let your students get creative with photos at PhotoFunia


PhotoFunia is an online photo editing tool that gives your students a fun filled experience.  You upload any photo and just wait to see the magic. Photfunia automatically identifies the face in the photo and let's you add cool photo effects and create funny face photo montages.

PhotoFunia is free and very easy to use. Just select an effect you like from over 100 different effects, upload your photo, and PhotoFunia will handle the rest for you.

Ypour students will love the chance to get artistic and create their own magazine covers and billboards of themselves and have a great time.

Access PhotoFunia here.





The Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Educators

Welcome to the ultimate guide to YouTube.  Unless you’ve been living under rock throughout the ‘Noughties’ YouTube is quite simply the world’s largest collection of video content and as an educator it is an amazing resource that you SHOULD NOT be without.  I say should because I appreciate that not all teachers can access YouTube at your school for either political or technical reasons.  If this is you then please do not give up on this post as much of the information included will apply to using any similar video service such as the now terrible and ridiculously over advertised teachertube.  

Rally your techies, school board or whoever to get connected to YouTube.  Here is some evidence to support its case as an educational essential.  And if you can’t convince them otherwise you might like to try and avoid your schools internet security through sites like snailplane that are designed to get around firewalls and routers.  Not that I told you this...

If you simply cannot join the YouTube party here is a great list of over 30 alternatives to YouTube for education. 

Why would I use YouTube with my students? YouTube has had a pretty massive overhaul in the last 18 months and now offers HD quality (up to 1080p as of last week.)  and removed the 10 minute time limit for valid content and power users.  Which has essentially turned it from a collection of pixelated blooper and highlight reels into a 24 / 7 video archive full of worthwhile educational content.

Yes, the talking cat and teenage pranks are still there but you will now find full length documentaries, Broadcast Television networks with their own YouTube channels offering news stories and content full of thousands of hours of famous footage that changed the world.  The real beauty of YouTube is that much of its content has been filmed and edited by people who have never picked up a camera before in their life which offers us a whole new perspective on video depending on how we look at it and what we do with it.

Whenever I want to start a new renovation project at home or cook something.  I don’t go to a blog or book anymore.  I hit YouTube because I am a visual learner and I can learn at my own pace in small chunks. Replay and reassess and there is never a shortage of content. (In 2009 YouTube uploaded its 100 Millionth Video)

If I want to teach my students how to use Scratch or Google Sketch up and really don’t know what I am talking about I find an expert on YouTube.  Watch. Do. Discuss & share what you have learnt.  Watch again if necessary.

Below are some YouTube tricks and tools that I think every teacher should know. Teachers in online colleges and universities will be able to assign videos with ease because all classes are done virtually.  Hope you enjoy.

What are YouTube Channels?

When you become a YouTube member, YouTube assigns you a personal channel. The channel has divisions designed to display a short personal description, thumbnails of videos you've uploaded, members to whom you've subscribed, videos from other members you've picked as favorites, lists of members who are your friends and subscribers and a section where other people can comment on your channel.

As a teacher you can create your own YouTube channel to suit your needs.  Create a documentary channel if you are a history teacher.  Create a collection of famous speeches if you teach drama or literacy.  The options are yours to explore.

YouTube EDU: YouTube EDU is a collection of lectures and visual learning resources from over 100 universities globally including Oxford, Yale and M.I.T.  YouTube constructed this mid 2009 after their site became flooded with lectures and tutorials from around the world.  YouTube EDU is not going to do a great deal for the average K – 12 teacher and / or student.  However, if you are studying at university or want to become an expert on a specific topic from some of the planets greatest minds then YouTube EDU has much to offer.

YouTube XL:  IF you have a Media Centre or you access YouTube via your interactive whiteboard then you really should be using YouTube XL.  It removes all of the advertising and has a larger and simplified interface that will allow you to access all content in a far more visually appealing manner on a large screen.

TEFL Clips:  You might want to take a look at TEFL Clips this has over 50 Lesson plans linked to selected Youtube  clips.  Great Stuff and always evolving. Really love to see more of this kind of stuff.

Capturing and Recording YouTube:

There are a few ways to do this and the simplest method would have to be the online options that simply convert your YouTube video URL into a Flash Video File directly from your browser.  The two biggest players in this field are captureYouTube.net which offers to convert the file into a few different video formats or maybe you just want the audio track ripped as an mp3.  Keepvid is another web based downloader that is very reliable but does not offer as many options as capture YouTube. 

However if you really wish to have a brilliant YouTube or any ‘Tube Style’ importer running all of the time that will capture full HD video and convert to a multitude of formats then realplayer basic is what I can strongly recommend.  It is very fast, unobtrusive, allows for multiple downloads at once and has numerous output options.  Remember no matter what you see on the Real site you only need the basic (free) version to access this feature.

Embedding and Incorporating YouTube into your web spaces and digital content.

If you or your students run either a class or personal blog the easiest way to get a YouTube video into the blog is to embed it.  This can be done a number of ways depending upon the blogging platform you are using but essentially you need to copy the embed html code into your blog.  This lengthy process is explained in this video below around a minute. 

Below is a video explaining how to insert YouTube in your next PowerPoint presentation.

If you are not using a program that allows you to embed a clip then you can simply copy the URL which is always located above the embed code on your selected YouTube video page.


Editing YouTube Videos

TubeChop allows you to extract your favorite part from a YouTube video and share it with others. Just search for the video, specify the start and the end time and get the URL of the chopped clip.

Dirpy converts YouTube videos to high quality audio files and then downloads it to your computer. You can specify the start and the end point of the conversion. It also provides a bookmarklet for the purpose.

 Plistube maybe not so educational but it is an awesome web app for the music lover in us all. It lets you create video playlists comprising of YouTube videos of your favourite artists or bands. Hence you don’t need to individually search for them anymore.  Great for a party.



Well that wraps up another Ultimate Guide for Educators.  IF you missed my guides on Google Earth, Garageband, Digital Scrapbooking or Wordle Check them out and be sure to add any YouTube tips and tricks I have missed.


Great Windows Live Movie Maker Tutorial for Beginners

For those of you that missed my review of Microsoft's latest free video editing package I gave it a pretty good rap and highly recommend it.  I still believe it to be the best 'basic' video editing package available not to mention it's totally free as part of the windows live suite. 

It is a great option for editing anything you have filmed in the classroom on your flip camera or similar device and is definitely something you can ask your students and staff mates to have a shot at. 

I came across this great video tutorial from PC Mech and would highly recommend sharing it with anyone who wants to learn the basics of WLMM.  Check it out below and let me know how you go.

Start your own TV Studio at School Series

This year our school has increasingly used film in the classroom to create some pretty impressive and amazing learning experiences that have proven winners with students, staff and parents. 

Film is as easy and cost effective as it has ever been and you should really be looking at film as an excellent platform to support your curriculum program across all year levels if you are not doing so all ready.

This is a a pretty massive area to cover so I am going to cover the areas below with at least one section addressed weekly as a minimum.  Obviouslly I will still be posting regular news and ideas on top of this also.

1:  Start with the end in mind - Linking curriculum to Film Creation.

2:  The Right Tools for the Job - What to buy and what to avoid wasting money on.

3:  Editing, Publishing and Sharing:  How to churn out a film Spielberg would be proud of and sharing it with your intended audience.

4:  The Green Screen:  What can you do with a Green Screen and how to use it.

5:  Going Further:  What are some outlets for your budding film makers and what can they do next.

Stay tuned to this channel - subscribe to our RSS feed if you want to keep updates and if there is anything else you would like to have added or have any feedback I'd love to hear it.