Tag Archives: flipped classroom

Animoto Tips and Tricks

3 Nov

AnimotoAnimoto makes you look good…really good. Their simple interface makes creating professional quality slideshows soooooooo easy. If you don’t know about this site, go there now. You can get started making videos of up to 30 seconds in length without paying anything.

Even better, if you’re a teacher, the good folks at Animoto will give you a free, full-access educator’s account that gives you (and your students) six months of full service. When your six months are up, just contact them, and they will keep hooking you up with new codes and more service. Some of the themes and features require a professional account (another paid level), but the choices connected with free educator accounts are vast.

I was recently playing around on my phone and made this video in less than 30 minutes. The mobile app is quite elegant and user friendly. That short video inspired me to offer Animoto to all the grade 10 students at Frankfurt International School.

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Putting It Out There: Take the Time to Publish

5 Dec

commaJust a short anecdote from an English 9 class that gives me a boost and reminds me why it is worth our time to make the extra effort to publish online. I have written before about how I use macros and AutoText to save time when giving feedback on writing. In a recent essay, one of my students was making a chronic comma error, one that I dub The Most Common Comma Error in the World. My AutoText comment to her was, “Remember our quick lesson on the most common comma error in the world? You make it time and time again, but it’s easy to fix.  Hint: the comma in that last sentence is a clue as to what mistake you’re making.” One problem. I never taught her class anything about this topic. Obviously, I thought I had.

Yet, it was not really a problem. She just Googled the phrase “The Most Common Comma Error in the World” and watched the video I had posted on this same topic years earlier. She viewed the video and made her changes.

It was a microscopic moment of flipped teaching, but it was one that reminds why I take the extra effort to share my work online: Continue reading

Little Things Add Up and Other Life Lessons

18 Sep

I begin each week in the classroom with a Life Lesson. These lessons typically last five minutes, but my goal is to share with students some truth I hold dear. This week’s lesson: Little Things Add Up.

A few years ago Steve Bergen, while teaching at the Children’s Storefront School in Harlem, NY, started a Billion Penny Project. The idea began as a math lesson and quickly blossomed into a novel fundraising campaign. CBS picked up the story and ran this piece. I was part of the campaign and even made a brief appearance on national TV. Blink and you will miss me; I am in the red sweater:

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How To Make Video Tutorials For Free

25 Jan

Self-Portrait uploaded to Flickr by Scott Kinmartin

Making professional looking online tutorials does not require any fancy equipment. In fact, anyone can make slick screencasts using Jing and a presentation program such as PowerPoint or Google Presentations. Planning, revision, and aesthetics are far more important than any particular tool.

Here is an example of a recent video I made. After you watch it, I’ll explain how I made it:

The finished product you see is a result of many, many takes. I planned out the presentation ahead of time, and then I messed up…over and over again. The willingness to redo work is perhaps the most important tool.

Getting to the nitty gritty, here is how I created the video:

I hope you find this instruction useful. Better yet, I hope you make your own online tutorials and share the links with me. As you work, you might find the following points useful:

  • Download the free version of Jing first. I used it for years before moving to JingPro (at the whopping price tag of 15 dollars per year)
  • JingPro does allow me to quickly upload videos to YouTube, and I can now quickly save videos in a mp4 format which works with iMovie. (The free version of Jing saves videos in .swf format. Not a tragedy because you can embed Jings easily.)
  • Use a dark background with light lettering. The high contrast looks good.
  • You will need to add an Embed button to the free version of Jing.
  • If you don’t know how to Embed something on your blog, wiki, or website, I show you the basics here.
  • BE PREPARED TO MESS UP, and then just do it over until you get it right. The first video will take you a long time. You’ll get faster.
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