Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Webcams Set Learning On Fire!

There are so many productive things that we can do with a good digital camera in the classroom. Unfortunately, we all don't have class sets of digital cameras to use. I would argue that the lack of digital cameras opens up opportunities that only webcams can provide, and we have we have at least one webcam in every classroom, the teacher laptop webcam.  If we bring in a campus netbook cart, iMac, Manda or Innovation Station, then the possibilities continue to grow.

District webcam-enabled computers all already have some image capture software installed.  Macs: Photobooth, iPad2: Photobooth, netbooks: CyberLink YouCam, Manda pc: AMCap,  Windows laptop: Dell Webcam Central.   Also available on all district computers are your installed apps like ComicLife, iMovie, MovieMaker, and Photoshop which also let you capture images directly into those applications to be edited or used as needed.  (Stay tuned for future post on greenscreening in the classroom!)

Fire effect from
Sometimes, we want a little extra creativity in our photo applications or we can't find the installed applications.  Web2.0 sites come to the rescue again with online webcam image capture sites. There are many out there, but nice ones include:
*  - has special effects
*   - allows you to create your own gallery online and has special effects

Perhaps you are at home and need an installable option right away.  Available for both Mac and Windows, can be downloaded and installed for free.

Webcams can play a nice roll in the classroom. Capture student work, pose students for illustrated stories, videotape oral reports, the list goes on!  Engage students with camera technology and odds are, they will come up with other authentic uses as well.

How do you use cameras in your classroom instruction?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paperslide Videos! Easy Way To Use Tech AND Show Learning!

This was one of my favorite Discovery Educator Network (DEN) sessions that I've attended over my many years teaching. The DEN likes to put teachers in the students' shoes sometimes and making Paperslide videos was a fun activity, engaging activity, only took 20 minutes before we were sharing, and was totally centered around a specific teaching objective.

Paper Slide Video: Solids, Liquids and Gasses from Heather Hurley on Vimeo.

Basically, Paperslide Videos are nothing more than sheets of papers that slide under the view of a recording camera. It's all done in one take, with no editing. It could be a nice way to introduce Powerpoint in that you aren't having students just jam 150 words on to a page, but they must rely on visual literacy to depict the lines from the song or their spoken lecture.  There are no faces or names in the video, so the product could go immediately onto the class blog/wiki to be shared with other students and parents. But best of all, the students are rehearsing and creating the pictures, which means in order to teach the objective, they must learn it first.

Dr. Lodge McCammon, (with the Friday Institute out of NC State University),  brings this to teachers quite frequently and he works extensively with the fine people of Discovery Education. He actually uses Paperslide Videos to explain the concept (the top video) and how to make one.

What can you do with Paperslide Videos? Some teachers use them just to capture a teacher or student-directed lecture video.  That is a great first step through the door, but another very engaging product is to make a Paperslide Video to illustrate a song.  Dr. Lodge has a lot of songs already on Discovery Education (search 'lodge' and media type 'song' to find 45 tunes organized by standard/subject/etc) or visit his other blog.

Check out what Mr. C's class did with "On The Numberline" in one class period with his Austin ISD students.

Lastly, excellent teacher in the DEN, Heather Hurley, shared a Paperslide they did on States of Matter that uses one of Lodge's songs! She used a video-sharing site, Vimeo, to share this with her colleagues and parents.  I embedded this video at the top of this post to catch your attention!

Now, the same songs can also be used in a very kinesthetic environment by having students act out the lyrics instead of drawing them.  While not a Paperslide video, the same concepts apply and the time for the product is still maintained within part of a class period.  Check out how students showed the Order of Operations in this music video.

Create your own Paperslide Videos!!   Leave a comment below with a link to one your class made. We'd love to see it.