Thursday, July 23, 2015

Appy Thursday Everyone!

No, that's not a type-o.  It's just me being corny!  I thought I'd share some of my favorite apps on Thursdays.
Today's showcase app is PowToon.  This app is available for Chromebooks and is also on the web at PowToon.com if you'd like to use it on your teacher computer.  Here's an example of a PowToon I created as an example for an All About Me digital interactive notebook my kids will be making at the beginning of the year.  This particular one is about my family, but you can make these about anything! You can make demonstration videos for the kids, or have them make video presentations about a subject or a book.  You could even have them use it to write their own creative writing story.


Here's a longer one I made with voice over.  It's not the greatest sound quality, but you get the picture.
 

The app is free, but of course there are options to upgrade, and some of the really cool characters and graphics are not available in the free version, but there is enough there to keep any kid (or adult) busy!  There's also an educator version, but it's pretty expensive so I steered clear of it for now.  The free version has worked well for me so far.

So, what do you do?  You start by creating an account and then creating a new presentation.  It will first ask if you'd like to choose a template or start with a blank canvas.  Of course, some of the templates are premium, but again, there are plenty of free ones to choose from.  

For this blog, I chose to start with Marker Style.  When you preview the template, it will give you a little 30 second video of the options in the set, but you can add objects from any set into any presentation.  These are more like suggestions...  For the family one I created earlier, I started with a blank canvas and added what I wanted from various collections.  And for the Continent one, I used various collections and imported a TON of my own images.  It's very versatile.
Once you click the "GO" button in the lower right hand corner, your media will load and you'll see a blank canvas.

You'll notice you have many options.  Top center, you see you can add text, sound, image, or video.  Those are more advanced and maybe your kiddos (or you) aren't ready for that yet.  Then keep it simple for today.  Just work from the right side of the page where you see all of the cute little figures.  You can start by scrolling down to the bottom and choosing a background for your slide.  For this one I chose the classroom background.  You may not see it at first, but by each category, there's a little more/less button to the right.  Use that to see more options.

Now the fun begins.  You are going to add elements to your board and decide when and how they will appear in your video.  Let's do a quick example.  Let's add an animated female teacher.  I chose her to be thinking, but there are many options.  Just drag her where you want her to be.

Now scroll down to the bottom of your screen and notice the bar down there!

This bar is important!  The red arrow shows which ever object you have selected (the one you clicked on).  Right now, it has my teacher coming into the video at 8 seconds and leaving at 10 seconds.  I want to change that by dragging the left bar to the left.

Here you'll see I dragged the bar to the left and then clicked on the black arrow for some options.  This is how you want your element to appear.  I'm going to choose Right.  So she'll slide in from the right side of the screen.  And once I select Right, I'm also going to click the Hand at the top.  That means a cool hand will appear and slide her into place.  Do the same thing with the end arrow to select how/when you want your element to leave your video.

Next I'm going to pick some props to put into the slide.  I'll choose each one and do the exact same thing I did for the teacher.  Changing their entrance/exit times and transitions.  I'll add 3.

So I added a computer to come in at 2 seconds, a cup of coffee at 3 seconds, and a smart phone at 4 seconds.  All I'm going to do next is move thinking teacher out at 5 seconds and have happy teacher pop in.


I also used the minus button on the right hand side of the bar to shorten the length of my video.  Next I'm just going to add some letters to the board behind the teacher to come in at 5.5 seconds.  I use the text effects on the right hand side and choose the style I want.

Always go to the top and save.  PowToons does not automatically save for you.  Then I'll go to the top and select the Sound button to add music.

 Again, some are free and some are pay.  I stick to the free.  Click apply when you find one you like, and make sure you check the volume.  I usually turn it down a little.  You can also choose to do a voice over here.

Save again, and then export your video by clicking the Export button on the top right.  And that's it.  You can choose to export it to YouTube or share it on FaceBook.  Here's the simple finished video.

If you have questions, just ask.  I'm not an expert, but I'll try to help!  Have fun at PowToon!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ThingLink



Okay, so I found a fun, new site - kind of like Glogster - not quite as versatile, but quick, easy, and fun.  It's called ThingLink.  The basic premise of this site is to take a picture and add hot spots.  The hot spots can be notes, links, music, or videos.  I used it today to make a quick site for my students to practice continents and oceans.  Afterwards I embedded it into my class website, and now it's ready for them to use.

It's free, with upgraded pay options which I didn't need to use.  Be sure to get the teacher account, not just the general account.  It gives you more options.  This is also a tool the students could use to create their own ThingLinks as a culminating activity to show what they've learned about a topic, such as the Titanic, a country or state, the Underground Railroad, a book they've read, just about anything!

So here's a picture of the one I created today.  Click Here to see it on my website and try it out.  Check out ThingLink and see if it could be helpful for you.