A Brilliant Portal for Budding Filmmakers

ACMI - or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image has just created a new portal for teachers and students to learn about and find resources about film making. 

Generator has downloadable audio and video that you can use in your own video production - a stroyboard generator to help get your ideas froim paper to silver screen and loads of tutorials and expert advice from accomplished film makers from around the world.

The royalty free video and audio is great enough on it's own but if you teach media there is also a whole collection of resources that show you how to incorporate film into your classroom. 

Check out GENERATOR here.

New Garageband Killer uJam is the best web app of 2011

Ujam is without a doubt the best free app I have seen pop on the web in the last 12 - 18 months and it is a really fresh and unique piece of software that is going to blow your students minds.  Essentially uJam let's anyone create a professional piece of music in minutes by simply singing.  No instruments required. ( You must see the video below to believe it.)

Next, the user can edit the style of their music. There are many to choose from and each allows the user to produce something that sounds exactly the way they want it to. After polishing their personal music creation, the user can share it with others. It can be sent privately to a select group of friends or family members or shared with a larger group of fans.

It has some big names behind it including Han's Zimmer and Pharrell and is currently totally free but I get the feeling that may not last.  You really need to take a look at the videos below to get an idea of how this amazing app works but I can definitely see this up there with facebook and myspace as internet phenomoenons for teenagers and aspiring stars by the end of the year.

Just about everything Ujam can do is unique. The application guides musicians of all levels to building their own music. Style settings allow users to produce a piece they can be proud of and would want to listen to.

Check it out here.

I'd love to hear your songs and thoughts on uJam

Show your students how old Spice won the Internet

About six month's ago the reputation of 'Old Spice' literally stunk with today's kids as they associated grandpa's, woolen cardigans and old wooden ships with the age old aftershave.  The company realised they were in desperate need of a make over to compete with the David Beckham, Roger Federer and shameless sex appeal of their competitors. 

What they came up with was one of the most successful viral video campaigns of all time that has now grown a life of it's own with thousands of DIY 'Old Spice' popping up daily.

This great article explains how Procter & Gamble 'Old Spice's' Parent company used the web to create the world's biggest video phenomenon of 2010 and is a great discussion piece to have with teenage students as it discusses issues of social media and community lead promotion.  Much of which is being done by teenagers.  Check it out here.

Create an animal conservation Mashup video online - Great Student task

The Conservation Mashups project is targeted at students from years 5 to 10. This tool offers students the opportunity to explore the complex issue of palm oil and its threat to wildlife and to take creative action to help save animals from extinction.

Students access a collection of video clips and images and use an online edit tool to 'mash up' their own video to support the 'Don't Palm Us Off' campaign. They can then share their video through a range of social media platforms and on our own gallery. To find out more about the 'Don't Palm Us Off' campaign visit www.zoo.org.au/palmoil.

Soungle - The Google of Royalty free Sound Effects

Soungle has over 100,000 royalty free sound effects for your students to download and use in multimedia projects.  No need to register and extremely teacher and student friendly.  Check it out here.

See a video story from 6 perspectives on YOUCUBE

YouCube is one of these extremely useless tools you come across on the web until of course you find a use for it. And today I did.  We were looking at music videos over time and how they have changed from the 60's through to 2010 and YouCube was the perfect tool for kids to see how video clips have changed with a 6 faced comparison.  I am sure you can find a use for it too but it is just a bit of fun nonetheless.  Check it out here.

Detailed Lesson Plans to accompany hundreds of films.

Awesome Stories contains a great deal of educational content related to all areas of the curriculum and is definitely worth a browse to find something that floats your boat. 

What impressed me about Awesome Stories was the lesson plan section which had detailed and insightful lesson plans on hundreds of films.  These are great resources for those interested in visual literacies and films are added frequently for all age groups and audiences.  Here is a look at Inglorious Basterds.

Next tme you intend to watch a film with your students be sure to check out awesome stories.

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.