Friday, June 10, 2022

How to Add Narration to Canva Presentations

Earlier this week I published a video titled What's the Best Way to Share Tech Tips With Staff? That video was based on my blog post about newsletters, blogs, and social media for tech coaches. One astute viewer noticed that I used a slightly different format for that video than I usually use. That's because I recorded the entire video in Canva. After I explained that he wanted to know if the same thing could be done without including a webcam view. Yes, you can record a video in Canva without enabling your webcam. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to add narration to a Canva presentation by using the built-in recording tools. 



Applications for Education
Recording voiceover narration for your presentations is easy to do in Canva. It can be a good way to make a short video lesson. I should emphasize short! If you try to make a video longer than about a minute that is just your slides and your voice, you will probably bore your students to tears. So if you're recording for more than a minute, turn on your webcam and include your face in your video lesson.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Chromebook

Yesterday I shared directions about using the new screencast recording tool that is built into the latest Chromebooks. While screencast videos are great for providing directions and teaching lessons, sometimes all you really need to is just an annotated screenshot to make your point. Fortunately, taking a screenshot and editing it on a Chromebook is easier than ever. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to take screenshot on a Chromebook, edit it, and share it. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

How to Record Screencasts on Chromebooks Without Extensions

A couple of days ago Google announced some new Chromebook features for teachers and students. One of those features is a new screencast recording tool that is built into the latest version of Chrome OS. 

The new screencast recording tool built into Chromebook OS removes the need to use third-party extensions like Screencastify or Loom to record a screencast video on your Chromebook. You can record all of your screen or part of your screen. If you like to include your webcam in screencasts, you can do that with the built-in recorder in the latest version of Chrome OS. The recorder includes some handy tools for drawing on your screen while recording. 

When you create a screencast using the built-in recorder on your Chromebook the recording is automatically saved to your Google Drive account. Once the recording is saved you can share it much like you would share any other file in your Google Drive account. 

Automatic Transcription! Perhaps the best feature of the new screencast recorder in Chrome OS is that it automatically generates a written transcript of your video. You can edit the transcript if you find some inaccuracies in it. 

Watch my new video to learn how you can record screencasts on your Chromebook without using any third-party extensions. 



Important! Update your Chromebook to the latest version of Chrome OS to access the new screencasting tool to record a screencast on your Chromebook

Focusable Looks Like a Promising New Approach to Online Instruction

Focusable is a new service from the same people that brought us Swivl and Synth. Focusable is currently in a private beta (public beta to launch in August) so there isn't a lot of information available about it. That said, what I've seen so far makes Focusable look like a promising new approach to online instruction.

The concept of Focusable is to help students focus on completing a learning activity (or series of activities). This is done through something that Focusable refers to as a flow. The flow includes a task, a timer, a reflection tool, and breathing (focus) exercises designed to keep students moving toward the completion of a learning activity. It appears to be different than just telling students to "set a timer and work for X minutes" because the flow uses very short timers followed by a reflection and a breathing exercise intended to get students to flow back into the assigned learning activity. 

You can sign up for beta access to Focusable on their homepage. It is there that you can also watch a short demo video of the Focusable concept. You may also want to read their announcement that introduces the Focusable concept and their article about the optimal learning experience

I've signed up for early beta access to Focusable because I'm curious to see how well their approach works. If it works nearly as well as they promise, it could be a great way to give personalized online instruction. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Science Fun in the Sun - Free Science Lesson Plan

As I write this it's a cloudy and relatively cold June day here in Maine. The sunshine will return and with it there will be some opportunities for fun outdoor learning activities. One such activity is building a solar oven and trying to cook something like s'mores in it. 4H offers free instructions on how to do that. One of the things that I like about 4H's instructions for making a solar oven is that at the end of the instructions there is a knowledge comprehension check and discussion questions to pose to students. 

Over the years I've shared other sets of directions for making solar ovens. Here's a recap of those resources.

NASA provides two sets of detailed, written directions for building solar ovens. This set of directions (link opens a PDF) was created for students in 7th through 9th grade. This set of directions (link opens a PDF) for building a solar oven was written for 6th through 8th grade students and culminates with students attempting to make s'mores with their ovens. 

Cooking With 'Sol (link opens a PDF) was published by the US Department of Energy. It was written for students in 5th through 8th grade to follow directions to create a solar oven. 

DIY Sun Science is a free iPad app from The Lawrence Hall of Science. The app features directions for hands-on lessons about the sun. The lessons are a mix of activities that students can do on their own and activities that they should do with adult supervision. All of the activities use common household goods. Some of the activities that you will find in DIY Sun Science are measuring the sun, making UV detectors, detecting solar storms, and cooking with a solar oven.

If you or your students want some visuals of how a solar oven works, SciShow Kids offers this video for you