Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Three Audio Slideshow Projects for Teaching Basic Video Production

Tools like StupeflixAnimoto, 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 or students who have never attempted make videos in their classrooms. 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 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. At the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps we'll have time to work together to create powerful video projects. Join me!

Disclosure: Photos for Class is owned by a company that advertise on this blog. 

What Makes a Poem?

April is Poetry Month. As you start to plan poetry lessons, consider that many students will first wonder, "what makes a poem?" A new TED-Ed lesson addresses that question.

In watching What Makes a Poem? students can learn the origins of poetry, the characteristics traditionally associated with poems, and the format of a haiku. The video can be seen as embedded below.


Take a look at these 7 great tools for creating your own flipped lesson with this video.

Free Webinar - Storyboard That in Your Classroom

On April 4th Storyboard That is hosting two free webinars. Both webinars will cover what you need to know to create storyboards and have your students create storyboards in your classroom. Some of the many ways that you can use storyboards in your classroom include illustrating short stories, summarizing books, and illustrating procedures. Click here to register for the free Storyboard That webinars on April 4th.


Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Madmagz - Collaboratively Create Online Magazines

Madmagz is a neat platform for collaboratively creating online magazines. Madmagz provides you with a magazine template that lets you use images and text that you can edit alone or with invited collaborators. Unlike some other collaborative writing platforms, the original creator of the magazine has to approve or verify submissions from collaborators. When I was testing the platform I found the need to verify every change a little annoying, but I can see how many people would like to have that level of control over the editing process.

Publishing your Madmagz online is free. If you want to download your magazine as a PDF, you will have to pay for that option.

Applications for Education
Madmagz could be a good platform for creating an online school newspaper. Similarly, it would be good for creating a classroom newsletter in which students summarize the highlights of the month in your classroom.

Thanks to Alicia Roberts for the tip about Madmagz.

30Hands Has Removed Free App - Try These Alternatives

30Hands is an iPad app that I've used and shared in workshops quite a bit over the last few years. It's a nice app for creating flipped lessons or whiteboard-style instructional videos. Unfortunately, after years of offering a free version of the app, the developers have pulled the plug on the free version. The paid version still exists. If you're looking for some alternatives to 30Hands, take a look at the following options.

Shadow Puppet Edu is a free iPad app that you can use to create audio slideshow videos. The app offers an integrated search tool for finding pictures from the Library of Congress, to search for images from NASA, and to find Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr. You can also import pictures and videos from the camera roll on your iPad. After selecting a set of images students you can arrange them into any sequence by simply dragging and dropping them into order. Then to create a story press the record button and talk while flipping through your images. My sample story is embedded below.


You might have noticed that on the first slide I had a magic wand effect to highlight each dog. That is one of many effects that you can add to your images in Shadow Puppet Edu. You can also zoom and type over your pictures. Completed Shadow Puppet Edu projects are automatically saved to your iPad's camera roll. You can also export your projects directly to YouTube.

Know Recorder is a free iPad app and free Android app for creating whiteboard-style instructional videos. With Know Recorder installed on your iPad or Android device you can draw and talk while the app records everything that you do and say. Your video can have multiple pages which is a nice feature when you want to give a multiple step demonstration without having to erase anything. Know Recorder will let you import PDFs and pictures to display and annotate on screen in your instructional video. Completed videos can be saved to your device's camera roll, exported to YouTube, or shared to Know Lounge. Know Lounge is the community site for sharing lessons created with Know Recorder.