Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Three Ideas for Stop Motion Video Projects to Make With Cloud Stop Motion

Last month I published a video about how to use Cloud Stop Motion to make a stop motion video. Stop motion provides a good way to make simple animations and time lapse videos. Here are three ideas, including one from a current student of mine, for stop motion video projects for students. 

Showing Network Activity

This idea came from one of my students. They had an assignment last week in which I asked them to create short videos to explain a variety of concepts that we covered in the first two months of the school year. I let them decide the format for their videos. Some made screencasts, some acted out concepts, some did voiceovers on slides, and one student made an animation to explain how data travels through small wireless LAN. The animation was essentially a stop motion video of the movement of packets of data. 

Time Lapse of Making Cake (or anything else that's time-consuming)

This idea was inspired by a conversation with one of the culinary arts teachers at my school. Anyone who has baked and decorated a cake knows that it doesn't happen quickly. But you can show the process quickly through the use of stop motion. To do that just take pictures during the process then put them into order in Cloud Stop Motion and play it back at the speed you like.

Illustrate Concepts That are Hard to See

Pick a concept in biology, physics, or chemistry that is hard to see with the naked eye and then make a stop motion video to illustrate it. It might be an concept that's hard to see because it happens so quickly or it might be a concept that's hard to see because it's so small. A classic example of this is a golf ball bouncing off a cement floor. You can't see the ball compress with your naked eye. Using stop motion is a good way to illustrate how a ball compresses and bounces. 





Disclosure: Cloud Stop Motion is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Time to Fall Back - Short Lessons About Daylight Saving Time and Timezones

This weekend we have Halloween and the end of Daylight Saving Time (in most of the U.S. and Canada). Hopefully, my kids will take advantage of the "extra" hour of time for sleeping. 

As I do almost every time Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, I have gathered together a handful of short video explanations about why we have Daylight Saving Time. Take a look and see if there is one that can help you explain Daylight Saving Time to your students. 

National Geographic has two videos titled Daylight Saving Time 101. The first one, published in 2015, is a bit more upbeat than the second one that was published in 2019. Both versions are embedded below. 





The Telegraph has a 90 second explanation of Daylight Saving Time. The video doesn't have any narration so it can be watched without sound.



CGP Grey's video explanation of Daylight Saving Time is still a good one even if it isn't as succinct as the videos above.



TED-Ed has two lessons that aren't specifically about Daylight Saving Time but are related to the topic. First, The History of Keeping Time explains sundials, hourglasses, and the development of timezones. Second, How Did Trains Standardize Time in the United States? explains the role of railroads in the development of the timezones used in the United States (and most of Canada) today.



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

How to Edit the Captions in Your YouTube Videos - Fall 2020 Update

Last spring I published a video about how to adjust the captions that are automatically generated for the videos that you upload to your YouTube account. Recently, YouTube made some changes to the way that the caption editing process works. Those changes are for the better as they've made it easier to adjust the correlation between timestamps and your edited captions. In the following video I demonstrate how to edit the captions and adjust the timing of the captions on your YouTube videos. 


On the topic of video editing, take a look at my Practical Ed Tech course titled A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video

Vimeo Record - Another Screencasting Tool

Vimeo is one of my top alternatives to using YouTube to host instructional videos. Now you can use it to record as well as host your videos. 

Today, Vimeo launched a new screen recording tool. The new tool is simply called Vimeo Record. Vimeo Record is available as a free Chrome extension that you can get right here

Once you've installed Vimeo Record in Chrome it works just like the dozens of other screencasting tools available to Chrome users. Just click the extension's icon in Chrome then choose whether you want to record your screen with or without your webcam turned on. (I recommend turning your webcam on because it helps to make a better connection with students when they can see your face). When you're done recording your video will save into your Vimeo account. 

Vimeo offers free and paid accounts. The free plan limits you to 500Mb of uploads in a week and 5GB total storage. In the free account you can make your video private or public. The free plan also lets you restrict embedding of your video. 

Applications for Education
Unless you're already using Vimeo to host your instructional videos, I don't see a compelling reason to switch to using Vimeo Record as your screen recording tool in place of Loom, Screencast-o-matic, or Screencastify. If you are using Vimeo to host your instructional videos then Vimeo Record might streamline your recording and publishing process.

Five Last Minute Resources for Teaching About the Electoral College

We're one week away from the U.S. Presidential election. While citizens cast their votes next week, the final selection happens in the Electoral College in December. That's a concept that can be tricky for some students to understand. If you're looking for some last minute resources for teaching about the Electoral College, take a look at this small collection. (Related note, I think I need this Electoral College tee shirt). 

DocsTeach is one of my favorite sites for history teachers. It contains tons of online activities built upon primary sources. The activity about the Electoral College asks students to evaluate six primary sources and put them into the correct sequence. The purpose of the lesson is to help students understand the steps taken in the Electoral College process of choosing a President. 

Does Your Vote Counts? is a TED-Ed lesson that offers a short explanation of the Electoral College by answering the question, "does your vote count?" The video for the lesson is embedded below.


How the Electoral College Works from C.G.P. Grey gives a nice overview of the Electoral College. The video isn't perfect, I wish the producer had included that the number of Electoral votes a state receives is tied to the number of Senators and Representative it has. Instead the video simply stated that the number of Electoral votes is tied to population. Overall, it's not a bad summary of the Electoral College.


Electing a US President produced by Common Craft provides a concise overview of the election process. The version embedded below is an update to the original that Common Craft released and I used in my classroom during the 2008 election.


Keith Hughes produced two videos about how the Electoral College was developed and how it works. The first video below is just one minute long. The second video, The Electoral College for Dummies, goes into much more depth.



Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft.