Friday, November 30, 2012

DAY 22 - Screencast-o-Matic

Creating a screencast is made simple with   Screencasts are screen recordings that can be used in many ways, such as presenting instructional lessons or demonstrating features of a program or software.  Kahn Academy is well known for the instructional screencasts developed to help students worldwide.    

There are many reasons to use Screencast-o-matic.  First, it is FREE.  Of course there is a paid version that offers other editing features that the free version does not, but I have found the free version adequate for my needs in the classroom.  Second, it is EASY and user friendly. It is awesome that you do not have to set up an account to create a screencast.  However, if you do opt to create an account, Screencast-o-matic will allow you 2 GB of storage space within (sort of like a YouTube channel).  You will need to have Java running, and when prompted, you will need to click on Accept to allow the recording applet to start screencasting.  Third, videos can be up to 15 minutes in length, which is a definite benefit over using other free web-based tools such as Jing that only allows 5 minute videos.   Finally, videos can be saved multiple ways.   They can be saved as a Youtube video, .mp4, .avi, or .flv file. 

To get started, just go to and follow the steps:

1.   Click on “Start Recording.”

  1. When you select the “Start Recording”, a dotted frame will appear.  Open the window you wish to record.  For example, if you want to demonstrate how to use Microsoft Word, you would want to open Microsoft Word.  After opening what you want recorded, you can drag and resize the frame to surround the recording area.  If you do not want to drag and resize, you can select any of the frequently used video dimensions (see image below).

  1. When you are ready to record, choose a microphone by selecting the microphone on the recording tool bar.  To begin recording, select the red button.  You can pause throughout the video as needed by hitting pause button and then the record button to begin recording where the video was stopped previously.  You can also toggle record/pause with ALT-P. 

If you do not like what you recorded, you can restart anytime by selecting the restart button. This will delete the entire recording and allow you to restart.  If you make a mistake while recording, the only editing you can do is to rewind to the point you made your mistake and truncate at that position to begin recording again. There are no other editing options in the FREE version. 

  1. Once finished, select “Done” on the recording tool bar and choose how you would like to save the screencast.  You can publish it as a YouTube video or save it as .mp4, .avi, or .flv file.   When saving it you have the option to adding notes and/or captions. 

Here are few tutorial videos.  Some speak of the features offered in the pro version of Screencast-o-matic.  The pro version is $9 per year.  You may be interested in using the pro version for the editing component, one-hour length time, and saving options.  There are many other screencast tutorials on YouTube.

Screencast-O-Matic DemosThis link contains many different tutorials on selected features of Screencast-O-Matic including creating captions
Since I am flipping my Algebra II classes this year, I create many instructional videos weekly for my students using Screencast-o-matic with ActivInspire.  I have also found within my classroom, there is a need to share different types of tutorials such as how to save a file, create a data spreadsheet with a graph, submit an assignment, or navigate a website.  Screencast-o-matic is an easy way to create an instructional lesson, demonstration, or tutorial for students to view and review.  It is also a neat way for students to record video and audio as they demonstrate the proper procedure to solve a problem on an interactive whiteboard.

Your Challenge:  Create a screencast of your own.  Comment on how you could use this to enhance the learning of your students.  Share any other ideas of how this might be a benefit to you, other educators, or students. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 21- ThingLink

Today's tool is ThingLink, a cool web tool for creating interactive pictures. Basically, ThingLink allows a user to upload a picture and then enhance it by adding various interactive buttons that point to websites, wikipedia articles, Twitter profiles and more. The interactive pic then lives at its own web address and can be shared in various ways including embedding the picture in websites or blogs.

Another great feature is that if you share your ThingLink pic with other, they can leave comments, making the experience more interactive. Here is a basic introduction to ThingLink:

The first time I played with ThingLink, I created this picture:

I could imagine using Thinglink in several ways. First, I could imagine creating interactive pictures that students could explore to learn about a topic. Imagine making a blueprint of Shakespeare's theater interactive, for example. I could share the link with students and ask them to share their impressions with me via the comments feature.

I also like the idea of having students create their own interactive images as a research project. A student could research a city and then could share what they learn about the city by placing links on a map of that city. They could even link other ThingLink images inside the master image.

