Laura Brown

Professional Learning Portfolio

Category: Showcase

VideoScribe – The Whiteboard Animation Tool!

VideoScribe is a super great app for creating whiteboard animations. The application allows you to create fun, energetic and animated presentations without the fuss of having to draw on your own. The final product makes it look like you are drawing the illustrations and text – it’s impressive! Every time I’ve created and presented a VideoScribe video, I’m asked “Is that your hand?” – the answer, no! In addition to the simple and effective means to creating an engaging, scribed presentation, the app allows you the option to zoom out, at the completion of the video, and provide the audience with an overview of the story having just been told. This is an added bonus as presentations can essentially double as both video and print based media. This adds an additional challenge for students – What will my presentation look like in print? Will it tell my story without the need for audio or the structured flow of a video?

Here is a short video, created using VideoScribe, that outlines the many benefits of using video as a powerful tool for communication, in particular, the effectiveness of whiteboard style multimedia.

Recently, I have been working with a High School EAL class on a digital storytelling unit. One of the three tasks within this unit, was to develop a persuasive piece, using VideoScribe, on a current political issue, from an English speaking country. The planning process was significant in that, not only did students need to storyboard their persuasive argument, they also needed to consider how they would use the app to effectively convey their message. This included:

  • the selection of appropriate images and key words
  • the right balance of images vs. text
  • a clear and concise script for the voice over
  • selection of an audio track that would assist in conveying the message
  • the visual layout of the information (text and images) at the completion of the video (zoomed out view)

Wumian from Grade 9, choose to research and present his persuasive piece on the current debate in Australia: Should the date of Australia Day be changed?  This is his presentation:

This is another example of VideoScribe being used in the classroom. This time, a Grade 8 student explains the Syrian Revolution. Emily (Grade 8) says “The bloody Syrian Revolution is still going on and people to this day are dying. We think that not a lot people know about this subject, which is why we made this video.”

VideoScribe is now available on the iPads in the Middle and High School and will soon be available on the ES iPads. If you’re keen to offer this app as an alternative option for video creation, or perhaps use this app to create your own flipped learning content, let me know you need any assistance. The VideoScribe website offers a series of tutorials to help get you started. These include adding text and images, change draw and pause times, adding audio and soundtrack files, and publishing and sharing your scribe. I encourage you to give it a go!

iPad Tools for Creative Teaching & Learning

Yesterday (Jan 17th, 2018) I lead a TTT (Teachers Teaching Teachers) for staff, from PreK-12, on iPad Tools for Creative Teaching and Learning. The purpose of the TTT was to introduce teachers to three apps that are now available on our (brand new!) iPad Pro 2 class set in the library. The apps will soon be available for Elementary classes which is why teachers from across the school were invited to attend (and are encouraged to continue reading if you happen to be an Elementary teacher!).

The apps covered in yesterday’s TTT were Explain Everything, Stick Around and Apple Clips.

Explain Everything is an awesome tool for creating instructional and explanatory videos using visuals, annotations and narration. I’ve used this app in the past for blended or flipped learning, providing feedback to students and most often, for students to showcase their understanding and share with their peers. I’m currently working with Monique Cover and her EAL class for a digital storytelling unit. Then first project, in a series of three, has students developing an instructional, informative style tutorial using, you guessed it, Explain Everything. Students are required to develop a tutorial on a topic covered in either Science or Social Studies from last semester. Students will seek feedback from their teachers and make improvements before the final export. The idea is, students will “present” their completed tutorial to their teacher for use in future years. I’m also hoping that they will see what these students have been able to create and ask the question: “How do I do this with all of my students?”

Here is an example of an Explain Everything video created by on of my Grade 7 Science students from Caulfield Grammar School: Scout Squire.

The second app we looked at was Stick Around. Stick Around allows users to create puzzles using drawing tools and/or photos and add stickers with text, images, sound, arrows and/or drawing. Teachers could create puzzles for students (great for formative and timely feedback) or alternatively, students can create puzzles to communicate their understanding and share with their peers. Ideally, if students were creating the puzzle, you’d have a range of topics, so that on completion, all students can benefit from the creations. I’ve managed to set up a folder on the server which will store all Stick Arounds created. This allows them to be downloaded, once published and shared by the creator, by anyone with the Stick Around app. The only downside that I’ve picked up on, is that the puzzles can only be viewed (and played) through the Stick Around app. The files can be shared without a problem, but opening the puzzle is limited. The following video is an example of what a puzzle looks like to play.

