Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Some of my Favorites - Creating Green Screen Videos

This week is school vacation week here in Maine. I usually take this week off to go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake. Unfortunately, that's not happening this year. Instead I'll be "staycationing" and working on some projects around home. While on my staycation I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite tools and tips.


Making green screen videos can be a good way to engage students in researching and planning. That research and planning is fundamental to making a good video. The video is the reward at the end of the process. There are many things that students can do with green screen video production tools. Here are three green screen video projects to consider having your students complete. 

Student Newscasts
This might be the most common use of green screens. Students can create a newscast complete with weather forecast set in front a weather map.

Step Inside a Book
Take the concept of a book trailer video one step further by using green screen production tools. Have students place themselves in front of various backdrops that are representative for settings, scenes, and characters in a favorite book. This is a particularly good strategy for fiction/ fantasy books because students can draw their own backgrounds and characters to use on the green screen. 

Guided Tours of the World
Have students research a collection of places around the world then gather pictures or video clips of those places. Students can then use those pictures and clips in the background as they highlight and narrate the tour.


Free Tools for Making Green Screen Videos
iMovie for Mac and iPad. If you have an iPad or a Mac, you probably already have access to iMovie. It's a great tool for making green screen videos. If you've never tried it, watch this tutorial for the iPad version and this tutorial for the Mac version.





Through the combination of Zoom's virtual backgrounds and Adobe Spark Video it is possible to create green screen videos without actually using a green screen. Watch this tutorial to learn how to do that.



Finally, in the paid version of WeVideo there is an option to create green screen videos. Here's my tutorial on how to use WeVideo to make a green screen video.

Some of my Favorites - Historic Maps in Google Earth

This week is school vacation week here in Maine. I usually take this week off to go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake. Unfortunately, that's not happening this year. Instead I'll be "staycationing" and working on some projects around home. While on my staycation I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite tools and blog posts.


In Google Earth Pro (the free desktop version of Google Earth) you will find the Rumsey Historical Maps collection listed in the gallery of layers on the left hand side of your screen. When you turn on that layer you'll see map icons appear all over the map. Zoom-in and click on those icons to view the historical maps and see them layered over current Google Earth imagery. Watch my short video below to see how this process works.



Applications for Education
Layering historical maps over current imagery is one of my favorite uses of Google Earth. Doing this gives students a better view and understanding of how the geography of a city or a geographic area has changed over time.

Some of my Favorites - Grackle Slides & Docs

This week is school vacation week here in Maine. I usually take this week off to go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake. Unfortunately, that's not happening this year. Instead I'll be "staycationing" and working on some projects around home. While on my staycation I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite tools.

Grackle Slides is a Google Slides add-on that will evaluate the accessibility of your presentation and give you suggestions on how to improve the accessibility of your presentation. Watch the short video below to see how it works.



Grackle Slides is a companion to the Grackle Docs add-on for Google Documents that I featured last December. Watch my video about Grackle Docs as embedded below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Join Me for a Free Webinar This Thursday - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Question & Share Cool Stuff

This Thursday at 4pm ET Rushton Hurley and I are hosting Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. You can register for free right here.  Just like the title implies, during the webinar we answer questions from anyone who attends as well as questions that have been sent to us in advance. You can email me or Rushton with your questions. In each episode we also share a couple of interesting apps, websites, or videos that we've found during the last few weeks. 

Watch our last episode to get a sense of what the webinar is all about.

Some of my Favorites - Flipgrid Whiteboard

This week is school vacation week here in Maine. I usually take this week off to go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake. Unfortunately, that's not happening this year. Instead I'll be "staycationing" and working on some projects around home. While on my staycation I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite tools. Flipgrid's new whiteboard tool was one of my favorite new things in 2020.

The option to make a whiteboard video with the Shorts function in Flipgrid is now found in the "effects" menu that is present next to the record button after you launch the Shorts recorder. I made the following short video to demonstrate how to make a whiteboard video in Flipgrid.