Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Student Use of Adobe Spark - Your Questions Answered

My post about alternatives to YouTube's video editor has sparked a lot of questions from readers in the last 24 hours. No question has been asked more than, "can my students who are under 13 use it?" Adobe addressed this question in their free Adobe Spark Edu Guide. You can get the guide here.

Here's how the question of use by students under age 13 is answered on page 7 of the Adobe Spark Edu Guide:

Adobe Spark requires an account and login. Logins are used to sync content across devices as well as to backup content to our cloud storage. Children under the age of 13 are not allowed to create their own Adobe ID and so they will need to sign in with an account created by and supervised by a teacher or parent. Sign in with social media accounts is also supported.

How to Create Virtual Reality Panoramas

A couple of years ago Google launched the Cardboard Camera app for capturing your own virtual reality panoramas. At the time that it was launched it was only available on the Android platform and it didn't include a mechanism for sharing your panoramas with others. Both of those things have since changed. You can now use the Cardboard Camera app on iPhones and on Android phones. You can now share your virtual reality panoramas with others through email and social media. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use the Cardboard Camera to capture and share virtual reality panoramas.

You can get the Cardboard Camera app for Android here and the iPhone version here.

Applications for Education
The Cardboard Camera app isn't as robust as some other virtual reality creation tools, but it is more than adequate for capturing a simple panorama of a local landmark. I've seen a few teachers and their students use the Cardboard Camera app to create virtual reality imagery of local landmarks including interesting geological features near them.

Learn more about using virtual reality in education in my online course, Teaching History With Technology.

How to Create Animated GIFs

Last week I wrote about a free animation tool called Flip Anim. In that post I mentioned using animated GIFs of math problems or to animate simple scenes from a story. A reader sent me a follow-up question asking about how to keep track of each part of the animation. So to answer that question, I created the following short video about how to create animated GIFs by using Flip Anim.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Alternatives to YouTube's Video Editor - It's Going Away

Earlier this summer Google announced that the YouTube video editor will be "going away" on September 20th. Since then I have fielded many requests to suggest alternatives to the YouTube video editor. Here's a run-down of the recommendations that I have been making.

YouTube enhancements are not going away. 
It's important to note that if you have only been using the YouTube video editor for things like cropping the length of your video or applying visual filters, you will still be able to do that in your YouTube account. Trimming the length of a video, adding interactive end screens, blurring faces and objects, and applying color filters are all considered part of the "enhancements" that you can apply to your videos. Those features are not going away.

YouTube Photo Slideshow Alternatives:
YouTube's photo slideshow creator was a nice tool that let you pull images from your desktop or from your Google account, drag them into a sequence, then add music from a library of more 100,000 Creative Commons-licensed music tracks. Fortunately, there is not a shortage of websites and apps that offer the same features.

Stupeflix, Sharalike, and Animoto all let you import a batch of pictures and add music to quickly create an audio slideshow. Animoto and Stupeflix both let you add text over your images while Sharalike does not. Sharalike, however, allows for much longer videos than Animoto and Stupeflix will create. Sharalike and Animoto offer iOS and Android apps while Stupeflix does not. Finally, Animoto and Stupeflix offer free education versions for teachers.

Basic Video Editing:
iOS and MacOS users have access to iMovie for free now. If you're looking for a video editor for your students to use on iPads or Macs, iMovie is more than adequate for the vast majority of classroom projects.

Windows users can still use Windows Movie Maker. Microsoft is not officially supporting it on Windows 10, but you can still download it and use it on Windows 10 computers. But later this year Microsoft will be releasing Story Mix which is essentially the replacement for Movie Maker. This video provides a preview of Story Mix.

Chromebook users and those who cannot install software should look into Adobe Spark and WeVideo. Adobe Spark is free to use. You can upload images and videos to use in your final product. Adobe Spark will let you record narration on a scene-by-scene basis by simply holding a record button while you talk. I have some tutorials on Adobe Spark that you can watch here and here.

WeVideo offers a robust web-based video editing tool that rivals the features you can find in iMovie. The limitation of WeVideo is that in order to access its best features like voiceover, green screen, and high resolution production you will have to purchase a subscription. School pricing starts at $199/ year for 30 seats.

How Do Glaciers Move?

Five years ago my old pal Morrison (RIP) and I traveled down the Columbia Icefields Parkway. It was a great way to experience part of the Canadian Rockies including seeing the glaciers that melt and feed tributaries of rivers that will eventually reach the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans. That begged the questions of how long will these glaciers last and how do glaciers move? The answer to the latter question is the topic of a new It's Okay to be Smart video.

How Do Glaciers Move? explains how glaciers are formed, the physical properties of glaciers, and how glaciers move. The video also answers the question of whether a glacier is a solid or a liquid.

Use one of these seven tools to create a science lesson with this video.