Archives for August 2014

Story Telling with Adobe Voice

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.06.00 PMAttending EdCamps is one of my favorite ways to learn about new apps and Web tools. In June, I attended EdCampOC in Santa Ana, and it was there that I learned about Adobe Voice. We were talking about all the wonderful video creation apps that are available for the iPad, and a fellow teacher mentioned Adobe Voice. Of course, I downloaded it immediately and started to play around with it. Adobe Voice is similar to Animoto in that students can upload photos and add music and text to their videos, but Adobe Voice has some great organizational features built in. Additionally, students record themselves telling their story, which allows them to create and “star” in a video without actually being on camera.

How Does Adobe Voice Work?

Adobe Voice allows students to create rich, attractive videos that follow a specific story line. The story line can be altered, but it provides structure— a story board, if you will— which can be necessary for some students to get started. Adobe Voice also prompts students with questions each time they create a new slide in the video. The app allows for students to access the camera roll so they can use images they’ve taken themselves, or they can use any of the plethora of icons included in the app.

Students will start on the Welcome Page and choose “Create New Story.”

Adobe_Voice_Welcome

Then students will provide a title or an idea to get started. At the bottom of the screen are some ideas that float by, and they are categorized by subject. Tapping on a new subject area changes the ideas the float across the screen.

Adobe_Voice_Ideas

Choosing “Next” takes them to the part of the app where they choose the structure. There are 8 pre-determined structures, or students can choose to “Make Up My Own.” Swiping to the left or right across the structures shows the other structures that are available. These are not the text structures that we have come to know as part of Common Core, such as Compare and Contrast or Problem-Solution. They simply provide a structure for students to help them organize their thoughts.

Adobe_Voice_Structure

Students are then able to choose an icon, add a photo, or write text for the slide. At the bottom of the slide, they will hold the record button to record their voice. They can listen back, and if they don’t like what they’ve said, they can re-record the slide.

Adobe_Voice_Adding_Content

At any time, students can change the layout of the slide.Adobe_Voice_Layout

They can also change the theme of the slideshow, and they can make changes to the background music.

Adobe_Voice_Themes

 

Adobe_Voice_Music

When students are all finished, they choose the Share button in the upper right hand corner of ever page. They will be presented with many options for sharing their video. This is the one problem I have with using Adobe Voice: it doesn’t save to the camera roll, and you can’t upload it to YouTube– and in all honesty, that is a huge drawback of using this app. The video goes to Adobe Creative Cloud, which means students will need to create an account, or the teacher will need to create a shared account. When the video is uploaded to Creative Cloud, it receives its own Webpage free from distracting advertisements. At the bottom of the page where the video can be seen, Adobe Creative Cloud provides an embed code so you can post the videos on your own website if you wish.  **UPDATE! 1/28/2015** Adobe Voice videos can now be saved to the Camera Roll!! 

Common Core Connection

Adobe Voice allows students to create, think critically about story lines, and communicate effectively. Students who are speaking for awhile on any particular slide are encouraged by the app to, “Keep it Short.” Students will therefore need to determine whether they can shorten what they want to say or add a new slide to accommodate the entire story.

The app can definitely be used spontaneously, but it’s best that students prepare what they are going to say ahead of time. As you could clearly hear in my example, I did not do that! When students have the chance to write out their text beforehand and rehearse what they are going to say, the recording will sound much smoother and students will be working toward a greater number of Common Core Standards.

Students can use Adobe Voice to create presentations that will support their understanding of many of the Common Core Standards, including:

 

Anchor Standards for Reading
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9: Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Anchor Standards for Writing
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Anchor Standards for Language
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Adobe Voice in your classroom? What kinds of stories are your students telling?

 

 

ChatterPix Kids: Make Videos of Talking Animals

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 5.12.02 PMAnimals can talk? Really? Well, no, not really. But with ChatterPix Kids, it sure looks like it! We’ve all seen those commercials where there’s a talking baby or a talking animal. If you are anything like me, you’ve thought it was pretty cool but had no idea how it was done, and you figured it was probably pretty complicated. With ChatterPix Kids, not only can you make videos of talking animals in five easy steps, but the youngest students can do it, too!

How Does ChatterPix Kids Work?

1. Start by taking a photo of an object— it can be anything! I created a video of my dog singing a silly song. My son made a talking onion (see the video below!). You can also use a picture that’s already in your camera roll.IMG_0866

Using your finger or a stylus, draw a line where you want the mouth to be. Then press the record button at the bottom of the screen. The app will count down so the students know when to begin speaking, and then it shows a countdown timer from 30 seconds. You can listen to the recording so you know whether you need to re-record it, and when you are satisfied, press the Next button.

