Nutshell – short, sweet and succinct!

NutshellNutshell is a new release from the people behind Prezi. Using the iOS app you can take create a short movie sequence by taking three photographs in succession and then overlaying text and graphics. The basics are summarised in this “Introducing Nutshell” video

I need to play around with this a little more and it depends on students having access to digital devices but it could be useful for encouraging students to create short little discussion point clips perhaps about their local area or even short little revision clips for a key concept or case study reminder. Or even to quickly summarise what they have learnt in the lesson! Anyway – I’m looking forward to having a play!

Emaze – an alternative to PowerPoint?

emaze_logoEmaze looks like a potentially useful tool which can be put to good use in education, whether it is for students to create online presentations for homework or assessment purposes, or for teachers that want to create a presentation with a different look to PowerPoint with stunning visual effects for added impact, either in the classroom, or for creating CPD presentations for training purposes.

Emaze is also said to have  animation facilities which surpass those available on Powerpoint. It is a cloud based technology so you can access your presentations from anywhere. Another benefit is that it is multi-device so that it can be viewed and edited on PCs/ tablets / smartphones etc. There are also ready made templates and slides which can be easily edited.

Whilst Emaze wont replace my use of PowerPoint and SMART notebook in my teaching I can certainly see the benefit of having another tool in the toolkit when wanting to make a particular impact with a presentation, for example I am quite keen to try it out for creating an options presentation for KS3 into KS4 with a different look to the standard PowerPoint overload. With more and more students making use of digital media to present homework tasks I can also see some of them putting the free Emaze account to good use. There is also a presentation template designed specifically for education.

Whilst there is free account option there are premium plans for those that want to do more, including a special education plan at a reduced rate which includes all the features of their premium plan. With the pro version there are additional options, including creating video presentations which can be shared on blogs etc.

Here is a useful Emaze demonstration which gives an overview of what it offers…

Embedding YouTube Clips straight in SMART notebook

Embedding Youtube

I have just been playing around with a very handy little widget for embedding YouTube clips straight into Notebook. It plays from the internet so still requires internet access but it is very handy having the video embedded straight into the page and although I have only tried a couple it seems to work very well. You can download the widget from Smart Exchange here and Danny Nicholson has given a quick and easy to follow tutorial of how to install the widget on his excellent Whiteboard Blog.

Stop Motion Animations – MonkeyJam

A colleague has asked me to help with some ideas for how to carry out stop motion animation that they wish to get their students involved in and this has made me pause to evaluate the options with regards to stop motion animation. I firstly remembered the useful video below which I blogged about back in 2010.

We have used stop-motion animation in the Geography Department for a couple of years to encourage students to apply knowledge and understanding in the formation and development of coastal landforms and also in documenting the processes and features created at different plate boundaries in the study of plate tectonics. We have used plasticine for students to create and manipulate models and used flip cams to record stills which have then been stitched together in moviemaker. The results have been variable, there have been some great films produced, whilst others have been less successful. The method we have used in the past has been quite time consuming which has meant that some have been started and not finished, some have also been quite ‘stop start’ and lack the smooth look of some animations. I am therefore keen to look at how we can rationalise the process and what other software could be used. I am therefore going to have a look at MonkeyJam, a free stop-motion animation programme.

There are a number of basic tutorials available on YouTube for how to use MonkeyJam (see below) and by all accounts it seems very user friendly.

MonkeyJam seems to work well with a web cam as shown in the video, however this tutorial video from the BBC show how to use a digital camera and simply then import the images into Monkeyjam to carry out 2D animation; the beauty of the webcam however is the ability to capture straight into the Monkeyjam software.

There are some great examples of stop-motion animations on YouTube using lego figures – for example this short one on Free Running

I am looking forward to seeing what our students might be able to produce!

New Research from O2 Learn – “Too little too late – school pupils fall short of teachers’ revision advice”

O2 Learn (www.o2learn.co.uk) is an innovative education initiative designed to celebrate the UK’s finest teaching and create a lasting learning resource that can help young people achieve their ambitions. Teachers are encouraged to upload and share videos of their best lessons on the e-learning hub. The ambition is to build Britain’s biggest classroom online, giving young people everywhere, from all backgrounds, access to inspiring teaching.

O2 Learn has conducted three surveys with parents, pupils and teachers about revision patterns and also some desk research into revision best practice, memory and learning styles. Some of the main findings include:

– Students generally are falling short of teachers recommended time spent on revision.  The teachers surveyed, suggested starting on average six weeks in advance and studying on average 8 hours per week (7.7) totalling 46.2 hours. This is 7 hours more than is currently being achieved by students.

– Parents play a far greater role in their children’s revision today with well over three quarters of parents (86%) actively involved. This compares with more than half of adults (58%) who had no involvement at all from their parents in their revision.

