Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fun with Animoto

I've been playing around quite a bit with Animoto the past several weeks. I have not broken down and purchased a full year subscription ($30) or even paid for one full video ($3). I have been sticking to the free 30-second shorts.

I decided that if I can stick to 30 seconds, my students could as well . . . making Animoto possible to use in the classroom (free). Students could sign-up for a free account and then go to town creating 30-second shorts for any class project.

It is beyond easy to use and there is a great music selection available. My only source of frustration is that I am limited to 8 to 9 slides within that 30 seconds, and I never know if they will all make it into my short video until after they have processed and created my 30-second short.

One thing that I really do like about the 30 second time limit is that it forces this to be a quick, one or two period project. So, it is a great technology that teachers can implement without a needing to commit a large amount of class time.

I was bothered by the lack of text that can be placed on the text slides. However, I finally found a way around that. Now, I create my text in Paint and save it as a JPEG which I then import to Animoto as a picture.

I heard about an awesome idea by an Arizona math teacher from Lesley Edwards on her blog The Webfooted Booklady. He is asking the world to send his second grade class math question videos. So, I decided to create my own math problem for Room 46 using Animoto.

Here's a little 30-second short that I did as a opening for an in-service presentation I recently conducted on using Interwrite pads.

Classroom Ideas:
videos revolving around a certain vocabulary or spelling word
current event videos - around the world in 30 seconds
teacher created problems or prompts for response by students
create commercials for an advertising unit
book trailers
character studies
artwork portfolios

Do you have any other ideas for using this in the classroom? I would love to hear about them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Miss M, I Forget How To . . .

It seems no matter how well I think I explained something and no matter how clear the hand-outs are, I always hear these words a week later. Since I have discovered Jing, I no longer have to reteach the process to individual students. Instead of reexplaining how to do something computer related, I have recorded tutorials to which I now refer my students for a quick review.

With Jing I can create a narrated recording of what I am doing on the computer. I can also take screenshots and then use them to create a worksheet. I can then save the video/screenshot on my computer, embed the video/screenshot, or get a URL to link out to the videos/screenshot. Also, Jing provides free hosting of all videos and screenshots at screencast.

Using Jing is so simple; it is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. Select Capture (video or screenshot)
2. Select the portion of the screen you would like to be capture
3. Either begin to record video or begin to mark up screenshot with necessary arrows, text, boxes, etc.

Screentoaster is another site that allows you to record video of what you are doing on the computer. However, you cannot narrate your recordings with audio. I believe, however, that this feature will be coming in the future.

Classroom Ideas:
1. create video tutorials
2. create handouts using screenshots
3. have students create a recordings to demonstrate knowledge of a computer process, application, or software
4. facilitate differentiated instruction and independent work by creating the tutorial videos

1. video tutorial
2. sceenshot

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/darling_clementine/2056654756/sizes/o/