Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How to Create Custom Coloring Maps

There are plenty of places on the Internet to find free outline maps of states, provinces, countries, and regions of the world. Finding blank outline maps of cities, small towns, or neighborhoods is a little harder to do. If you're looking for a blank map of a city, town, or neighborhood for your students to label and or color, Mapbox Studio has the solution for you. 

With a free Mapbox Studio account you can create a custom outline map of any city, town, or neighborhood of your choosing. You can choose how much or how little detail you want to include in the map. Once you've made your selections you can save your map as a PNG or JPG file to print and distribute to your students.

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Mapbox Studio to create your own custom coloring maps. 

An Easy Way to Find Movie Clips to Include in Your Lessons

ClassHook is a service that I've been using and recommending for the last few years. It provides a good way to find clips from movies and television shows to use in your lessons. You can search it according Common Core standard, recommended grade level, and subject area. Recently, ClassHook added another search option. ClassHook's new Movie Recommendation option lets you conduct a broad, general search for movie clips without having to enter a grade or a standard. Watch this short video to see how it works. 



Applications for Education
Once you've found a clip through ClassHook you could just play it for your class to watch in your room or link to it in your LMS of choice. Another option is to use ClassHook's "pause prompts" feature to incorporate discussion questions into the video. Pause Prompts are timestamped questions that you add to video clips in ClassHook. When you're showing a video to your class, the questions you've written as Pause Prompts will automatically pop-up at the timestamp you've specified. The video will stop and the question will appear full-screen in its place. You can then have a discussion with your students about the prompt. In this short video I demonstrate how to use ClassHook's pause prompts feature.

Free Webinar Tomorrow - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions

Tomorrow at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I are hosting the second episode of the second season of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff! We'd love to have you join us! You can register for the session right here

In every episode we answer questions from readers and viewers like you. We also share some cool and interesting things that we've found around the Web. Rushton tends to share cool videos and pictures while I tend to share cool tech tools. And we both try our best to give helpful answers to your questions about all things educational technology. 

Please join us! And feel free to email me in advance with your questions or send them in live during the webinar. 

Recordings and resources from our previous episodes are available on this Next Vista for Learning page.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Two Easy Ways to Blur Faces and Objects in Your Videos

Recording short video clips and posting them on your classroom or school website is a great way for parents and other community members to learn about the great things that are happening in your classroom and school. When you do that you wan to make sure that you're not accidentally sharing something that shouldn't be public or showing the face of someone who doesn't want to be in a public video. Fortunately, it is easy to blur faces and objects in your videos before you publish them for the whole world to see. 

For years YouTube's built-in editor has included a tool for blurring faces and objects in your videos. The editor has two blurring options. The first option is "automatic face blurring" which automatically detects faces and blurs them. The downside to using that option is that it will blur all faces for the whole length of the video. That's fine unless you want to selectively blur faces or you want to blur something besides a face. The other blurring option in the YouTube editor is to selectively blur. That option lets you manually place a blurry box or oval over a section of your video. Both blurring options are demonstrated in this short video

Screencastify's recently updated free video editor also offers an easy way to blur faces and objects in your videos. In Screencastify's video editor you can choose to blur any face or object for as long as you like in your videos. You can also have multiple blurs running simultaneously in your video. Screencastify's object blurring feature is demonstrated in this video

Two Ways to Make Timelines Based on Books

On Sunday evening a reader of my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter replied with a question about creating timelines. She was looking for suggestions for a timeline tool that her tenth grade students can use to create a timeline based on books they've read. This is something that I've done in the past with some of my own students so I had a couple of suggestions at the ready. 

Timeline JS is my first choice for making a timeline based on a book. I've been using Timeline JS for nearly a decade to make timelines that include text, images, videos, and links. Timelines created with Timeline JS can have events separated by as little as a minute because you can specify the date and time of each event in the timeline. Watch this video for a short demonstration of how to use Timeline JS. 



Using one of Canva's timeline templates is my second choice for making a timeline based on a book. While it doesn't support as many media types as Timeline JS, you could argue that the aesthetics of Canva timelines is much better than those of Timeline JS. Here's my demo of how to create a timeline in Canva.


By the way, the image in this post is a picture of the cover of a fun read titled Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure. The book retraces Harry Truman's steps as he drove from his home in Missouri to New York and back during the summer of 1953.