Create and Share Content

Today’s class is the second in our three-class exploration of blended and flipped learning. Last week we looked at options for screencasting / slidecasting. This week we’ll look add a few more options for teachers or students to create content. Students will practice their skills in preparation for our next class where we will look at how to incorporate blended / flipped content into lesson design.

There many options for creating content – but here’s two categories and some free tools that will have many application for lesson designers.

Techniques we’ve already used

  1. Create content using VoiceThread and share with student. Shoot your own video – edit with iMovie. See class 5.
  2. Use Mac’s QuickTime Player or CaptureSpace to create a screencast / slidecast. See class 6

Create and share slides

  1. Export Powerpoint or Keynote slides to Slideshare  – sample by former student Peter Gallagher. Peter’s extensive collection of Slideshares.
  2. Here’s how to add an audio narration to a PowerPoint or a Keynote slides show.
  3. Use Google slides  – here’s an example of how to animate a math problem. Here’s a hack for adding a narration to Google slides.

Create and share videos

  1. Add narration to  PowerPoint or Keynote (#2 above) Then export as videos which can be shared as files or uploaded to YouTube.
  2. Share your YouTube or Vimeo videos without nuisances such as annotations and related videos using SafeShare.TV
  3. Create a Paperslide video
  4. Create an animation using Toontastic 3d. It’s fun and a free tool from Google that works on smartphones, tablets, and select Chromebooks. Other animation creation options with free intro levels are Plotagon, Powtoon.

Image credit: Creative Commons / Adobe Spark

What would I even use this for?

So Screencasting is something that I kinda sorta knew existed but never really bothered with it. Well, I finally bothered with it! I decided to mess around with Screencasting by teaching how to navigate a scientific research database. Looking back on my Biology Minor I really wish that one of my professors had told me how to navigate different research websites. Because of that it became my focus for practicing screencasting. Overall it was pretty intuitive on how to use it. In the beginning there is a bit of noise in the background so if I continue to use this I might want to invest in some sort of microphone.

My challenges are currently a lack of technology in my classroom. However in an ideal world I could see a couple uses for screencasting. I could teach my students how to use different applications like quizlet or edmodo which I both implement in my classroom. I could also show them different reliable and safe science websites.  By giving the students access to these videos they will be much more safe online and be exposed to routines that I implement in the classroom. This could free up valuable classroom instruction time, definitely a benefit!

I feel that I have only recently been exposed to screencasting so I really do not know all the opportunities that it could have for my future classroom but I plan on finding out!

https://youtu.be/V1L1l3-HvoI

 

Featured Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/69504630@N03/6320530875/in/photolist-aCwnCg-4uu1k-dHxtKH-4zFbDW-aRufP6-aDuUL-oohXc-4MSLXm-8UMPZ3-4Nkp4-bgqHEX-5upwd8-4EVquu-9D4hFt-9D4gP6-9D7beW-L2kYf-7nUjfY-9D7cjU-9D4hEP-9D7bTY-9D7cLY-9D4hjP-9D4giR-9D4ide-9D4hUM-9D7cE3-9D4ggF-9D7az1-9D7cGC-L2kXd-9D4ifD-9D4ij8-8FmzXf-9D4gLF-9D7c73-9D4hBv-9D7avw-7k34sV-4NiPa-57ga9c-9BxRqj-5TcFgs-5NfGcU-aDuUk-7Jf643-LiR3R5-4tPWqy-LCkK1-4qN2vF

Attribution: librarianpond

Class 6: Screencasting Techniques

We will open our class with a student updates on their progress on our critical thinking design project and agree to some firm due dates. Then we will turn our attention to a new skill – screencasting.

Screencasting / Slidecasting

Edtech guru, Kathy Schrock defines screencasting as “the capture of the action on a computer screen while you are narrating. Screencasts can be made with many tools and are often used to create a tutorial or showcase student content mastery.” A related practice is slidecasting (creating a slideshow and then screencasting your narration of it as it plays on the screen). Kathy’s screencasting resources.

