Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How To Make a Baby--and you thought you knew...

More creative and "easy" things to do with stop motion video (or still images, in the first case). It takes the first one a while to load.

You'll find his explanation of how he created the video here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good is Great!

While digging around for video-clips for my Film Studies class next semester, I ran across the GOOD Magazine channel on Youtube, which ultimately lead to their online magazine.

A "collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward," Good Magazine provides articles, interactive infographics, videos and more on a broad variety of topics. The few I've looked at ranged from videos on the high cost of cheap food and the western bias against Al-Jazeera English to this disturbing infographic on the worst/best tapwater in the U.S.

These are all wonderfully visual tools to engage students in thinking outside the mainstream media box, and well worth the time spent perusing them to find material useful to your own particular curriculum.

For your enjoyment, view this excellent parody of Cool Hand Luke (made for Water Day) that I plan to use with my Film Studies students. (Link is to the original)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Final Cut Exptress 4 Tutorial

It never rains, but it pours, eh? I go weeks without posting, then post five times in two days.

I'm forcing myself to learn Final Cut Express as I definitely need to upgrade from iMovie. It's not an inherently intuitive program, however. Videographer Izzy Hyman has put together a good, basic video tutorial that you can access/download here.

If you do much at all with video editing, it's well worth exploring his site for tips on other aspects of video editing. Some of the video podcasts you can only view with a membership, but some are available for free viewing.

History sites, primary style.

These are actually a couple of sites students asked me about. The 8th graders are doing their 1920's research paper. One thing I love about the WWW is that no matter HOW many hours you spend dredging for pathfinder sites, there's always something else interesting and valuable.

Our Documents is a national history competition based around 100 key documents from the National Archives. The link is to their collection of documents, which are downloadable. You'll also find a 74 page booklet with teaching ideas here. The entire site is a joint project of National History Day, the National Archives and the USA Freedom Corp.

As a Tacoma native (and Seattle's close enough), I found the Seattle General Strike Project fascinating. Washington State has always been a strange mixture of xenophobic conservatives and left-wing radicals. This site documents the Seattle Labor Strike, the first labor action in the country to be declared a general strike.

The multimedia site includes images, video, oral histories and images of actual headlines/documents related to the strike.

The above picture is from the Webster & Stevens Collection, Museum of History and Industry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Little Birdie Told Me...

For those of us who are not only art challenged, but art disabled, but who love telling stories, Storybird could be the answer.

A collaborative storytelling tool, the site features artwork by honest-to-gosh artists that you can use to create your own storybook. It's somewhat limited in where you can place art and text, but this is version 1.0, and I assume it will grow increasingly feature rich as the site develops.

I've embedded my playing around tale Iit's not showing up fully, but you'll get the idea), and I'm thinking of working on a story with my 12 year old niece, who lives in Oregon.

While it's obviously preferable for students to do their own art, face it. For some of us, stick figures are a challenge. This could also be good for foreign language classes and voculabary development.

It might also be a creative way to promote your library--creating quick stories about upcoming events and embedding them on the library or school website.

Sitting in the Catbird Seat by jerihurd on Storybird

EZ (and free!) Pre-Production with Celtx

I'm working on re-vamping my Film Studies class (again) for next semester. I'm going more production-oriented this year, and less focus on the academic analysis. The class is filled with spring-semester seniors who've already been accepted to college. You can imagine how academically oriented they are.

While digging around online, I ran across Celtx, a free tool that integrates the various stages of pre-production into one downloadable application. Whether they're putting together a pitch, writing a script or storyboarding, Celtx provides the appropriate tools.

Here's a link to their overview tutorial, which isn't embeddable for some reason.

I'll let the tutorial explain the various functions. I'm definitely going to use this with my film class. Storyboarding is always an agony for them, and this might give them incentive--I love the way it connects their script with the storyboard.

You do need to purchase the extra clip art set to be able to use the sketchpad for storyboarding, but it's only $5. My biggest gripe is it's somewhat limited in its representation of various camera angles, but there's not really a good online storyboarding tool that I've ever seen.

It does allow students to upload storyboard sketches, once they're scanned, but I can't imagine my students taking the time to do that. If you run a more intense film class than my one semseter class (say the 2-year IB film class), that would be a more usable option.

It's probably best at formatting the various types of scripts, and syncing with the various elements of casting, props, etc. Basically, it helps students organize the vast universe that is pre-production.

I doubt I'd use it with middle-schoolers, but it's a good tool for older students.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Me and Genghis Khan

I'm probably out of my mind, but I accepted a position at the international school in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for next year. Doing pretty much what I do here--library and technology. So, dear reader, this posts shall be coming, quite literally, from the wild of Mongolia!


I am THRILLED to death! I put in a proposal to present a full-day workshop at ISTE this year on documentaries. Just found out it was accepted!! I'm doing a Snoopy dance here!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

14 Ways...

Joyce Valenza published an excellent article on the Tech and Learning site in September.

In it, she describes 14 tools or techniques we could/should all be using to help students and faculty. You'll probably find that you're already doing much of it. (I patted myself on the back for being ahead of Joyce on creating a primary source search engine using Google Custom Search. But it's the ONLY thing I'm ahead of her on!)

I also came away with some great ideas for updating my pathfinders into a more 21st century style.

Move Over Pixar...

You might be interested in checking out this webinar at ISTE: Promoting your library with easy animations

It uses XtraNormal, a text to movie online app that's pretty interesting. I just discovered it a few weeks ago, but haven't had time to play with it yet, so I'm looking forward to the webinar for ideas on how to use it.

See you there!