Monday, December 19, 2016

Anchor - Simple Podcasting

Earlier today I Tweeted a link to my first recording. Anchor provides a simple way to create and publish short podcasts. In fact, you can't record for more than two minutes at a time on the Anchor apps. I like that you cannot record for more than two minutes at a time. The time limit forces people to get to the point rather than filling time with buffer music, "words from our sponsors," and other filler conversation that doesn't add any value to the podcast.

When you publish on Anchor your podcast is open to voice responses from listeners. Listeners reply by just hitting the "reply" button below your published recording then speaking into their phones.

Applications for Education
Anchor is not a platform that I would recommend for student use. The commenting system is too open to be appropriate for classroom use (think YouTube comments without moderation). But Anchor could be a good platform for teachers or administrators who are looking for an easy way to create a professional development podcast.

One Image Inspires a Lesson

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning, a great place to find and share educational videos.

Imagine starting class without saying anything. The students look at you, awaiting something. You wait long enough to catch their attention, and then project this image in front of them:
Image source: Rushton Hurley

You then speak up, asking the class to take a close look at the sculpture, and in pairs, come up with at least three connections between what they see and what was covered in the last class. Let them know that truly cool answers earn style points, which aren't factored into their grades, but are a good thing to have earned, anyway.

It's not that your last class is expected to have covered Tang Dynasty sculpture. In fact, the idea is that you didn't. What you want is for the students to actively talk with each other about what you covered last without your having to say, "Okay class, let's review what we covered yesterday."

In other words, make learning a little more active, a little more creative, and a little more fun with an image. Any image that doesn't get you fired is probably okay. Hopefully they'll come up with some cool connections!

Three Ways to Create Year-in-Review Videos

It is the time of year when just about every media company is publishing a year-in-review video. Those year-in-review videos will cover everything from the top news stories of the year to celebrity gossip stories to memorials for famous people who died in 2016. Asking students to create year-in-review videos can be a good way for them to recall their best moments of the year or to recall the most important news stories of the year. Students could use the following free tools to create year-in-review videos.

Just last week Adobe Spark added the option for students to include video samples in the videos they make in Adobe Spark. Previously, the videos students made in Adobe Spark could only include text, pictures, music, and voice-over audio. Now students can include video clips and record voice-overs on those clips. Adobe Spark is a good choice for creating year-in-review videos because students can record voice-overs to explain the significance of each image or video clip that they use to summarize the year. A simple formula for students to follow is to have them add one image or video clip for each month of the year. Learn how to use Adobe Spark by watching this tutorial.

Update 2020: Sharalike is no longer available. 
Sharalike is a good option to consider when you want to create an audio slideshow. To create an audio slideshow on Sharalike simply import some images from your computer, your Android device or from your iPad, drag them into the sequence in which you want them to appear, and then add some music. Sharalike offers a small collection of stock music that you can use or you can upload your own music.

Finally, YouTube offers some good video creation and editing tools that most people overlook. One of those tools allows you to combine video clips to make one longer video. You can combine your own videos and or use video clips from YouTube's gallery of Creative Commons licensed videos. So while your students aren't limited to just their videos, they also just can't grab any old video from YouTube, like this chart-topper, to include in their projects.

You can learn more about how to use YouTube's overlooked features this Wednesday in YouTube, It's Not Just Cats & Khan Academy

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the snow is falling and my dogs and I couldn't be happier about it! This is the second snowstorm that we've had in less than a week. As you can see in the picture to the left, Mason loves the snow. Max likes it too although his short hair doesn't let him play outside as long as Mason. Anyway, we'll be going outside to play in the snow as soon as this post is complete. As always, wherever you are this weekend, I hope you have time for some fun too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 4 Fun Facts About Reindeer
2. An Easy Way to Create Mindmaps in Your Browser
3. OpenEd Adds Thousands of New Science Resources
4. 10 Ideas for Using Comics In Your Classroom
5. 5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently
6. Three Free Online Whiteboards Students Can Use Together in Realtime
7. Fake or Real? - A Fun Google Search Challenge

Next week I will be hosting my last webinar of the year. The webinar is all about using YouTube in your classroom. You can read more about it here. I'll be offering more professional development webinars in January including one designed for Google Forms and Sheets beginners. And if you're looking for in-person professional development, please get in touch with me at richardbyrne (at)

Need a speaker for your conference? 
Click here to learn about my keynotes and workshops.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Math Playground offers hundreds of math games and tutorial videos. 
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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosts workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

How to Record a Webcam Video on Your Chromebook

Recording a video with the webcam on your Chromebook can be accomplished through the use of a free Chrome app called CaptureCast. CaptureCast, produced by Cattura Video, allows you to record the screen on your Chromebook as well as input from your webcam.

To record a video with the webcam on your Chromebook open CaptureCast in your browser then allow it to access your webcam and microphone. You can specify how high of a resolution you would like to use to capture your video. You can also choose your audio quality. If you have an external microphone connected to your Chromebook, make sure that you have it enabled before you start recording.

When you have finished recording in CaptureCast you can save your video on your Chromebook or upload it to YouTube, to Vimeo, or to Google Drive.

Applications for Education
CaptureCast could be a great tool for students to use to create video entries for classroom blogs. Rather than having students write blog posts, they can record short videos to talk about what they learned in class that week or to share their thoughts on a topic that you've posted for discussion on your classroom blog.

As I explain in Winning Blog Strategies, including video in blog posts is a good way to increase engagement on your classroom blog.