I make use of many edtech tools in my classes and workshops. Rather than teaching an edtech tool to everyone in a whole class setting, I think it is more efficient to make a short screencast and post it to my YouTube collection. That creates many flexible learning “tutorials” that I can use as part of flipped or blended lessons.

Here’s a few tips for screencasting:

  • I favor taking complex instructions and turning them into multiple shorter videos covering specific aspects of the task. Some students know one thing and not another. Why make them sit through a long how-to.
  • I use a plug in mic (just a standard iPhone earbud mic) rather than the microphone built into my Mac. (The built-in mic on my desktop sounds distant and echoes because of it’s placement in a corner of my office.) I check the volume level and mic position first to get sound level right and make sure I’m not “popping” when I say my “Ps.”
  • I first practice the skill a few times to find efficient ways to demonstrate and describe what I am doing.
  • If I will be entering much text as part of the task, I create a text document first so I can copy/paste text into the app I’m demonstrating ( I hate watching videos of people typing.)
  • I make sure any images, websites or other content I will use in the video are readily available.
  • I try and do the screencasts in one take. I don’t worry too much about flubbing words – hey, it’s only a screencast.

I typically use Quicktime Player, which is built into the Mac OS. It’s easy to use and quickly uploads to my YouTube account.  Here’s a screencast I made on how to use Quicktime Player to make a screencast. (very meta)

 

Screencasting with CaptureSpace

This week we’ll explore how to screencast / slidecast using the CaptureSpace tool that’s built into UP’s MediaSpace. It’s a robust app that opens up a few more options for capture and editing that using Quicktime Player.  It also provides a place – MediaSpace – where student’s can upload the finished product.

Note you might also want to check out video tutorials on Microphone setup and how to Edit Your Screencast Before Upload

Assignment

Student’s will use class time to design and record a screencast (or slidecast)  using CaptureSpace. If they use Quicktime Player, they should plan to load it up to there YouTube account. It could be related to our critical thinking design project, an upcoming lesson they hope to use in their placement, or just some content or skills they would like to describe.

After creating and uploading the video to UP MediaSpace, students should write and upload a blog post that describes what they hoped to accomplish with the video and what they see as the challenges and opportunities of screencasting / slidecasting. They should use the MediaShare “Share” function to create an embed code so they can include to their screencast in the blog post.

Here’s a how-to video explaining how to do that (made with QuickTime)

 Image credit: Adobe Spark public domain media

Class 5: VoiceThread and iMovie

This week students will report directly to the Digital Lab in Clark Library for training in using VoiceThread and iMovie.

They will learn to use VoiceThread commenting on our Critical Thinking Brainstorm presentation.

Our iMovie training will give students a chance to remix some classic WWII public domain propaganda films and cartoons. Such as Oscar nominated “Mr Blabbermouth” (1942):

Class 4: Elevator Pitch and Design

Today’s class will be our first brainstorm / design session building on Assignment 3: Brainstorming Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum

Class will open with each student giving a 5-minute “elevator pitch” followed by feedback from peers.

Next we will see if there are some common themes or approaches that tie all the individual ideas together.

Finally students will begin to capture some of their thinking on this shared Google Slide presentation.

Image credit: Flickr: Marco Wessel – Elevator Pitch for Katie

Assignment 3: Brainstorming Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum

During our discussion of Fake News, we realized that our students need more practice in the critical evaluation of information. We saw an opportunity to create a collection of lessons that teach critical thinking in various disciples such as math, science, history and English. Here’s a great example from math How to Lie, Cheat, Manipulate, and Mislead using Statistics and Graphic Displays. 3.9MB pdf

Assignment:

Come to class with ideas to share. You will have 5 mins each to give an “elevator pitch.”

So this coming week all students will brainstorm what content those lesson might cover, and how we might deliver the lessons. They might be standalone lessons or we might try to pick a common theme and approach it from different disciples. We’ll see.

This will likely be a multi-week project and a chance to use some new tech tools in a project-based approach. Plus when we are done, we’ll have a showcase product to share.

