Thursday, April 4, 2019

Questions to Ask When Planning a Classroom Video Project

Making videos can be a great way to get students excited and invested in the process of researching a topic and presenting their findings for others to see. But before you dive headlong into a video project with your students take some time consider the following questions as you plan the project.

*Planning questions to ask yourself.
-What do you want students to demonstrate?
- What is your knowledge of the creation process?
- What is your students' level of knowledge of content?
- What are yours and your students' skills in writing, research, editing, assembling?
- How much time can you allot to this project?
- What are your skills? (Tip, do the project yourself from scratch)
- What are your students’ skills?
- What kind of equipment do you have at your disposal? How often can you access that equipment?

And once you have answer these questions don't forget to have students create a storyboard as part of their creative process.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image has an excellent overview of storyboarding for beginners. The ACMI overview of storyboarding includes suggested activities for learning how to create storyboards. Included in those activities is a storyboard template that beginners can download and duplicate. Watch this video from the ACMI for an explanation of what a storyboard is an how it is used in the video creation process.


If you don't want to use ACMI's storyboard template you can make your own in PowerPoint or in Google Slides. Watch my videos embedded below to learn how to use PowerPoint and Google Slides to make printable storyboards.

How to create a storyboard template in PowerPoint.

How to create a storyboard template in Google Slides.

Webinar Next Tuesday - Introduction to AR & VR in Your Classroom

Next Tuesday at 4pm ET I'm hosting a Practical Ed Tech webinar designed to introduce you to how to use some augmented reality and virtual reality tools in your classroom. The webinar, Introduction to AR & VR in Your Classroom, will show you how to use tools including Google Expeditions, VR Tour Creator, Metaverse, Merge Cube, and a few other easy-to-access AR and VR tools.

You should join this webinar if:
  • You’ve heard about VR and AR but you’re not sure which is which.
  • You want to find new ways to engage your students in learning about science, social studies, art, math, or language arts.
  • You want clear guidance on how to start using VR or AR in your classroom.

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • The difference between VR and AR.
  • Research-based applications of VR and AR in education.
  • The material requirements for using virtual and augmented reality.
  • How to make augmented reality experiences.
  • Where to find and how to make virtual reality experiences.

Sales of Practical Ed Tech webinars along with my school-based consultation services are what provide the funding to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. 

A Chrome Extension for Clutter-free Reading and Printing

Mercury Reader is a Chrome extension that removes sidebar content from articles that you view in your Chrome web browser. It will hide banner ads, suggested "related" articles, and anything else that is not a part of the primary article on the page you are viewing. When you use Mercury Reader to print an article, all of the sidebar content is removed thereby saving you paper and ink.

Mercury Reader is more than just a tool for hiding sidebar content from a page. It can also be used to adjust the font size and color contrast of a page. And Kindle users can send a page directly from Mercury Reader to their Kindles.

Watch my new video to see how Mercury Reader works.

How to Make Interactive Videos

For many years I helped teachers and students use YouTube's annotations tool to create series of interactive or choose-your-own-adventure videos. Unfortunately, YouTube discontinued that service about eighteen months ago. This week a reader contacted me for a recommendation on other ways to make interactive videos. My suggestion was to try using Thinglink's video editor.

Thinglink started out as a service for creating interactive images. It's a service that I've combined with PicCollage to have students develop interactive image collages. Thinglink also has tools for adding interactive elements to videos. You can use it to add interactive elements to videos that you own and upload to the service. You can also use Thinglink to add interactive elements to videos that you find on YouTube. Watch my new video to learn how to use Thinglink to add interactive elements to videos found on YouTube.


Applications for Education
Thinglink's video editor can be a good tool to use to call attention to important parts of a video. It can also be useful in adding clarifying information to videos.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Poem for Every Day of National Poetry Month

Last fall I wrote about the Poetry 180 project hosted by the Library of Congress. Now that National Poetry Month is here, it's a good time to revisit the post that I wrote about Poetry 180 at the beginning of the school year.

Poetry 180 is a Library of Congress project that was created when Billy Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate. The purpose of the project is to provide high school teachers with poems for their students to read or hear throughout the school year.

Collins selected the poems for Poetry 180 with high school students in mind. I didn't look at every poem in the list, but of dozen or so that I looked at, none would take more than a few minutes to read in a classroom. Speaking of reading in class, Collins encourages teachers to read the poems aloud or have students read the poems aloud. To that end, here's his advice on how to read a poem out loud.