Add to that the fact that they can basically upload any type of file to a Google Drive and link those files, and you have a very powerful research delivery tool.

Here are a few links to other ideas for using ThingLink in education:

Make Interactive Images on ThingLink Education
44+ Interesting Ways to Use ThingLink in the Classroom

Your Challenge

Play around with ThingLink. Create an interactive image to share with your class or to share in your comment to this post. Then, share how you have used ThingLink in class or how you imagine it could be used.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 20 - Remind 101

“I forgot to study for the test.” 
''I left my field trip permission slip at home.”
“When is the science assignment due?” 
Wouldn’t you love a program to remind students and parents of important dates and assignments via text messages and emails ?  

There is an easy and safe solution.   REMIND 101.

REMIND 101 is a notification program that sends out text and email messages from the teacher. It does not provide conversation interaction.  Teachers create a class in REMIND 101 and the class is assigned a unique code that is used when students and parents sign up for text or email notifications.  

Once they are signed up, students and parents will receive a text message or email from the teacher anytime it's sent to the class.  Teachers log in to REMIND 101 via the web to post a reminder.  Each message is limited to 140 characters.

Student and parent phone numbers are not displayed to the teacher since all subscribers are identified by name only.  Teachers may create up to 10 classes.

REMIND 101 has the ability to schedule messages to be sent at a specific day and time.  

This is a free notification service.

Your challenge:
Share your thoughts on how REMIND 101 could be utilized in your classroom.  How do you currently publicize announcements or assignments?  Have those avenues been successful?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 19 - InfuseLearning

Today's tool is called InfurseLearning. InfuseLearning tools any mobile device into a student response system. You can hear me talk about InfuseLearning on Flipped Learning Podcast #18: Quinn Barreth Flipping Without Video.

What I like:
It's a great tool because it works on any platform. This allows EVSC teachers to use our 1:1 device and give the students with devices in the shop an iPad and never miss a beat. It's very easy to use and can be set up in a matter of minutes and can be used on the fly. However, if you want to put in your class rosters and make it more structured, it does that too.

I also like the variety of questions you can ask. You can do open response, multiple choice, sort/order, ranking, and even draw response.

Here is a quick youtube video I made for my teachers. You can also find this video on my YouTube channel.

How I've used it and seen it used:
I've used it in PD sessions to get audience feedback and I've been in teachers classrooms when they've used it to collect formative assessment data.

What I'd like to see:
I think it'd be cool if I could relinquish control to a student. I just think it'd be neat if a student had a question and could ask it to the class and then have a record of the data from his or her peers' thoughts and ideas.

Your Challenge:

So what do you think? Would you use InfuseLearning in your classroom? Why or why not? If so, how would you use it? What other tools are out there like this one? 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 18- Incredibox

Incredibox is a fun tool you can use to bring a little "wow" to your classroom. Essentially, Incredibox enables the user to create custom beat-box tracks by dragging a variety of musical effects onto as many as seven avatars. Each avatar can be muted and replaced to create even more complex compositions that can then be recorded and shared via social media or email. Future updates will include an iPhone app and the ability to download tracks that you create. This is a highly engaging musical creation tool that gets kids experimenting and sharing with classmates as soon as they logon. Here is the official demo video:

While the applications in a music class might be the most obvious uses for Incredibox, this tool can also be used across the curriculum to add a musical beat to classroom projects. For example, I used Incredibox this semester with my AP literature class. They had just read Andrew Marvell's poem "To His Coy Mistress," and they had some fun writing their own "Pick-Up Line Poetry" and reciting it as a class assignment. This assignment helped to illuminate the connection between poetry and music, and it equipped students of varying musical ability with a highly accomplished, computer generated, musical crew to enhance their performances.

I could imagine all kinds of assignments that might include performance elements that feature the funky beats of the Incredibox gang. At minimum, Incredibox can be used to improve the classic "write a rap" option of any menu for demonstrating mastery. Also, because of its ease of use, it can be used at all grade levels to build compositions for class performances.

Your Challenge
Play around with Incredibox, make your own composition, and if you like it, share it with others in the comments below. Then, share ways that you have used Incredibox in your class or ways that you imagine it could be used to enhance learning.