Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Presentations without PowerPoint: Powtoon

Someone posted an article about tools that can be used to as a means of establishing a presentation. Powtoon was one of the sites listed.  I had to check it out.  I LOVE it.  I have finally found a free site to make really nice, crisp presentations that can be published directly to YouTube, and it's really easy.

I created my free account, which can link to Google+, Facebook or LinkedIn.  You can also use an email account to establish it.  It has you determine if you are a student or a teacher, which I liked.  I established a teacher account, so I am not sure what appears on the student side.  I made a quick thirty second presentation in about five minutes.  It was easy and there were a lot of options available to make a nice slideshow.  It was quick, simple and definitely something I would use again to make some slides for the library.  I can use it for tutorials, new release videos (I use Animoto now, but maybe I can mix it up and use this as an alternative.) I think the kids would enjoy seeing the presentations and would benefit from them.

I have a few teachers at my school who have students do PowerPoint presentations.  I am going to share this option with them because I think the kids will enjoy the many options it has to offer.  I also think the teachers will enjoy seeing the presentations because they are different than the same old same old.  I think the teachers will appreciate its ease of use and the students will be able to figure it out without a lot of help.

This is a very simple, free product for the kids and staff to use.  I hope some of them try it out.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Presentations without PowerPoint: Thinglink

For years, PowerPoint has been the go to program for making presentations, but, there are many other programs out there that can be used to make presentations, Thinglink is one of them. I decided to build a virtual library with Thinglink and identify all of my genre sections and share what sort of materials are there.

A colleague shared that her teachers are using Thinglink to do interactive presentations about Historical events.  Thinglink lets you embed video, text and more images.  It's accessible by a simple click of a button. The educational version, which is free, actually lets teachers establish groups and add students so kids work is within the teacher's channel.  What a fantastic opportunity to change up your presentations.

Imagine this:   A teacher does a PowerPoint to present a specific topic.  On that PowerPoint, there is a video, some text, some images and a timeline.  Wouldn't it be awesome to embed a Thinglink into your website that contains the same information and let students refer to that?  You can even embed a worksheet or a project into the actual image.

I can see Thinglink being used for all sorts of projects- There is so much that can be done with it. The images you see here are the featured links of the day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Presentations without PowerPoint: Piktochart

Part of being a Library Media Specialist is the need for infographics and presentations to share with staff and administration.   I have discovered that piktochart is an awesome way to make really nice infographics and presentations alike.

A colleague of mine made a series of presentations to share with her staff using this program.  They were nice and very user friendly.   It's a fast way to present any form of information.

Because it is an infographic, it could be used also to share data.  It doesn't have to be just a presentation.  There are a few options, presentaboard, an infographic, a report and a banner.

The final look can be shared in presentation mode and share the entire document with a group.  I have seen a few other LMS use this program to make documents to share with the powers that be.
I am going to start using it as a means of sharing data with my staff and my students.  The presentations look really nice and they are so very easy.  I recommend trying it if you need to make an infographic or a presentation.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Presentation without PowerPoint: Haiku Deck

Sometimes, as we teach, we want our kids, or our leaders to create something different than a PowerPoint, just to change things up.   PowerPoints and Google Slides are the old standby, of course, but if there is something else that is free and that makes it look nice and is easy, why not?

I learned from a colleague about Haiku Deck, a free app for iPad and a free account on the web that can be used to make dynamic and beautiful presentations. One of the reasons I like it is because the images you use are within the app and can be used without the risk of violating copyright.  It's also an easy program to introduce to students so they can build dynamic presentations for a class project.

I took about five minutes and build a slide show to use as a sample.  It autosaves and the images within the presentation are gorgeous.  A student or a teacher can create some very dynamic and beautiful presentations.

