Technology Academy 2012

EM-S ISD Faculty and Staff are invited to the second annual Technology Academy.
June 5-6 @ Hollenstein Career & Technology Center

  • Sign up in Eduphoria today.
  • Don't miss Keynote Speakers Darrell Brown and Dr. Jim Chadwell! (Be sure to sign up for the Opening and Closing sessions too.)
  • Smart phones and mobile devices are welcome, but not required.
  • Door prizes ... really good ones!
See you then ... at the movies!

End of Year Video Projects

As the end of the school year {quickly} approaches, I've been asked by a few teachers about creating a video project that they can share with their students. There are all sorts of video creation applications available these days - some are downloadable applications that run on your computer. Others are online tools. Check out some of my favorites:

Don't forget that you can edit photos with PicMonkey before using them in video projects. 

Animoto - my favorite tool for creating impressive "Music Video" style videos. I've blogged about it before here, if you want more details. You will need to create an account (be sure to get the educator account if you're a teacher - it will allow you to create full-length videos for FREE!). Once you have an account, you just import pictures, import or select music (they have a nice collection of music you can use for FREE), and let it do its thing to create the video. If you don't like it, just remix it. Your students (and parents and coworkers and administrators ...) will be impressed!

PhotoStory 3 for Windows
- it's VERY simple to use. You can import up to 300 pictures (still images, no video), add text/headlines, and select from a wide variety of transitions and custom animations. My favorite feature is the ability to "create" music for your project. Yes, you can import your own music, but you can create your own music in PhotoStory and not have to worry about copyright issues or whether the timing will be right for the number of images, etc. It works all of that out for you! If you are on a district computer (XP operating system), you may already have PhotoStory3 in your programs list. If you do not, have it loaded, you can download it here for free!

MovieMaker - this has been one of my go-to video creation tools for years, but we have experienced glitches from time to time with it. Like PhotoStory3, you can use all sorts of transitions and text/headlines. One big difference is the ability to insert video clips and still images. If you don't already have MovieMaker on your computer, you can download it here.

PowerPoint - yep, I said PowerPoint! Did you know you could import pictures into PowerPoint and create an album in about 12 seconds? Follow the steps in this tutorial from GCF LearnFree.org. You can even save your final project as a move.

Whichever application you choose, your students will enjoy reliving the fun times they've had in your class this year!


Using YouTube Safely

Anyone who's spent any time on YouTube knows that there's some really valuable material out there that can be used effectively in our classrooms.

Anyone who's spent any time on YouTube knows that there's some pretty inappropriate stuff (ads, comments, suggested videos, etc.) out there that should not be a part of our classrooms.

Several tools are available to help clean up all of that "clutter" that is a party of YouTube and allows you use the  videos without fear of what might be coming next. Check out some of these options:

SafeShareTV - Copy/Paste a YouTube link into the field and click "Generate Safe Link". When you click the "Take me to the Safe View" link, your video will open into a new window without any of the extra "stuff" you usually see in YouTube.

ViewPure - Copy/Paste the YouTube link and hit "Create" to open the video into a new, cleaner screen. You can also drag the "Purify" button into your bookmarks toolbar and easily and instantly view a YouTube video in a cleaner environment without having to copy/paste the URL

Want an even simpler option? Simply type the word quiet in front of the "youtube" in the address, and you will see a much cleaner, clutter-free screen.

As always, check with your campus principal before using videos in the classroom. =)

PicMonkey ... My Favorite Online Photo Editor!

I love Photoshop. I use Photoshop almost every day at home. I am willing to pay for Photoshop because I believe it's THAT GOOD.

That being said, I recently stumbled across PicMonkey, which has now become my #1 choice for quick photo editing. To play, just click on any of the sample pictures on their homepage, or click the "Edit your photo" button to browse for your own image. (You can also drag it over to begin editing, but I really find that only helpful to me when I'm using dual screens.)

You will immediately see your tools on the left. "Basic Edits" include tools to crop, rotate, change exposure, adjust colors, sharpen, or resize your image. Don't stop there, click the cutesy little icons on the left to see tons of additional effects and editing tools. They seem to be adding more all the time!

I actually used this totally-embarrassing-departmental-picture of us in PicMonkey to play with many of these tools. If you think it looks odd, imagine what it looked like before all the editing! LOL

When you are finished, hit Save at the bottom and you're done!

Don't get me wrong. I still love Photoshop and will still use it for my crafty-adventures, but I've actually found that I can do simple editing (including adding text) to a picture in PicMonkey in less time that it takes to even open Photoshop. (And it's a WHOLE LOT cheaper since it's FREE!)


Improve Keyboarding Skills with Letter Bubbles

Letter Bubbles is a fun and simple keyboarding game that will help students (and adults!) improve their keyboarding skills. The game is simple - pop the bubbles by typing the characters before they hit the wall. Users choose from Beginner Mode, Classic Mode, and Insane Mode. You do not have to have an account to play or even see your name on the Leaderboards, but if you set one up (and join the Bubble Club), you can keep track of your progress.

Check out Letter Bubbles today!



ClassDojo looks like a promising tool for teachers to help manage and track student behavior (positive and negative) and participation.
  • Teachers can use the classroom computer or any other internet-connected device (smartphone, table, i-device, etc.) 
  • The initial setup looks to be quite easy and there seems to be several ways you can customize it to work for your students in your classroom. 
  • There are some awfully cute little monster and critter icons that can be used for students or you can even upload actual student pictures, which would be a real help to substitute teachers! 
  • You even get to decide which types of behaviors you will track with ClassDojo.
  • Easily print or email behavior reports with a click of a button!
  • Want to get your students excited about participating in class? ClassDojo can be used with your data projector to show instant visual notifications for your students ("Well done Josh! +1 for teamwork!").

This video review shows some of the most helpful features of ClassDojo.

Want to learn more? Head over to ClassDojo and check it out. According to their site, you can sign up now for a FREE account. (I'm not sure how much longer it will be free, so you might want to grab an account now even if you don't want to use it right away.)

Don't forget to check with your campus principal before making significant changes to any behavior plans in your classroom or grade level!


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