Saturday, December 20, 2014

The most important lesson learned from my teacher...

In a break from my typical blog post about technical process to creatively integrate technology into a classroom, I want to share a story about the most import lesson I ever learned from a teacher.

I had been in a school choir since third grade and that continued through high school as my interest in basketball and the potential to play the sport at the college level grew.  My time was increasingly and nearly singularly devoted to the sport.

During my junior year, the recruiting process had begun and the goal of not only playing in college, but being awarded a scholarship was quickly becoming a reality.  A local university begun to show interest as letters from the coaching staff began arriving in my coach's mailbox in the athletic director's office.

On one particular evening, with a concert choir's winter concert fast approaching, I was contacted an associate coach of the local university and was invited to campus to watch the game that evening and meet the players after the game.  Recalling accurately and describing the excitement that I was overcome with in that moment is nearly impossible to describe in words.

There was a dress rehearsal that evening for the winter concert.  I rushed to Ms. Cetto's office to tell her about the opportunity and ask her if I could skip the rehearsal to visit campus and attend the game.  Without so much as a blink, she quickly returned with a resounding no and let me know that I had made a commitment to the choir and by missing the rehearsal I would not be able to perform in the concert.

Seventeen year old Greg was furious, could not understand her line of thought and angrily stormed out of her office.  I attended the rehearsal that evening, not out of respect for Ms. Cetto's response, likely out of fear that I could potentially fail the class if I didn't perform in the concert.  I was also convinced my chanced with this particular university was all but gone.

Many years later, I frequently recall this story and value the lesson learned, the values that Ms. Cetto instilled in me and the long lasting impact of her response.  I am far from perfect and do not always stick to every single commitment that I make, but without Ms. Cetto's wisdom and intervention in this situation I would have never developed the deep mindset of commitment she helped instill in me.

Side Note: This post does not do justice to the level of commitment that Ms. Cetto displayed towards her multiple choirs and her tireless work ethic.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Student Videos X YouTube Creator Studio = CYOA Video Projects

As I wrote about in a previous post, there are two solutions to publish student video to a class YouTube channel to get their content off of their devices and shared with the world.  While the ultimate purpose of these solutions is to publish student work, there is an ulterior motive as well...linking videos together into bigger class video projects.

I wrote a few years ago about creating Choose Your Own Adventure videos and the technical process involved in creating these sorts of videos.  With the emergence of tablets and particularly iPads in the classroom, the ability for students to create video has grown exponentially as in many situations every student now has an iPad and a mobile video creation device as their disposal.

When we combine the ability for students to create video, share via Google Drive and publish directly to a class YouTube channel, the capacity to create CYOA videos also grows.

The Process:

Step 1: Students create video content (iMovie, Explain Everything, Tellagami, etc...)

Step 2: Students upload video to a Google Drive folder shared with their teacher.

Step 3: Teacher uploads video to a class YouTube channel via YouTube Capture on an iPad

Step 4: Link student videos together with the Annotation tool in the YouTube Creator Studio.

NOTE - the linking process has to be completed on a computer.

While there are a few technical hurdles to overcome with this process, the final product can be a powerful collaborative video project that either includes the entire class or a small group of students that have all created & uploaded their videos.

Publishing to YouTube - Two Classroom Solutions

It can be challenging to have students publish their video work to YouTube.  They might not have YouTube accounts or YouTube could be turned off in the student Google Apps domain.  There are two viable solutions to this problem.

Solution 1: Post to a Class (Teacher) YouTube Channel via Email

Process: In the settings of every YouTube channel is an email address associated with the account.
To find the email address:
1. Click on Your icon
2. Click on the settings Gear
3. Find the email in the Mobile Uploads section

Solution 2: Google Drive & YouTube Capture (via iPad)

The process below can be used when students do not have email turned on in the Google Apps domain and when the videos are larger in length (as compared the the email upload limit in option 1)

Once videos are uploaded to the class YouTube channel they can be shared publicly on a class website, blog or twitter account.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Touchcast vs. Explain Everything

I've been meaning to explore Touchcast for some time and finally found a few minutes the other day to create a short test project.

The video below was created by first capturing video on an iPad of me discussing the upcoming iPad Summit in San Diego, CA.  With the video on the camera roll, I was able to import it into Touchcast and add their "vApps" that essentially act as small pop ups that can be timed to appear at any point as layers on top of the original footage.

I found the interface to be relatively intuitive and easy to create with.  However, there is one significant limitation at this point to Touchcast with regards to publishing.  When one is done creating, the final product is published to a Touchcast channel that limits total video upload storage to 60 minutes.  While I find the tool to be powerful, this is a major concern and I wanted to find out if there was another way to create this sort of video without any upload restrictions and ideally, with the ability to export to the camera roll for complete ownership and control over the final destination.

Below is the Touchcast version...

Based on my desire to figure out an alternative approach that would allow for:
- Export to camera roll
- Multiple Publishing Options
- No Sign in Required

I begin experimenting with Explain Everything and the ability to import existing video and record / annotate on top of the video while screencasting.

The process tool just a few attempts to figure out, but ultimately I found it easier to create than Touchcast.  (Full disclosure - I use Explain Everything way to often).

The process in Explain Everything:
1. Import the existing video, resize and lock into place

2. Record the screen and play the video.  This create the baseline video that you will use to then layer additional pop-up elements which will act in a similar fashion to the Touchcast vApps.

3. When you are ready to add layered, pop-up elements, switch the recording feature to blend new recordings with existing recordings.  This can be done by tapping the small arrow icon next to the timer and switching it to the mixed arrow icon.

4. Scroll the time slider to the point where you want the pop-up to appear, add the image from the camera roll and press record.  The embedded video should play back while you can move and manipulate the layered image.

5. Stop the recording, scroll to the next scene and repeat step 4.

6. Export to the camera roll, YouTube or Vimeo

Explain Everything version:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Keynote X Google: Creating & Sharing Presentations on an iPad

While the Google Slides app finally appeared in the App Store, the fact is the app is basically useless with regards to creating presentations on an iPad. While working on a presentation tonight in Keynote on my iPad, I stumbled across a workflow that at first seemed completely useless. I quickly realized it may end up being extremely helpful for both teachers and students.

The process:

Why should anyone use this workflow:

  1. Teachers can create slides on their iPad with Keynote, export to Drive (Slides), convert to Slides format for later editing from their computer, to present in class or to share with their students through a Google drive folder.
  2. Students can create slides on their iPad with Keynote, export to Drive (Slides), convert to Slides format to share for group collaboration or to share with a teacher or even turn in through Google Classroom.
  3. This workflow process allows presentations created on an iPad to be backed up in Google Drive, edited for future use or even exported back to Keynote for presenting from an iPad.

In the vein of my last post (see the update), while this workflow may help with technical processes, the most important idea to consider is what sorts of ideas may students be asked to present about using this workflow? What questions might we ask them to tackle and present on to their peers.