One thing to note; you cannot import your own images.  You can embed a chart with data but all the images you use come from within the app.  If you are doing a specific presentation, you may not be able to find all of the images you are looking for.   If you are looking for a different way to make a presentation, Haiku Deck is a free way to do so. The images alone are worth a stop to the site.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Simple ways to caption: Camtasia

If you are fortunate enough to have a copy of Camtasia from TechSmith, you can use that to make your videos accessible to all with captioning.  The software is about $300 for a copy, but, it's worth it. I have used it for several video projects and the outcome is very professional.

The people at Techsmith have established excellent tutorials for their product and there is a section devoted to captioning.  It has a speech to text capability, syncing with a script as well as manual caption editing.

Techsmith does have a free trial of the software to see how to use it and if you want to buy it. I encourage you to download it and make a video lesson. Don't forget your captions, they are a very important step to making a video accessible for students who need to read subtitles instead of just listening.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Simple ways to caption: iMovie

I have talked a few times lately about captioning video to make them accessible for all learners.   I am not a Mac user, but, iMovie is built into each Mac computer and it can be used to caption videos.   I saw it done at a conference recently, and it looked fairly simple to do.   Apple has made a whitepaper with directions on how to do this.  You can find one by clicking this link.

I think it is important to remember that all students need to be able to have accessible videos.  Not all students can learn my merely hearing, some need to read that is spoken to them.  Captioning is a simple step that will benefit your students.

iMovie does take a little longer to caption than using YouTube, but, it can be done prior to the upload and be built in directly to the video. One step that is different than editing captions in YouTube is the direct typing of word for word content.   YouTube does find the content for you and you just edit. With iMovie, you will have to type as you listen.  The steps are a little extra, but it is worth it in the end.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Simple ways to caption: Movie Maker

When it comes to accessibility, captioning is by far one of the best ways to make a flipped classroom an accessible classroom to many learners.   Microsoft Movie Maker has the capability of placing captions over video clips to help the visual learner.   I have located a tutorial on Microsoft's website that explains the process of using Movie Maker's title/ credit component. You merely place the credit over the video.  You can see the tutorial here.

I have used Movie Maker often for putting together tutorials for students and staff. It is an easy program to use and the fact that it is free makes it even better. It is available on every PC computer and if it doesn't appear, it can be downloaded to your Windows PC.  It isn't compatible with an IOs system.

There are several good tutorials for Movie Maker in general on YouTube as well.  It's worth looking into.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Simple ways to caption videos: YouTube

I recently went to a training for technology leadership certification and one of the things we talked about for a great amount of time was accessibility for all students. 
I've decided I'm going to take a little bit of time to talk about captioning because that is one of the ways to make things accessible for students.  There are so many teachers flipping their classes, but do they realize that not all kids can follow the aural cues and watch the video along side?   Some of them need to have their videos captioned because they learn better by reading than merely listening. I want to take a little time today to show you how to use YouTube to caption.  I have found this is one of the easiest ways to make it work. 

1. First of all, if you have a video uploaded to YouTube, captioning is simple.  Follow these steps:
1. Open your YouTube video manager where you see the list of YouTube videos.
2. Choose the video you plan to edit and click Subtitles and caption from the Edit pull down menu.
2. 3. Choose English as the original language of the video and it will regenerate a page that has the 4th image on it, When you click the English that has a green dot next to it, you will see a page of text generate.  This is your captioning.   
4.  You need to click the edit button and it will permit you to change the text to what it needs to be.  Sometimes, text is generated that doesn't make perfect sense, but with a few keystrokes, you can change it to make it correct.  Hearing impaired will tell you they need to just get the gist and not the entire context.  Another note:  You may want to add cues that relate to the sounds as well. (applause, music, laughter) as this helps the hearing impaired understand why there is no captioning for a long period of time.
5.  Once you have edited the text that came in, you merely publish it and then you will notice that the video has text the next time it is played.

This is a free service and really doesn't take that long to complete.  You will be able to help many students who learn better from words than audio.  It is a great way to meet the accessibility needs of all students.