Thursday, October 13, 2011

Capture Your Screen Image!

Sometimes, the best way to show a student exactly what to look for on a webpage is to take a screenshot of the part of the page you want them to see.  Or what if you need that long serial number? A screenshot can capture that image for you to use at a later time. Screenshot utilities are built-in to the Windows and Mac OSX platforms and add great functionality.

The Mac operating system has two built-in screenshots. Holding Shift-Command-3 will capture the entire screen and put that file on the desktop. Holding Shift-Command-4 will give you a cross-hair to use to draw a selection square around the shape you wish to keep after hitting the Enter key.

The downside to Mac screenshots is that you have no quick way to change the format of the image from .png to something else. has a video that shows how to change the format to jpg or pdf through a command line entry.  That's workable but can be intimidating.  So, I found another free alternative which does the same thing through a control panel add-on. You can download Deeper and easily install it. When you open it, it lets you change what once was hidden settings for your screenshots. Yes, I said free!

The Windows platform uses the printscreen (PrtScn) key to capture the window into the clipboard.  You can then go to Paint or a word processor and Paste the image into it. While that is easy, you have little control.  Thus enters the Snipping Tool that comes with the Windows operating system.  It will let you select some or all of the screen, save in different formats, and even annotate the image before saving.

Classroom Integration??
Again, this can be a great asset for the classroom teacher!  Capture a news heading and lead photo from a news site and have the students write interesting topic sentences for that image.  There are great web 2.0 sites that build on your instruction through simulation or games. Have the students capture their final score and turn it in for proof of work.  Or how about capturing that weird operating system error when it pops up so that the tech guy gets more than, " doesn't work and got some message."

How would you use the screenshot tools in the classroom?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Capturing YouTube

It's a nice thing, finding a great educational video clip on YouTube.  Using video to explain some educational idea you are teaching in the classroom is great, but modeling a valid use of a video-hosting site like YouTube to students is something the students don't see often.

In AISD, teachers are able to authenticate their way through the firewall and get access to the video. However, depending on the time of day and volume of network traffic, 'having' and 'using' YouTube access can be two different things. Enter

The trick to streaming video in the classroom is, well, not to stream it. Even DiscoveryStreaming will let you download the video clips. YouTube doesn't make it one-click easy, but KeepVid will let you take the URL of the clip, paste it into the URL block, and then download it in a few different formats.  Once downloaded, the video plays quickly without lag because it is already on the computer.

There are a number of ways to accomplish something like this; browser plugins, Safari resource list, etc. How do you use YouTube in the classroom?  What tips do you have that may help others?