and I'm all out of bubble gum…

One of my responsibilities at Jewish Day School is to write a weekly “tech tips” column for the online faculty news. This is one such tip.

One major challenge that students (of any age) face when learning how to use a new tool is that, when demonstrated, the application seems simple and easy. But now, on one’s own, finding that button or toggle that made everything easy in class is deucedly difficult. There are a number of ways to combat this, ranging from having the teacher physically present every moment that students are completing their first (and maybe second and third) projects to shrugging our collective shoulders and averring that, in fact, the puzzling-it-all-out process builds character and reenforces learning. Pain doesn’t reenforce learning; pain reenforces aversion to learning. Instead, how about providing instructions? Perhaps even instructions in the manner in which they were presented in the classroom, creating a familiar context and voice? A number of teachers have been exploring the possibilities of screencasting — recording what’s happening on your computer — in teaching with technology this year. It’s easy: it only takes a few minutes to record a screencast and post it to the internet, where you have a link to share with students at the end of a lesson.

An example of a quick use of screencasts to reenforce in-class teaching: A quick introduction to iMovie ’09

All these tools have links to screencasts explaining how to use them on their front pages! (How meta is that?)

Further resources: [A colleague] and Seth Battis talk about their experiences screencasting this year on the Laptop Leader pages.

February 12th, 2010

Posted In: "Tech Tips" Column

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In preparation for a class that I’ll be visiting on Monday morning, and because I have found myself explaining these things a bunch of times this year, I have put together a quick series of screencasts that give an introduction to basic video editing in iMovie. I do this not because I think that my students can learn to work in iMovie by following me stuttering and mumbling through a screencast, but because having a visual guide to refer back to after class is helpful.

A quick link to this (and anything else I may have to say about iMovie ’09) is:

You may also be interested in more specific tutorials, and Apple has a bunch posted online. (And you can search for more on YouTube).

The basic sequence of these videos is (and here I’ll link directly to the original Screencast-O-Matic videos, which are slightly higher quality than the YouTube playlist above):

  1. 5 Minute Introduction to iMovie ’09 – This is a lightning fast orientation to very basic video editing in iMovie ’09.
  2. Using Still Images in iMovie ’09 – Importing and editing still images instead of video clips in iMovie ’09.
  3. Adding a Video Transition in iMovie ’09 – How to add transitions between video clips to make our project look more professional.
  4. Adding Titles to a Video in iMovie ’09 – How to add explanatory text (a.k.a. titles) to a video in iMovie ’09.
  5. Adding Audio Track(s) to a Video in iMovie ’09 – How to add music, effect and voiceover soundtracks to a video in iMovie ’09.
  6. Sharing Your iMovie ’09 Masterpiece with Other People – A brief rant about how to export your iMovie ’09 project as a video file that other people can watch.

February 6th, 2010

Posted In: Educational Technology, How To

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