Hand drawn videos

There is software like Video Scribe and the app Elevator Pitch which will make hand drawn videos for you. Not everyone would create them often enough to make the cash outlay worthwhile , although Elevator Pitch is not that expensive and one I have used regularly.Video Scribe comes at a price because it can produce complex, professional looking presentations for you. What if you want to do it yourself , though? Or your students want to do it? This video gives you the directions and plan of attack and then you need a whiteboard, camera and whiteboard markers. I had a student last year who used to work with her sister at home to produce hand drawn videos. It was a positive, collaborative sibling activity and she used to bring the finished videos to school on her iPad. They used a phone, a memo board and markers and the finished product looked good. The other students gave her very positive feedback, as did I, and so there was a real sense of success with that activity. I had given them the option of presenting their work as a video in any way they chose. It meant she was learning her work as she was preparing her video. It also became an effective tool for teaching her peer assessment group. It went down well we were sharing content and ideas about how to do things. We are connected. We are always looking for ways to share our ideas effectively. Hand drawn videos can be fun but the careful approach means there is an inbuilt learning process for content and technique.

GoPro Studio Software

I use the GoPro app on my Samsung phone and iPad and it works well. I thought I’d try the GoPro Studio software to edit my videos. It is free to download, doesn’t take long and does not come with any annoyingware. There are templates you can use and they give some good examples of how you can edit your videos. They are all good quality footage. I was using my Hero4 Session which I am still getting used to and thGoPro Studioought I’d put some clips together. It doesn’t take long because GoPro studio is not a complicated video editing programme. It works . It does a good job and you can convert the clips to import them into other video editing software if you want to. It is simple and effective and from that point of view would be handy if you wanted to publish a video quickly and in a fuss free way.

The magic of technology

Zach King is a perfect 2015 example of how integrating technology into your life and learning can create the most magical outcomes. This is the top end of technology integration and demonstrates what that can mean. The thought, the imagination, the hours of learning and perfecting, the application, the sharing for peer review , getting the feedback and then sharing again. Zach King does not call himself the finalcutking for nothing. He knows and understands technology and explores it to the maximum and then yes, it all comes down to the final cut and his sharing drives it forward. He is everywhere on social media and uses media channels to build his skills, his life and his creativity. You can find him on Instagram here and on Twitter @finalcutking.

DIY lesson renovation

questionNever give up and never think you have it wrong. Technology adds another layer of complexity to a lesson which has to be navigated, especially with new laptop users. Friday’s lesson was baffling since I had not thought the things which did hold up the lesson were the sorts of things that would. I live and learn. I also talk to my students. We clarified if I want them to write on their laptops I need to say type and not write. To them writing is with a pen. We also clarified that if they cannot get Net access they can use their laptops to use the software available and then do the Net catch up later. We also realised there wasn’t particularly a reason for them not understanding my question about the best images. It was the time of day, the weather, the end of the week. Nothing in particular. This is why it is so essential to get that feedback loop going with a class. It smoothes the way. So, Tuesday after lunch we had another version of my Friday lesson. I never give up on an idea. If it doesn’t work with one class, it will probably work with another. If the idea needs refinement and adjustment for implementation, then that is a good thing. It means I have had some connected conversations with students and colleagues so I can make an idea work. We looked at 15 minutes of a video on Paris and I’ll let them watch the next bit next lesson. After lunch more than 15 minutes will encourage them to drift off. The video was in simple French and taking them on a tour of Paris. It was very well made. We then did our feed back on Twiducate. We are building up our knowledge base so we can make a good iMovie on Paris next term. I only asked 3 questions:

Est-ce que tu aimes Paris?
Oui, j’aime Paris.

What is better – looking at still pictures or a video?
A video is better because it can be more eye catching and your attention will always be on it.

What do you think Paris is like (based on this video)?
I think Paris would be busy and fast moving  and there is probably always something to do or to see.

1. Oui, j’aime la ville de Paris.
2. I think that a mixture of both would give the best visual aspects of a presentation, but I prefer pictures because you at least have a bit of time to really take in the picture to see exactly what’s going on in the depiction of the picture, whereas videos, you only see the main things and that for me can mean I’m missing out on some things.
3. I think that Paris is like any other major city but has just a better look about it.

1) Oui, j’aime Paris.
2) I think videos are better because they can get more things in the screen and the person holding the camera can move around but if you take a photo you cant see as much
3) I think Paris is very busy and crowded but it is a colourful and exciting.

I had not used the word image. I had asked for comparisons and just a simple opinion. Most students thought videos were better by far and could explain why. Those who preferred still images or thought still images had a role to play could articulate well why they thought that.

Our lesson went on with our look at the perfect tense and some practice sentences which related to the presentation they are working on and to the Paris presentation and then we did 10 minutes in iMovie so they could see some of the key features.

That technology lesson worked really well because we had cleared up the communication breakdown and then clarified what tools were appropriate for which tasks. Clarity is everything!

Which images are the best?

images Simple enough scenario. At one point in my year 9 lesson I had shown 3 little videos and one really image rich slide presentation on Paris. I was setting up the iMovie project for next term. Once we had seen them all I wrote some questions on the board and asked them to go onto Twiducate to record their responses. It then became a very curious lesson, the likes of which you can live for as a teacher because it is startling how students behave sometimes. This is a class of 32 bright and very capable students. There is a really good mix of talents and interests and they pick up on things quickly. They are also very genuine in their willingness to learn. What happened though was baffling and has given me plenty to think about. Our first issue was the wifi was being flaky for reasons best know to itself. Happens sometimes but not often. I got myself back on the Net and showed the class how I had done that and about half of them got back on the Net too. I then said if they couldn’t get on the Net to just write up their responses and then put them in Twiducate later. Some of them got out their books and a pen and started writing. One complained loudly they had no pen and paper. Okay, here you are. Not that hard to find a piece of paper and a pen. But why? They have MacBook Pros. They have hundreds of dollars worth of software. Not one had thought to go onto Word or some other text software to write up their responses so they could cut and paste later. So I said , “Why don’t you open up Word? You can cut and paste later.” They looked at me like I had gone mad. They were supposed to be writing in Twiducate. They were supposed to be on the Net. After 5 minutes of implementation block we rose above it and settled into the responses. Then came the questions. “What do you mean by question 2?” I found it odd they just didn’t use the words in the question or the words they didn’t understand. So I looked at question 2. “Which did you think were the best images?” Was it something I said? Was it the way I said it? Was it images? I should have asked. I was baffled. Okay, we have just looked at 3 little videos and a slide presentation. They have been full of images. Which ones did you think were the best to look at? I was asked that question several times. On Monday I have to ask them what it was about the question that stumped them. You couldn’t plan or foresee a moment like that. Teaching can provide some unique experiences and with the addition of technology they become even more unique. In the responses I can see at the moment they think high definition, colourful images are the best…and so we make progress.

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