The creation of the puzzle itself is surprisingly easy. I was pleased that two Kindergarten teachers that attended my TTT, Sally and Elizabeth, both expressed possible applications for their classrooms. They were also confident that their students, with minimal assistance, would be able to manage the intricacies of the app. This app is not only a great tool for labelling diagrams like in the planet example above, it’s also great for having students complete Venn diagrams, quadrants, tables etc. There are a number of templates that are built into the app which make creation of puzzles even more straightforward forward and accessible. The general steps involved in the creation are:

  • Design a background or select a template to use
  • Create the stickers – these can consists of images, video, weblink and even audio which is great for the littlies.
  • Set the answer scheme.
  • Publish and share the puzzle!

There are some fantastic resources out there to support this product. This is a thorough user guide and see this URL for a range of really great tutorial videos. I love this app!

The third app we looked at was the new Apple Clips . This is a quick and easy way to create and share fun videos with text, effects, images, stickers and more. There are so many ways that a tool like this could be used in the classroom: explaining a topic, givingformative feedback, examination and explanation of photos or diagrams, explaining the steps in a process, public service announcement or commercial, to name a few. Check out this awesome site that showcases 5 ways to use this app in the classroom and is well worth a look. Essentially, a video comprises of clips and each clip can be edited differently. For example, on clip might include a voice to text option. Another, might use a photo or video from the photo library. To work Clips you must press and hold the red record button. You can also hold the record button and swipe left to lock the record.  A lock symbol will appear.  This is useful for complicated or longer shots. From there you can add:

  •  Live titles – to create these, a voice to text option is available of which I’m impressed with it’s accuracy.
  • Add filters like comic book or ink, stickers and emoji
  • Add overlays – this could be useful for labelling or drawing attention to a particular element
  • Export your video and save to your photo stream

Here is an example of a short movie I made using Apple Clips.

As you can see, Explain Everything, Stick Around and Apple Clips are some pretty awesome ways to create and share authentic learning.  Although you may not feel completely comfortable in using an iPad in your classroom,  Ed Tech is here to provide you the necessary support to take up learning opportunities, like these, for your students. Please send me an email if you’d like to chat further, or even better, if you’re keen to start using one of these apps.

Virtual & Augmented Reality

The immersive nature of virtual reality brings depth to educational content by engaging the senses and allowing exploration to a degree that would be difficult to duplicate within the confines of a classroom, making it an ideal catalyst for curiosity and true learning. So what is VR and how does it work?

On Thursday 16th of November, I ran a TTT on virtual and augmented reality. We started by engaging teachers in a Google Expedition of the Great Barrier Reef. Google Expeditions is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space! There are currently over 700 expeditions available free for use. I have since found this incredible resource which documents details of all currently available expeditions. It is updated regularly and includes links to lesson plans created by teachers around the world. For those of you interested in running an Expedition in your class, browse this resource and then touch base with me about the expedition you are looking to run. Alternatively, provide me with a brief outline of your unit and I’ll do the research for you. We have 20 VR headsets for use – students will need to use their own phone with Google Expeditions app installed.

Last week I assisted Brian Germain in running two expeditions in his High School Psychology class. The theme was the nervous system so we began with a VR tour of the brain stem, limbic system, cerebrum and cerebellum, a neutron and synaptic transmission. What I enjoyed most, was the second expedition, to Everest, where Brian asked students a series of thought provoking questions, which has them thinking about the science they’d just explored. e.g. standing in the cold at base camp, what part of the brain is responsible for…? What a great way to make content meaningful.

There are so many great VR apps out there – Discovery VR, Sites in VR, New York Times VR and YouTube 360 just to name a few. There are also some excellent iOS apps for VR purposes.

During the TTT we also spent some time looking at augmented reality (AR). AR is the layering of virtual information over the physical world, or reality, using software and devices. Take a look at this Ikea Concept Kitchen to see AR in action!

One of the most impressive educational apps I came across when looking for AR content was Quiver Education. Essentially, students are provided with one of the colouring in sheets and then, using the app, bring their work to life. The Quiver app is free, however, the Quiver Education app (which is now available on the MS/HS Library iPads) does cost. Quiver Education provides the same magical augmented reality coloring experience, but with a greater focus on educational content than the awesome Quiver App. During the TTT, teachers attempted an AR quiz using a plant cell, explored the habitat of the Kiwi bird though sound and watched as a volcano erupted in front of their eyes!

If you are interested in introducing some AR or VR material into your classroom, don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the Ed Tech team!

Laura

 

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