Monday, May 11, 2020

How to Add Background Music to Screencastify Videos

Last week I published an article about how to extract the audio from your videos. A related question that I got from a reader was about how to add background music to Screencastify videos. There are a few ways that you can add audio to videos that you make with Screencastify including uploading your video to WeVideo or iMovie then adding a background track. Those methods are fine, but there is an easier way.

To add background music to a video that you created with Screencastify all that you need to do is upload the video to YouTube then use YouTube's built-in editor and library of free music. In the following short video I demonstrate how to add background music to your Screencastify videos.

Applications for Education
Adding some background music to a video can help reduce some of the echo or tinny sounds that sometimes occur in screencasts that are recorded without an external microphone. Adding background music can also have the effect of covering up some of the "ums" and "uhs" that we sometimes make when recording a video. Both of those audio improvements can lead to students viewing instructional videos for a bit longer or at least make paying attention a little bit easier.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Ten Ideas for Building Virtual Tours With Google's Tour Creator

Google's VR Tour Creator makes it possible for anyone who has a Google account and a computer to create their own virtual reality tours to view and share in Google Expeditions. Depending upon how in-depth you want to make your tours you can include many points of interest, narration, and ambient audio. It's a tool that I've been using for a couple of years and recommend to anyone who wants to try their hand at building a virtual tour. Here are ten ideas for tours that you and or your students can build using Google's VR Tour Creator.

1. Tours based on books students have read.
This is a great alternative to a traditional book report or book trailer project.

2. Tours based on stories students write.
Students could even write their entire stories in VR Tour Creator.

3. Tours of historic sites students have researched.
This is one that I particularly enjoy because it gives students the opportunity to get a better understanding of where in the world an event took place.

4. Tours of places students want to visit someday.
Inspire some wanderlust in your students.

5. Tours of examples of math in the real world.
Have students record narration to explain examples of math that can be seen in famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tour or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

6. Tours of examples of geological features.
Jump from place-to-place in Yellowstone explaining geysers and hot springs.

7. Tours of examples of ecological features, floral & fauna diversity.
There is more "off road" Street View imagery appearing all the time. Use that imagery in a tour of a forest.

8. Tours of the range of a species of animal.
This one might be a little tricky,  but you could create a tour of the southernmost and northernmost ranges of a species. Use narration and imagery in the tour to explain why the range ends where it does.

9. Tours of ocean features.
Yes, there is even Street View imagery under water.

10. Tours of things students just find interesting. 
After all, one of the great things about Google Maps and Google Expeditions is just sparking curiosity about new-to-you places.

This one of the topics that we'll explore in more depth during the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Registration is open now!

A Webinar for Parents of Elementary School Students

Rushton Hurley runs a fantastic non-profit called Next Vista for Learning. Some of you have seen me write about it and talk about it for years. One of the reasons that I like so much is that it offers something for every student, teacher, and parent. To that end, you'll find that the videos on Next Vista address more than just academic topics. You'll find lots of things about caring for the needs of students. That pattern continues today at 1pm ET/ 10am PT with a free webinar for parents of elementary school students.

Today at 1pm ET/ 10am PT Rushton Hurley and Tatiana LaGarde will be hosting a free webinar titled The Home-Learning Journey: Advice for Parents & Grandparents. The webinar that will address the questions that parents of elementary school students often have about online home learning/ remote learning. It will give parents confidence that they can be active and helpful in the online learning experiences of their children.

The Week in Review - It's Snowing!

Good morning from Paris Hill, Maine where it is snowing! Yes, on May 9th I woke up to snow covering everything. And the best part is that when the snow ends it's supposed to be followed by a day of winter-like temperatures and winds. My three-year-old summarized how most of us feel this morning when she looked out the window and said, "what the heck is going on?"

Today is going to be a day for blanket forts, baking, and a whole lot of coloring with my kids. I hope that wherever you are this weekend, you get to do something fun too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Use Whiteboards in Google Meet Without Screensharing
2.Quickly Create Online Whiteboards for Your Students
3. How to Create Complete Sentence Requirements in Google Forms
4. Three Tools for Collecting Stories from Students and Parents
5. How to Blur Faces and Objects in Your Videos
6. Loom - Create Screencasts on Your iPad
7. Exploring and Visualizing Data Sets

Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp!
Registration for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp opened last week. One third of the early-bird tickets have already been claimed. This online PD event will feature ten live, interactive webinars on a wide array of topics applicable to every classroom. It will be held three times this summer. There is a June session and two July sessions. Register for the session of your choice here.

On-demand PD
I've been hosting professional development webinars for a decade.
Thank You for Your Support!
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Friday, May 8, 2020

Three Ways to Convert Video into Audio

Earlier this week I had a colleague ask me how she could extract the audio from a video that she had made. Some video editing tools, including iMovie and WeVideo, have an option to export just the audio from your video projects. But if the video was created by just filming with a smartphone or with a webcam integrated into a laptop, you'll need a third-party tool to convert the video into audio.

Online-Convert is a service that I've used for many years to convert files. One of the many file conversions that it can perform is MP4 into MP3. In the following short video I demonstrate how easy it is to convert a file with Online-Convert.

Convert Video to Audio in WeVideo
WeVideo includes an option to export just the audio from your video projects. You'll find this option when you click "Finish" in the WeVideo editor. You can upload any video that you own  into the WeVideo editor then export it as audio.

Convert Video to Audio in iMovie
Much like WeVideo, iMovie offers the option to share just audio from your video project. You'll find this option when you select "Share" in the "File" drop-down menu then choose "File" again. Like WeVideo, you can import any video that you own into iMovie then export just the audio.

Applications for Education
Converting a video into an MP3 can be a quick way to create a podcast from a video. If you've recorded a video of a guest speaker (virtual or in-person) and want to release just the audio, Online-Convert could be the tool for you to use.

On a related note, here's an overview of a quick way to produce and publish a podcast from a video.