IMG_0869

Add some decorations. You can add stickers, a frame, and text to the video. Then press Next.

IMG_0871

When you are all finished, save the video to the Camera Roll. From there, you can upload it to YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, or anywhere else.

From the camera roll, you have total control over how the video is shared. You can “app smash” by using the video in another app, you can upload it to YouTube and share it publicly, or you can just keep it in the camera roll. The video also gets saved in the gallery within the app, so you can come back to it if necessary. ChatterPix Kids does not have a social sharing option because it is specifically made for students who are under the age of 13. If you do want the social sharing option, ChatterPix has an app (called ChatterPix) that will allow you to post to social media sites.

Here’s the onion video that my son made.

Common Core Connection

Along with the Common Core State State Standards, ChatterPix Kids can be used to help students improve their communication skills. They only have 30 seconds to record their voice, which means that they will need to be very succinct and choose their words carefully. This helps them develop vocabulary and it can help with their ability to persuade and choose the strongest argument. Students will be working on any number of the Common Core State Standards for Reading, Writing, Language, or Speaking and Listening when they show what they know using ChatterPix Kids.

Classroom Applications

ChatterPix Kids has potential for many different use in the classroom. In any subject, ChatterPix Kids can be used for students to:

  • Give directions
  • Get directions (the teacher would record the video with the directions and share it with students)
  • Do a brief biography of a historical figure
  • Tell a brief story from the point of view of an inanimate character from a reading passage
  • Take a photo of a character they’ve drawn and bring it to life
  • Draw a self-portrait, take a screen shot of it, and then use it to give an introduction at the beginning of the school year. Doing this helps to protect a student’s identity but still allows them to create video.
  • Provide the rules of a sport from the point of view of the equipment

What Do You Think?

Have you or your students used ChatterPix Kids? How have you used it?

 

Inform Your Teaching with Google Forms

forms-iconIf you are a teacher who has access to technology in the classroom and you aren’t using Google Forms, you really should be! Forms can be used by any teacher who has a Google account, even those who don’t have Google Apps for Education through the school, and they are a fantastic way to gather information from students or parents.  Teachers can collect all sorts of data using forms, including:

  • daily attendance
  • quick exit survey
  • quizzes or tests
  • parent or student contact information
  • signups for volunteer activities
  • walkthroughs
  • evaluations
  • staff surveys
  • reading logs
  • walkthroughs
  • evaluations
  • staff surveys
  • choose your own adventure activities
  • applications for school programs

If you are teaching in a school that has Google Apps for Education, students also have access to Google Forms in Drive, so they can also create their own surveys for class projects.

I recently presented a session at the Ed Tech Team Orange County Summit featuring Google for Education called InFORM Your Teaching with Google Forms. The session was geared toward teachers who are just beginning to use Google Forms, and it was a standing-room-only session with lots of energy. When I present to teachers, I like to include a hands-on aspect to my sessions, and this one was no different. Teachers spent about half the time creating a new form that they can use as the school year begins.

Want to Create a Form?

To get you started, I’ve created a Google Forms Task Challenge. It’s the first in what I hope to be many, but it gives you a starting point to create a share a form. If you do create one, you do not need to share it with me (unless you want to!). The purpose of the Task Challenge is just to give you a starting point. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do or ask in a form, so this is just meant to be a jumping-off point. You are not bound to only do what’s on the challenge. In fact, many of the attendees went above and beyond in creating a form.

Sending Vs. Sharing

Usually when you work in Google Docs, you share your documents rather than send them. Forms are a bit different. You can share them with collaborators and have other teachers add and edit questions on your survey, but when you are ready for respondents to fill out the form, you have a few options:

  • send via email
  • post a link on a website
  • embed in a website
  • make a QR code for quick access

Here is a quick video that shows you a couple of steps in this process. It doesn’t include how to embed in a website, but it does show where you will find the code. It also doesn’t include how to create a QR code.

Common Core Connection

Is there a Common Core Connection here? Sure, there is. Using Google Forms as a teacher will help you assess your students’ progress toward achieving the standards, but if you have students creating forms, it’s even more of a tool to help students meet the standards. Additionally, students are improving their 21st Century Skills when they collaborate to create a form, which can be used for any subject or reason. Asking clear and precise questions, and determining the correct type of question for a specific purpose,  helps students improve their communication and critical thinking skills.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Google Forms with students? What are some suggestions you have for using Google Forms in the classroom?