Thursday, June 27, 2019

How to Create Talking Pictures With ChatterPix Kids

ChatterPix Kids is one of my favorite digital storytelling apps for elementary school students to use. For many years the app was only available in an iPad version. Earlier this year an Android version was released by the developers, Duck Duck Moose.

ChatterPix Kids is a free app that students can use to create talking pictures. To use the app students simply open it on their iPads or Android devices and then take a picture. Once they've taken a picture students draw a mouth on their pictures. With the mouth in place students then record themselves talking for up to thirty seconds. The recording is then added to the picture and saved as a video on the students' iPads or Android devices. Watch my tutorial videos below to learn how to use ChatterPix Kids on Android devices and on iPads.



Applications for Education
My all-time favorite example of students using ChatterPix Kids is found in this Next Vista for Learning video titled A Healthy Meal. To create the video students recording a series of ChatterPix Kids talking pictures and then the talking pictures were combined in a sequence in iMovie.

Earlier this year I worked with a Kindergarten class in which the students used ChatterPix Kids to create talking pictures of characters from their favorite books including Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Why Should You Read Hamlet - A New TED-Ed Lesson

Last year TED-Ed started publishing a series of video lessons titled Why Should You Read...? Each lesson is about a classic work of literature that many of us have read and have made our students read. When making our students read those classics we've all been asked, "why do we have to read this?" This TED-Ed series attempts to address that question by explaining the historical significance of classic works.

The latest lesson added to TED-Ed's Why Should You Read...? series is Why Should You Read Hamlet? With this lesson the list of Why Should You Read...? lessons is up to eleven titles. All of the videos from those lessons are embedded below.

Why Should You Read Hamlet?


Why Should You Read Crime and Punishment?


Why Should You Read Fahrenheit 451?


Why Should You Read Flannery O'Connor?


Why Should You Read MacBeth?


Why Should You Read A Midsummer's Night Dream?


Why Should You Read Kurt Vonnegut?



Why Should You Read "Waiting for Godot?"



Why Should You Read "Don Quixote?"



Everything You Need to Know to Read "The Canterbury Tales."



Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe?



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A Great Guide to Capturing Oral Biographies

A few years ago I hosted a workshop on recording history with students (slides from that workshop can be seen here). The purpose of the workshop was to help teachers help their students record interviews with elders in their communities. The workshop was loosely based on a project that I did with my own students eleven years ago with a tool called VoiceThread. VoiceThread was the perfect tool at the time. It's still a solid choice, but there are now other, less expensive or free, tools that could be used to record stories. A few of those options are Synth, Anchor, and Flipgrid. But the point of this post isn't to write about those tools. Instead this post is to share How to Create Instant Oral Biographies (link opens a PDF) from Make Beliefs Comix.

How to Create Instant Oral Biographies is a free ebook created by Bill Zimmerman, the founder of Make Beliefs Comix. The ebook is an update of Bill's original work of the same name that was published in 1979. By reading the ebook you'll learn interview techniques, find lists of questions to ask during an interview, space to write notes, and a few cartoons to inspire the interviewer and the interviewee. I particularly like the cartoon frame that asks, "make believe you can reinvent your life.. how would you picture your past?"

How to Create Instant Oral Biographies is one of thirteen free ebooks available on Make Beliefs Comix. I've previously reviewed a few of the others including Your Life in Comics.

Make Beliefs Comix is more than just a place to find free ebooks. The site offers a complete online service that students can use to create comics in multiple languages. Watch my video below to learn how to use it. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Joy of Search - Get a Sample Chapter and Learn a Great Search Strategy

The Joy of Search is the title of Dan Russell's forthcoming book about search strategies. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon about six weeks ago and am eagerly anticipating its arrival this fall. Dan Russell's official title is Senior Research Scientist for Search Quality and User Happiness at Google. What he does that you, I, and students should care about is craft really interesting lessons on employing a wide variety of search strategies. You can find many of those lessons in his regular series of search challenges on his blog SearchReSearch. And if you get a chance to hear him speak at a conference, take it!

Back to the book, The Joy of Search will be available this fall. In the book you'll find stories used to explain how to employ various search strategies. To get a sense of what the book is about, you can get a free chapter of the book right now from Dan's blog. The chapter that is available is titled Finding a Mysterious Location Somewhere in the World: How to Use Multiple Information Sources to Zero In on a Resource. In the chapter you'll learn about one of my favorite techniques for getting students to look at all of the information that is available to them in order to form a good search strategy and employ good search terms.

Purely coincidentally, last week I posted this pair of pictures on Instagram with the caption, "can you use the clues to figure out where I am?" Read the free chapter of The Joy of Search then look at my pictures and see if you can figure out where I was when I took those pictures.

On a related note, over on Practical Ed Tech I have an on-demand webinar titled Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know

A Brief History of Yellowstone - A Video Your Students Could Easily Create

National Geographic recently published a new video titled A Brief History of Yellowstone. The video hits almost all of the key points in the history of Yellowstone becoming the first national park in the U.S. Unfortunately, the video isn't terribly interesting to watch. That's a statement coming from a person who will watch PBS documentaries for hours (if my kids are sleeping). My point in this post isn't to criticize National Geographic's video, but rather to point out that your students could make a better video of their own on this or any number of similar topics using the free Adobe Spark video tool.

A Brief History of Yellowstone suffers from two things. First, the narration is flat and the background music is almost inaudible. Second, the transitions between scenes are almost nonexistent. One of these problems can be addressed by using Adobe Spark to create a video. Adobe Spark offers a lot of templates that include excellent transitions and on-screen text placement.

The issue of flat narration is bit harder to resolve. One thing that I recommend students do when creating a video in this style is to practice the voiceover until they know it from memory or at least until they only need minimal notes in front of them. Otherwise, the narration does sound like it is being read straight from the script.

Here's my tutorial on how to get started using Adobe Spark to create a video.


Thanks to The Adventure Blog for the Nat Geo video.