Last week WeVideo announced that they will now provide users with the ability to export audio-only projects, essentially allowing students to create their own digital radio shows or “podcasts.”
(NOTE: This option is not available under the “free version” of WeVideo, but is included with any WeVideo plan.)
Why is it important?
Giving student the choice to create movies to demonstrate their understanding provides for so much potential, creativity, and fun, but at the same time can eat up a lot of class time to allow them to produce a quality product. Creating a podcast can be done in less time because there are no visuals to worry about, and at the same time because there are no visuals students need to pay more attention to the quality of their content to ensure it communicates their knowledge and comprehension of the material.
How it works
When a project is ready to be rendered, click the FINISH menu option at the top of the WeVideo editor.
On the FINISH page, next to “Export” you will now see two options: Video with audio and Audio only. Audio only will export the project as a .mp3 file.
You can export prior projects that contain visual components as audio only files. This could be an interesting test to see how well the audio components alone work to support the project’s message, or show how powerful using appropriate visuals can be to the telling of a story.
What could be better than having someone read a story to you? How about having that someone be an astronaut who reads a story to you FROM SPACE?! Enter Story Time From Space.
Story Time From Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, and contains over a dozen different videos of astronauts aboard the International Space Station reading space-themed children’s books. Each video starts out with a quick introduction to a part of the International Space Station, such as the all important airlock door and the cupola “window observatory” module. Then, as the story begins the videos cut back and forth between the astronaut reader and the book illustrations with a little animation thrown in for fun.
Each video comes with the following information:
Scrolling down the page will provide you with a written synopsis of the story. There is also room for multiple Activity Guides that are “coming soon!” Finally, almost all of the Story Time videos include links to purchase the books from a variety of vendors.
In addition, the foundation is in the process of putting together a playlist of “Science Time Videos.” These will introduce basic scientific concepts that are connected to some of the science experiments that the astronauts have conducted about the International Space Station, so stay tuned!
Recently I did a tutorial series on using WeVideo in the classroom and specifically with student Chromebooks. While some of the topics discuss tools that are only available under an education license, many of the tutorials apply equally to the free version of WeVideo. Now WeVideo has released a toolkit to help teachers and students turn this web-based tool into a powerful digital storytelling vehicle, and it’s completely FREE!
First up in the Digital Storytelling Toolkit are several graphic organizer templates to help students organize their thoughts and ideas for digital storytelling, how-to video tutorials, and basic video storyboarding.
Next in the toolkit are Examples for how to integrate digital storytelling into your classroom that includes public service announcements, big ideas inside of little moments, and news casting.
Finally, check out their Reflection prompts to help students deepen their understanding and evaluation Rubrics to give students meaningful feedback.
For more information, check out the video below from WeVideo/Chief Education Officer Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad and their website.
Spotlight Stories uses the power of 360-degree camera technology to take storytelling to a whole new level. Here the user controls where to direct their attention, just as if they were actually there and experiencing the story themselves. Because you don’t necessarily know where in this 360-degree world the next scene in the story is going to take place, these stories have a much larger replay value over fixed-perspective storytelling.
There are several ways that you can experience Spotlight Stories:
1. YouTube on the web: Navigate to the Google Spotlight Stories channel and access a handful of 360-degree stories, story trailers, and behind-the-scenes clips. Look for the directional compass icon in the top-left corner of the YouTube player window to identify that the video supports the 360-degree technology, then use your mouse to drag on the video pane and change your perspective.
360 Google Spotlight Story: HELP
2. YouTube mobile app: In order to fully take advantage of the 360-degree technology experience, use a mobile device and the YouTube app to immerse yourself in these virtual environments. Note that there is the additional option to enable Google Cardboard and add 3D to the storytelling experience. [YouTube for iOS | Android]
360 Google Spotlight Story: Pearl
3. Spotlight Stories mobile app: Download the free Spotlight Stories app and experience where storytelling and mobile VR meet. Here you will find their complete library of interactive storytelling videos, with more to be released soon.
AddText – Captions for your photos, quick and easy
Have you ever wanted to enhance a photo with some informative text or maybe a witty catchphrase? Perhaps you realize that that selfie needs a bit of explaining before it gets posted? Now you can and without having to download an app. AddText makes it easy to add captions to any photo for free!
To start, select a photo from the web, your device, or from the site’s own photo gallery samples (if you are using a mobile device, then you can take a snapshot and upload it on the spot). Then, enter you text in the box provided. Additional tools include text style, color, size, and location on the photo. When your work is complete, click on the ‘Next’ button to download your photo or share it via URL or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+).
NOTE: To remove the AddText watermark, you can purchase a premium membership.
Enhance photos for your bulletin boards or other displays with custom text.
Use as an icebreaker with students by having them upload photos that represent their interests and then adding text describing an event that relates to it.
Have students select an image from a historical event and add a relevant quote.
Take images used to help students find a creative writing topic and add text to provide additional information OR to create an added layer of mystery.
New episodes are released each week and are accompanied with a written summary, list of references, and links to additional content. Search the archive for past episodes and use their tag list to find episodes based on specific topics such as Math, Chemistry, STEAM, and more. Scroll down to the bottom of any page to subscribe to the podcast via email, or sign-up using iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.
Assign episodes for homework and have students reflect the next day in class or online using a discussion forum such as Padlet or blog like Google’s Blogger or WordPress.
Provided thanks to the non-profit group Internet Archive, the Television Archive contains over 909,000 video clips from news agencies in the United States and Great Britain. Search the database based on keyword and/or filter your results by number of views, title, date archived, or creator. Use the topic cloud down the right-side of the page to look up video clips from specific news agencies such as the BBC News, Mad Money, Frontline, Teen Kids News and more.
Once you make a selection, a film strip-like interface will load breaking down the video clip into 1-minute segments. Each segment will start out playing in a smaller window but can be expanded to play full screen. Many of the video clips also support closed captioning. Video segments can be shared via social media or embedded onto your website.
This YouTube channel contains 100 different videos based on classical pieces of music and set to an animated graphical display. Different shapes and colors come alive as the music plays, and no two videos are alike! Musical pieces from famous composers like Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and others can be found here.
Use this site to help calm the mind as students transition from one activity to another.
Have students listen to a musical piece first and reflect on what they “see” before showing them what Music Animation Machine came up with.
From part of the Google News app, the newspaper archives contains digital versions of various newspaper editions from around the world from various points in time. Search the archive by keyword or alphabetically, or if you know the specific newspaper by name use the ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F or Cmd+F) to quickly locate the newspaper in question. Each newspaper listing shows the number of issues contained within and the time span covered (note that there may be gaps within the timelines).
Clicking on a newspaper will take you to a new window with a horizontal timeline organized by year. You can adjust the display settings so that the timeline is organized by day, week, month, year, or decade. At the top of each column you will see the number of available issues. Clicking on an issue will bring up a page-by-page view with options to scroll, fit to height, and view fullscreen. Use the ‘Link to Article’ tool to generate a link to a specific article within a specific newspaper issue.
Compare and contrast news headlines from different newspapers from different places around the world.
Compare writing styles from different time periods.
Videos are organized into topic categories including Business, Technology, Food, and more. The site also has videos organized by user-submitted topics such as Game Design, How It’s Made, Nature, and Spanish. Each video comes with tools to share on social media or get a direct link to the video. Sign-up is free but not required to use the site, although an account does allow you to star favorite videos for later.
Use these videos to spark class discussions or as writing prompts to open students to new possibilities.