Thursday, May 10, 2018

Animaker Edify - Easily Create Animated Videos In an Online Classroom

Disclosure: This is sponsored content. 

Animaker Edify is an excellent service for teachers and students who want to create animated videos. In reviewing Animaker Edify it hit on all of the things that I look for in a video creation tool for classrooms. It provides for teacher management of students’ accounts, offers a huge gallery of royalty-free media to use in videos, and it provides students with almost limitless possibilities for turning their stories into animated videos.

Making a Video

(click here if you cannot see the video in RSS or email). 

To create a video on Animaker Edify start by selecting “video” from the menu of project options. (Animaker Edify also provides tools for making presentations and infographics, but for this blog post I’m focusing on video creation). Once you have selected the video option you can choose to work from one of many video templates or you can create a video from scratch. Once you have made the choice of using a template or building a video from scratch, you’re ready to start making a video. In this case, I’m going to make a video from scratch.

Creating a video in Animaker Edify is done on a frame-by-frame basis. Each frame can be designed by dragging and dropping individual characters, speech bubbles, background scenes, and clip art into the scene. Animaker Edify provides tools for animating each character. For example, you can make a character appear to be running across the screen, walking, or talking. You can build as many characters and animation actions into each scene as you need. Once you have built the frames for your video you can add sound effects, music, or narration. Animake Edify provides a large gallery of royalty-free music and sound effects that you can use. But you can also record your own voice by using the built-in voice-over capability.

Your completed video project is saved in your Animaker Edify account. You can export to YouTube or Facebook. Users of the paid service can download their videos. Students using Animaker Edify can post their videos for their teachers to review before any further sharing takes place.

Take a look at this sample to see one of many types of videos that students can make in Animaker Edify. Watch this video for a full overview of how to make a video in Animaker Edify.

Great Features of the Animaker Edify Classroom
As I mentioned in the opening, Animaker Edify gives teachers the power to oversee their students’ accounts. When after you register and confirm your Animaker Edify account you can create accounts for your students. The free version of Animaker Edify allows you to add up to twenty-five students to your account. Your students do not need to have email addresses in order to use Animaker Edify. In fact, there isn’t even an option for students to add their email addresses. Students get their usernames and their passwords directly from you. If they need their passwords reset, you can do that for them from within your Animaker Edify account. Watch this short tutorial to see easy it is to add students to your classroom.

The benefits of Animaker Edify teacher accounts don’t end with managing students’ accounts. As a teacher you can create tasks for your students to complete. (Tasks is the term that Animaker Edify uses to describe assignments). When you create a task you can specify a start date and a due date. Your task description can include the type of video or presentation that you want your students to make. If you have a rubric that you want students to view as they work, you can attach that rubric to the task by uploading a PDF or Word document.

When a student completes an assigned task he or she submits it to you by simply selecting “share” and then “submit task” in the project editor. Then as the teacher you will be able to view the student’s project from your dashboard. Within your teacher account you can comment on the student’s work.

One more feature of your Animaker Edify teacher dashboard is the option to create student groups. You can create as many groups as you like of whatever size you like. This allows you to send messages to groups of students to encourage them to complete a task or to give them feedback on their work.

More Than Videos
This post focused on video creation because that’s what tends to get the most attention. That said, there is more to Animaker Edify than video creation. Animaker Edify also provides tools for creating infographics, creating posters, and slideshow presentations. And soon you’ll be able to make whiteboard videos and GIFs in Animaker Edify too. You can see all of the Animaker Edify features in action in this playlist of videos.

Disclosure: This is sponsored content. but all of the article was written by me about a tool that I wouldn't hesitate to use in my classroom.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

How to Use Google's New VR Tour Creator

A few hours ago Google announced the launch of their new VR Tour Creator. This free tool lets everyone create their own virtual tours to view in Google Cardboard and or in the Chrome web browser. Tours are created by selecting locations in Google Maps and then selecting 360 degree Street View imagery. There's also an option to upload your own 360 degree imagery.

This afternoon I made a couple of tours with the VR Tour Creator. The process of creating a tour in the Tour Creator is straight-forward one. Watch my video embedded below to learn how you and your students can create virtual reality tours in Tour Creator.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Lensoo Create - Create Whiteboard Videos on Your Phone or Tablet

Lensoo Create is an app for creating whiteboard videos on your phone or tablet. The app is available in an Android version and in an iOS version (iPad only).

To create a video on Lensoo Create just open the app and tap the record button in the top of the screen. You can then start drawing on the white canvas in the app. Everything that you draw and type is captured in the video as is anything that you say while drawing. You can pause the recording then add a new page on which you draw while talking. When you're finished just tap the "done" button to save your work.

One of the shortcomings of Lensoo Create is that you cannot save your videos to your phone or tablet's camera roll. Instead you have to create a free Lensoo Create account to save your videos on their cloud service. Once saved you can share links to your video. Lensoo says that you can download your videos from your online account, but I haven't been able to make that function work update: I tried it again the next morning and I was able to download the video.

Applications for Education
Lensoo Create could be a good choice for teachers who want to make whiteboard videos to explain how to solve math problems or anything else that is best illustrated with handwriting. As a free app, it's not a bad option. That said, it's not quite as good as the paid ShowMe or Explain Everything apps.

Thanks to Allison Theissen for correctly pointing out that the iOS version only works on iPads not on iPhones. 

Three Ways to Collect Registration Information for School Fundraiser Events

This evening I answered the following email from a reader who is organizing a fundraising event for her class:

Our class will be doing a dine to donate night at Applebee's on May 31st and manager would like estimate for number of attendees and suggested we use something online for people to signup. I thought I saw something that allowed more details that just a Facebook event 'going versus interested.'

These are the three services that I would look into using if I was organizing a similar fundraising event.

1. Eventbrite

  • Eventbrite is an event ticketing service that you can use for free if you are not charging people for admission to the event. By having attendees register through Eventbrite you'll get a head count, a list of email addresses, and the attendees will be issued a ticket for the event. Eventbrite will let you set a cap on registrations too. You can embed your Eventbrite registration forms into an existing blog or website. 
  • SignUpGenius is a freemium service for creating event registration forms. The free version allows you to collect basic registration information. The free version will display a lot of advertising on your registration page and will not let you embed the registration form into your blog or website. 

3. Google Forms

  • You could use Google Forms to create an event registration page. You could impose a registration limit by using the Forms Add-on called FormLimiter. And you could even issue tickets via email by using the Add-on called Certify'em with a certificate modified to be an event ticket. Watch my video here to learn how to use Certify'em.

Reminder - The Google Drive Desktop App Is Being Phased Out

Last month I posted an explanation of the pop-up notice you might be seeing in your Google Drive account regarding the end of the Google Drive desktop app. The day is almost here that will mark the end of the Google Drive desktop app being replaced by Backup and Sync and File Stream. Google has announced that transition will begin to happen on May 12th.

To be clear, Google Drive is not going away. What is happening is that the current version of the Google Drive desktop app for Mac and Windows is being phased out. It is being replaced by new tools called Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream. Backup and Sync is for Gmail-based Google Drive users (those who sign in with Drive File Stream is for G Suite users including G Suite for Education.