This week is a bit more utilitarian and hopefully some of these tools and ideas will help your productivity and discover new media to infuse into your teaching.
I have had a lot of teachers ask for a tutorial or for help on how to make videos smaller or to convert a video file from one format to an MP4 video format. Here is a 2 minute (no really it is only 2 minutes) video on how to use iSquint (free download) to convert or resize videos.
You may not be aware of this but the SAS video portal is more than just a place to host your students’ vids that you produce in class. In fact, there are a ton of great “how-To” tutorials there created by SAS teachers and tech. facilitators that can be a great resource when you need to find out how to do something but all your go-to people are busy. Here is how to access them. 1) Go to the SAS video Portal. 2) Click on the “Media” tab at the top. 3) On the left hand under the “Browse Media” section, click on “SAS Tutorials”. 4) Search by keyword or just browse the collection.
Download Videos from You Tube
This great internet browser extension comes from Pat McMahon in the HS. YouTube Down Loader-Installs on any browser. Click on the browser(s) you want to install the downloader for and voila, you’re done. When you go to YouTube you will see a button under the video you want to download and you can select the file format you want for your downloaded vid (mp4, .mov,.avi, etc.)
iPhone/iPad/iTouch apps for education
Pure awesomeness in a spreadsheet just for mobile Apps for education. Apps are categorized by content area. If you have an apple mobile device (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) and are interested in playing with them in hopes of trying them out in class or with an after-school activity, you will love this link.
Video gaming in education
Ok, this one is a little obscure and I know what you are saying. What kind of geek is into gaming? You are not wrong to be skeptical as I still find myself that way after doing a lot of research on the subject and experimenting with it as a pedagogical tool, but there is a lot of research going on out there about video gaming in education. I do believe we will start seeing more and more of this as we move deeper into the 21st century as we strive to leverage the full power of the web and multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs). I have been playing around with one of these for about the last 5-6 years. I have used it as an after school activity and the kids ate it up. They didn’t even realize they were learning (playing) in a unit that is used for internet safety and digital citizenship. It is called Quest Atlantis and it is out of Indiana University in the U.S.
Here are two TED talks worth watching (each one is 15-20 minutes long). The first one looks at getting boys back into education through gaming. The second features Jane McGonigal from Berkely and her ideas on saving the world through gaming. They are both excellent and will change whatever preconceived notion you have on the subject.
A Collection of informational vids on gaming in education from PBS
Apple Hints/Tips (From the Tek Tok blog)
We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of watching the latest video on YouTube, when the boss comes around. In a situation such as this, you may only have a second to react before you find yourself explaining how the video was actually “important research.” More importantly, it is useful to know these so you know what your students already probably know.
Luckily, OS X has a series of built-in shortcuts to help you out. Many Mac users are familiar with the Command-W (close active window) shortcut, but choosing it in this case would close the incriminating window entirely—causing you to miss out on precious seconds of cuteness.The vast majority of Apple software included with OS X also supports Command-H (hide). This command instantly hides the active window while leaving the application running in the background. Alternatively, users can press Option-Command-H to hide all applications besides the one currently active. This can prove useful if you’ve managed to switch to something important looking like a spreadsheet and need to hide the windows behind it with one command.Finally, applications can also be hidden using the mouse—though it can be a bit slower. Simply move the pointer over the application in the dock that you’d like to hide and click it with Option held down. This command has an identical effect to Command-H and is typically only useful if your hand is already on the mouse.Have a great weekend all.