Here’s some content ideas we got started:

  1. Visual literacy – looking at images
  2. Map how to read news article
  3. Design and read infographic
  4. Lie with statistics
  5. Mr DNA guide (that guy from Jurassic Park)
  6. English – propaganda, world of text and author
  7. History – how narrative can be used to frame events from point of view. How do you look at evidence.
  8. Bad examples of critical thinking.

Delivery ideas:

  1. PDFs
  2. Blog posts
  3. Prezi, Powerpoint, Keynote
  4. Infographics
  5. Cartoon characters like Toontastic 3D
  6. Tests – Kahoot
  7. Memes
  8. Games
This project serves a number of purposes:
  • Work on our digital literacy skills
  • Focus first on good instructional design
  • Explore design and deliver of  PBL
  • Interdisciplinary approach allows all students to contribute from their perspective
  • Address an issue of critical importance
  • Provide a vehicle for utilizing a variety of tech tools
  • Provide an opportunity for assessing the efficacy of our methodology and tech tool selection

Image Credit: Flickr: Chris Potter 3D Bright Idea
ccPixs.com

The Ripple Effect

http://images.tutorvista.com/cms/images/101/waves.jpg

I do it all the time in order to greet a friend or a relative. I think everyone does it at some point; everyone’s learned how at some point of their lives. But what, really, is the core of this simple motion, this simple greeting we offer to our friends and loved ones?

It is the wave, my friends, and it is not simply the back and forth motion of your arms or hands. It has a particularly deep occupation in the world of science, from climatology to meteorology to oceanography; to physics, psychology…everything. Waves are connected to everything and everyone.

During my research concerning waves, it boggled my mind how delicate the nature of waves is, as well as the tenacity and strength that they can have. Add in the ripple effect and the other properties that come along with it, well….it’s just amazing. Every time I think of the ripple effect, I am reminded of the proverb or saying about a butterfly’s wings? Something about starting from a butterfly and ending up as a strong gust of wind halfway across the world? Something like that.

While I was looking for media, I was really inspired by all the creativity that I found when looking at images. I found the pictures that I saw on Flickr especially to be super calming and definitely something worthwhile to look at.

Wave

Like the one above from AJC1. Doesn’t this just make you want to go swimming/surfing/whatever you do in the ocean? Isn’t it weird to think that this picture of a particular kind of wave makes your brain send out a different kind of wave? (a brain wave…duh.)

Waves are super calming, and I loved seeing all the creativity that went into trying to convey that. I looked at some of the science-y stuff that I found as well, but there were some things that I didn’t really understand, mostly because it was really late at night and I didn’t feel like delving that much into hyper-physics (I’m pretty sure that’s a thing). Not only waves super calming, but they’re also essential to nature for various reasons. (Again, more science-y stuff) In the link, I have provided my OneNote compilation of said calming pictures of waves and such, and there’s an article there that explains the benefits of the ocean’s waves in 6 easy little blurb-y paragraphs.

I found that I spent most of my time on Flickr, just looking at pictures of the ocean. It made me kind of homesick to be honest. This is probably the reason why I switched to science. Then the science aspect started to speak in…well, science lingo, and that bored me out of my mind. I had the (bad) smart idea to look into brain waves, and I saw lots of MRIs of brains in lots of different bright reds, greens, yellows, and some in some really calming blues and grays…although I think the calmer colors mean little to no activity? I also used a lot of regular Google searching.

What made this experience really fun was being able to use OneNote in a way that wasn’t notes. It felt sort of like scrap-booking, and I’m really into that kind of thing. Maybe now I’ll be able to use it more like a scrap book than anything educational.

That’s it for now!

 

My OneNote Thing!

Featured Image: Waves from Tutorvista.com

Trekking into the Jungle of Internet Resources

The internet is a jungle – vast, dense, and full of resources.  This task challenged me to pick up my hypothetical machete and trek into it, learning how to find needed resources efficiently and then use them fairly.

On this particular trek, I delved into the virtual jungle to find pictures of the actual jungle – or at least pictures of Venezuela to get started on a presentation for a Spanish class I’m taking.  I chose Flickr to search for photos, limiting my search to Creative Commons photos.  I noticed how many high quality photos disappeared when I added this limiting term, but what could I complain since I could use the material free of charge (with reference and non-commercially)?  I further noted that I could limit the search by size, orientation, date, and content, which could make the search process more efficient.

