Monday, March 6, 2017

12 Ways to Create Videos On Chromebooks

It seems like every month there is a new tool for creating videos on Chromebooks. In the two months since I published my last post about making videos on Chromebooks, two more good options have presented themselves.

Of course, creating a good video requires more than just picking the right tool for the job. You will also want to have a plan for producing the video. That's where a planning template like this one is helpful.

Come to the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp to learn how to best use these tools in your classroom. 

Know Lounge is a complementary service to the Know Recorder apps for Android tablets and iPads. Know Lounge lets you create an online room in which you can host tutoring sessions and record videos. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Know Lounge as teacher.



If you have a Chromebook that supports the use of Android apps, your students can create animated videos with Toontastic 3D. Students can pick from a variety of story setting templates or they can create their own within Toontastic 3D. Once they have established a background setting students then select cartoon characters to use in their stories. Students can choose from a wide array of customizable cartoon characters or they can create their own from scratch. Once characters are placed into the story scenes students can begin recording themselves talking while moving the characters around in each scene. Students can swap characters between scenes, change the appearance of characters between scenes, and move characters from one scene to the next. Watch my tutorial below to learn how to use Toontastic 3D.


Pixiclip is a free tool for creating simple instructional videos. Pixiclip provides you with a blank whiteboard on which you can draw, type, or insert images. You can record your voice as you draw or type on the screen. A variety of drawing tools is provided in Pixiclip. You can use Pixiclip without creating an account on the service. If you do create an account you can keep your videos private. Learn more about Pixiclip in my video embedded below.



My Simpleshow is a free tool for creating Common Craft style explanatory videos. The best aspect of My Simpleshow is the emphasis that the developers have placed on storyline planing and development. As is demonstrated in my tutorial below, students have to write a script on My Simpleshow before they can begin to use the video editing tools. (Disclosure: My Simpleshow is an advertiser on this blog).



Adobe Spark is a suite of free tools for creating images, videos, and simple web pages. Key features of Adobe Spark's web app include an integrated Creative Commons image search tool, the option to download images as JPEGs, and the option to download your videos as MP4 files. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create images, web pages, and videos with Adobe Spark in your web browser.


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.



PowToon is a popular tool for creating animated videos online. PowToon provides a drag-and-drop editor for creating animated videos. The videos that you create feature digital paper cut-outs on a colorful background. Think of PowToon as an online tool for creating videos in the style made popular by Common Craft. PowToon provides drawings of people and objects that you can arrange on blank canvas. After adding your narration to the arrangement you can publish your video.

Magisto is a video creation tool that allows you to quickly drag videos and images from your desktop and or Google Drive account to your Magisto account. After you've uploaded the media that you want mixed, select a theme and music for your video.From the video clips and images that you upload, Magisto will select the best portions to remix and blend together. Magisto creates your video after you've completed the steps of uploading media, selecting a theme, and choosing music. The final video is emailed to you. In addition to the web-based service Magisto offers a Chrome app, an Android app, and an iPad app.


WeVideo offers the most features of any of the tools in this list. It is an online video creation tool that I have written about many times over the last few years. WeVideo offers templates that new users can follow to create their first videos. Advanced WeVideo users can skip the templates, use the full editor, and apply themes to their videos by choosing them from the themes menu in the editor. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. WeVideo's Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app and an iPhone app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects.

Nimbus Screenshot is my favorite tool for creating screencast videos on Chromebooks. It is easy to install, includes customizable countdown timer, and offers multiple ways to save and share your videos. Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

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.

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.

Come to the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp to learn how to best use these tools in your classroom. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

22 Videos That Can Help Students Improve Their Writing

The Writer's Workshop is a playlist of twenty-two TED-Ed lessons. The The Writer's Workshop contains lessons on basic topics like how to use punctuation and videos on more complex topics like how to make your writing humorous.

The Writer's Workshop playlist is embedded below.


Applications for Education
TED-Ed's The Writer's Workshop is a good place for students to find some quick lessons on punctuation and grammar. Students who are ready to take their writing to a new level could benefit from the TED-Ed videos on irony, introductions, and building fictional worlds.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where I am home after another great trip to North Carolina for the NCTIES conference. Thank you to everyone who came to my workshops and presentations. A special thank you to those who supported me with nice messages about my presentations, came to multiple presentations, and or asked for selfies with me. Despite some logistical challenges that were out of my control this week, I once again thoroughly enjoyed NCTIES.

NCTIES represents the beginning of my spring and summer professional development calendar. I still have some openings in my calendar. I'd be happy to visit your school. Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn how to bring me to your school.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Google Keep Is Now Part of G Suite's Core Services
2. Three Free Tools Students Can Use to Dictate Notes
3. Planning Your Video Project - A Guide for Students
4. Virtual Reality in Education
5. Best of the Web 2017
6. Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames
7. How to Create Strong Passwords

Join me this summer for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp or the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. Early registration and group discounts are available.


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.
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 explanatory videos.

Two Fun Videos for High School Grammar Lessons

The resources that I shared in the post previous to this one offer games that help students learn and remember the rules of grammar. At the high school level, the following two videos offer fun introductions to grammar lessons.

In Glove and Boots Fix Your Grammar the popular puppets Glove and Boots use fun examples from the web to explain the differences between "its" and "it's," "your" and "you're," and the proper uses of "there," "they're," and "their." Glove and Boots also teach viewers when it is appropriate to use "literally." The video is appropriate for high school audiences.



Weird Al's music video Word Crimes is a parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines in which Weird Al points out some common grammar errors and how to correct those errors. The video is embedded below.


This is meant to be a fun video. Consider your audience and decide for yourself if it is appropriate to show in your classroom.

Two Good Sources of Online Grammar Games

Road to Grammar is a free resource featuring quizzes, games, and lessons for English language learners. Visitors to Road to Grammar will find grammar quizzes. Most of the quizzes provide students with instant feedback. Part of the feedback that students receive on the quizzes they take includes explanations why an answer is correct or incorrect. Before taking the quizzes visitors can work through a series of practice activities.

In addition to the resources that students can use individually, Road to Grammar offers some downloadable resources for teachers. Teachers will find the collection of eight downloads offer discussion starters for English lessons, lesson warm-up activities, and some worksheets.

Grammar Bytes
Grammar Bytes is a great website for teachers of Language Arts to share with their students. Grammar Bytes offers teachers and students a glossary of terms, handouts, interactive exercises, and slide show presentations. Instructional slideshow presentations are available to free download from Grammar Bytes. Each slide show is accompanied by a handout for students to complete as they view each presentation.

The interactive activities on Grammar Bytes require students to do more than memorize the rules of grammar. The Grammar Bytes interactive activities require students to read sentences and identify errors. In some of the activities students have to correct errors in a sentence. Each interactive activity is accompanied by a handout on which students can record their scores and measure their progress.