– Teachers receive very little formal guidance in relation to how to support students with revision.

Young people are developing different learning styles from previous generations due to a greater use of technology. Despite this, just one in three (32%) young people use online study guides and only one in ten (12%) is turning to online video to support their study.

– Teachers also identified a number of benefits that resources such as online videos and video clips deliver including:

  • The ability to watch them more than once (82%)
  • Seeing things being explained (68%)
  • Being able to pause, rewind, fast forward (68%)
  • The fact that they’re free (59%)

– Video resources, such as O2 Learn, that combine verbal and visual information could be ideally suited to young peoples’ learning styles. Research suggests that multisensory learning brings particular advantages for memory.

Experts believe that the parental support that students receive now needs to be matched by adopting a more varied mix of revision methods to be truly effective.

Sir Mark Grundy, the Executive Principal of Shireland Collegiate Academy, said: “There has been research for a number of years highlighting how people learn in a multi-faceted way.  The multiple intelligences models have existed for some time, but the resources to support this blend of styles have not been available – until now!
“In the last few years Learning Platforms have evolved and are now capable of acting as the glue to stick resources together and as importantly to present them at precisely the right time.  Most students need a framework to support their revision and resources which present the same ideas in many different ways.
“By putting the O2Learn resources in your learning platform and delivering them to students this has to help our students to achieve at higher levels.”

Gav Thompson, creator of O2 Learn, said: “As we reach the heart of the revision period, at O2 Learn we want to make sure that young people and their parents are taking advantage of the unprecedented range of online tools and resources now available to make learning easier and more efficient.
“Teachers and experts are agreed on the value of online learning to complement more traditional methods.  Whether its pupils wanting to tackle a tough question in an accessible way at all hours, or a parent looking for an easy way to help their child revise interactively, the value of digital learning is clear.  Our research today shows that we are in danger of missing an opportunity to bring revision to the next level and I want O2 Learn to play as big a part as possible in helping that happen.”

Remember O2 learn holds a competition for teaching awarding £1000 each week for the best lesson uploaded. See this previous post for more details.

O2 Learn – 2012 Competition and Revision Videos

If you haven’t been to the O2 Learn site for a while, you might not know that their awards are back and they are awarding £2,000 every week! Last years campaign was very successful and to date O2 Learn has over 1,000 curriculum focused lessons available and has delivered over 25,000 hours of teaching. They have also awarded over £300,000 to schools and teachers for teaching excellence. The winning video from last year’s campaign They are continuing to help everyone connect to great teaching by creating Britain’s Biggest Classroom via teacher-created content.

This year, they are thanking every UK teacher who uploads a video lesson to O2 Learn with a free mobile broadband pack. They’re also introducing a weekly Best Lesson award, giving you the chance to win £2000 for you and your school department every week .

To date, O2 Learn has over 1,000 lessons available. All of which are curriculum focused and checked by their “Learning Champions”.

They have also recently introduced ‘Related Video’ functionality to make it even easier to find the lessons that are useful to you.

The competition works like this in 2012:

1. Secondary teachers upload a short video of their favourite lesson to O2 Learn and receive a free mobile broadband pack
2. Thousands of students across the country watch and rate the lessons that are useful to them
3. O2 Learn award prizes to the best lessons every week.

Entrants have to be O2 learn registered, 18 or over and they must meet eligibility criteria as set out on the O2 learn website.

The video are organised according to different curriculum areas making it easier for teachers and students to find videos relevant to their studies. The videos are also quality assured by educational experts.

So for full details of the awards go to the 02 Learn site.

O2 Learn – brand new website launched!

O2 are trying to help connect teachers and students with the launch of their brand new website O2 learn. Aimed at 13-18 year olds the site’s objective is to provide a way of helping students with revision or an opportunity to catch up in subjects that they might have missed or find difficult through access to free educational videos. The site encourages teachers to share inspirational teaching styles and approaches by uploading their best mini-lessons on camera. They are looking for clever ways of remembering things or understanding more complex processes.

O2 have made the site as safe as possible in relation to the moderation process. Only registered teachers can post visitors and every video and comment is read and moderated. Indeed no one is able to comment until they register and agree to the terms.

Prizes!
Twice a month, the video with the highest ratings and most view win a prize – £2,000 for themselves and £2,000 for their school. During the summer of 2011, a panel of education experts will choose 8 finalists who will eligible for winning the big prize of £50,000 for themselves and £100,000 for the school. (a second prize of 20,000 for the teacher and £40,000 for the school and a third prize of £10,000 for the teacher and £20,000 for the school will also be awarded). Winners are to be announced in October 2011, based 50% on the public vote and 50% on a panel of experts.

Thanks to Danny Nicholson (Whiteboard Blog) for the Headsup!

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