My archive tool of choice was Google Keep, which centers around “notes” that can include a mix of text, content, colors, and links.  Once I found my photos of choice, I simply downloaded them, uploaded them to Google Keep and added a short description and photo credit.  For fun, I tried using Bitly to shorten the link addresses to the Flickr photos, which was self-explanatory and simple.  When all finished, I had a neat collection of photos, ready to use for content creation since I could easily include the image sources.

(My assortment of images and sources on Google Keep)

And that concludes my short foray into the jungle, learning about the mesas of Venezuela, and digital literacy and content curation at the same time.

Image: Tomorrow by Matsography  – Link

 

Maximizing My Use of Limited Technology

Access to technology is frequently limited in my classroom, and what is available can often be somewhat basic.  In an increasingly technology driven world and culture, this presents challenges; students live in a technological landscape, but are expected to radically change how they approach learning, creating, and thinking because they tools they are accustomed too are not available.

Available for use in my classroom is a Chromebook cart with 30 Chromebook laptops, but this must be checked out and reserved in advance.  The entire 8th Grade team shares this cart, meaning getting access to it can be competitive and sometimes problematic.  Generally, this means that students have access to technology only when it is planned far in advance, and even this is dependent on luck — or coordination among 8th Grade Team members, which while certainly do-able, adds another logistical problem and step.

My students come from a variety of backgrounds and many lack technological skills.  While they are fluent and adept at using phones to find information and navigate the world, they sometimes lack the skills to quickly and efficiently make use of other forms of technology like laptops and computers.  This doubles the challenge of limited technology; the only form of technology we have available is also the form students are most likely to be unfamiliar or unskilled with.

These are all challenges, and I have been working –and continue working — to find solutions.  One area I’ve been able to most successfully incorporate technology is with research projects.  This has offered an opportunity for students to use technology, which they are generally very receptive too, and a chance to teach some basic digital literacy skills — how to identify and correctly use a reputable source.  It has also offered an opportunity for students who are less familiar with Chromebooks to acquire some basic typing and program use skills, without tying their proficiency to a grade.  By supplementing student online research with articles and books provided in hard copy, I’ve been able to provide students a number of different avenues to approach research, with technology usage being one, of several, options.

Finally, an additional solution to technology limitations has been the use of cell phones.  This is a tricky area, and requires extensive circulation and monitoring to make sure students stay on task, but by being flexible and allowing students to use phones for basic searches — such as for images to base visuals off of for projects, or details from reputable sources — I feel that I have been able to provide a more authentic learning experience for students who spend a large chunk of their time and lives on devices already.

Digitally Exploring Oregon’s Native Plants

For this task, I chose to collect public domain sources related to the native trees and plants of Oregon.  After fiddling around on Microsoft OneNote for a few minutes, I felt as though I was completely incapable of operating a computer.  There were so many toolbars and sidebars that I had no idea where to go or what to do in order save my sources.  I decided to switch over to Google Keep instead.  I found Keep to be fairly easy to use.  The user interface of Keep was a lot simpler and didn’t have nearly as many options as OneNote, which I personally find to be a good thing.  I downloaded Keep as an extension to my Google Chrome browser.  Every time I found a source that I was interested in saving, I simply clicked on the Keep logo in my browser’s toolbar and a link to the webpage was saved in Keep.

I found a few of the public domain search tools to be very helpful.  Flickr was a great source for finding images.  It was easy to search for images and identify the type of license associated with each image.  My only problem with Flickr was that many of the images were incorrectly labelled by the person who posted them.  For example, I found this image of a lady fern when I was searching for a sword fern.

I’m not a plant expert, but I was able to identify several other images on both Flickr and Google Images Creative Commons Search that were incorrectly labelled.  This could potentially be a problem for students who are researching native plants for a school project.  Incorrectly labelled images might cause confusion about what plants look like.  On the other hand, it might be good practice for students to filter through information and identify which sources are reliable.

 

Image credit to vladeb