloud,, AudioBoom, and AudioPal.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Two Ways to Blur Faces in Videos

Whether it's a holiday concert, a science fair, or a sporting event throughout the school year there are plenty of opportunities for creating videos that include images and or raw video of students doing neat things. Not every student wants to appear in those videos. Likewise, not every parent wants his or her child's image to appear in those videos. Fortunately, there are a couple of relatively easy ways to blur a child's image in a video.

How to blur an image in a video slideshow:
If your video is just a set of images set to audio with a bit of text sprinkled-in, try using Skitch to blur students' faces before adding those images to your video slideshow. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how this works.

How to blur an image in a live-action video:
Blurring images in a live-action video is a bit more difficult to do than in a video slideshow, but it can be done. Within YouTube's video editor there is a "blur" function found in the "enhancements" section. Turn on the blur enhancement and YouTube will automatically blur faces in an image. The shortcoming of this feature is that it blurs all faces. There isn't a way to specify which faces to blur and which not to blur.

What's New in WhatsDue

WhatsDue is a free service (available for Android and iOS) that enables teachers to create and send due date reminders to their students. Students receive the reminders as push notifications on their iOS and or Android devices. During the last year I've found that teachers appreciate that WhatsDue is a simple platform that does its job well. Recently, WhatsDue pushed a couple of convenient updates.

Now in WhatsDue you can see when your students mark an assignment as completed. This should give you an indication of how many students completed assignments and when they completed them.

The other recent update to WhatsDue allows you to preview what an assignment reminder will look like to students and parents. This is a nice way to make sure that what you intend to send is actually what students will see.

How it works:
Here's how WhatsDue works. First, the teacher registers for a free account on the WhatsDue website and creates a class or classes. Each class is assigned its own unique join code. Teachers then invite students and parents to join the class through the join code. Once students have joined the class they will begin receiving due date reminders on their mobile devices.

What makes it different from similar services:
If you have been leery of using other reminder systems because of privacy concerns with phone numbers or two-way communication, WhatsDue might be for you. It doesn't require phone numbers and it doesn't have two-way communication. It also allows students to be reminded of assignments on a schedule that works for them. For example, they can set the app to remind them of assignments a day before or a couple of hours before an assignment is due.

Cast Your Vote for the Best Free Technology for Teachers of 2015

Usually at this time of the year I publish a list of my favorite apps and websites. The problem with my list is that it's based mostly on views of blog posts and informal feedback from participants in my workshops (I'll come to your school). This year I'm looking for your help in building the list of best apps and websites.

If you have a favorite app or website, please vote for it in the Google Form embedded below. Seven categories are included in the form. Please scroll down the form to see all categories and tools. I'll publish the final results next Friday.