Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Blur Faces and Objects in Screencastify Videos

Disclosure: Screencastify is currently an advertiser on my sites. 

Earlier this week I published a post about Screencastify's new feature for adding interactive questions into your videos. That's not the only new thing that Screencastify offers in its updated video editor. Another great feature is the option to blur faces and objects in your Screencastify videos. 

To blur things in a Screencastify video simply record your video as usual then save it and open it in the Screencastify video editor. In the editor you can highlight the area of your video that you want to blur. The blur can appear for as little as one second or as long as the entire length of your video. You choose the amount of time that the blurring appears for by simply dragging the timeslider in the Screencastify video editor. It is also possible to blur multiple objects in the same scene. All of these options are demonstrated in this short video overview of the Screencastify video editor

Applications for Education
The option to blur things in your videos is a great way to protect your and your students' privacy when publishing a video. Besides blurring faces you may also want to blur names or email addresses if they appear in a screencast video.

How to Quickly Create a Bibliography in Word

In my previous post I wrote about why every fall I revisit how to cite sources and create bibliographies. In that post I also included directions for using inline citation and bibliography generator in Google Docs. Microsoft Word has a very similar tool that students can use. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to insert citations and create a bibliography in Microsoft Word documents.


Applications for Education
Whenever I write blog posts or publish videos about tools like these I get emails from readers who like to point out that bibliography tools make it "too easy" or that there is some discrepancy between the tool and the latest minor update to MLA or APA. My point in getting middle school and high school students to use these tools is to help them build the habit of citing their sources. When they reach the point that they have a college professor who is a stickler for bibliography formats or they're submitting research papers to journals then they can worry about the minutia of the bibliography standards of academic research papers. 

How to Cite Sources in Google Docs

At the beginning of every school year I like to revisit some topics with my students to which they always say, "we learned this last year." One of those topics is citing the sources of the information that they use in their writing and in their presentations. It never hurts to review this information with students even if they say they "already learned it." There's always something they forgot over the summer or that their previous teacher(s) didn't require the them that I require when they cite their sources. 

Google Docs makes it relatively easy for students to create inline citations and bibliographies. In the last year it has undergone a few little changes. I made this new video to demonstrate how to create inline citations and bibliographies in the current version of Google Docs. Please feel free to share it with your students. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

How to Generate Captions for Any Video

YouTube will automatically generate captions for almost any video that you find. Likewise, it will automatically generate captions for videos that you upload to your account. That's great if you want to use YouTube. But if you have a video that isn't on YouTube and you need to display captions with it, there is a solution built into Chrome. 

In Chrome you can enable captions for any video that is played on a webpage. This will work with videos that are embedded into websites and will even work with videos that are played from your Google Drive. In this short video I demonstrate how to enable captioning in Chrome. 

Applications for Education
Enabling captions for videos that you display in your classroom (whether online or in-person) makes the content accessible to all students. Even students who you might not think need the captions enabled can benefit from having the captions displayed on screen. That is particularly true when the speaker in a video is pronouncing a difficult word or a word that is hard to hear clearly. 

How to Quickly Create Comics With Make Beliefs Comix

Disclosure: Make Beliefs Comix is currently an advertiser on this site. 

Make Beliefs Comix is a good tool for creating comic strips for all kinds of purposes including teaching empathy, practicing writing in a new language, and telling fun stories. Last week I outlined those ideas and more in this blog post

The best thing about Make Beliefs Comix is that you don't need to be able to draw in order to create a great comic strip. That's because you can use the pre-made artwork to create your comic strip. Simply select a category of artwork then choose a background, characters, decorations, and speech bubbles for your comic. You can then write your comic in one of fourteen languages supported by Make Beliefs Comix. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to quickly create a comic strip with Make Beliefs Comix.