Archive for November, 2013

Rererecording with AudioNote

Posted on: November 20th, 2013 by Chris Loat

Just returned from Homma Elementary where librarian Carole Wilson is having some grade 3/4 French Immersion students create animations with the istopmotion app on the iPad. Students had completed taking the photos for the animation and were ready to record the audio voice-over.

Before recording the audio, students practiced the narration of the animation by reading their scripts and recording themselves with AudioNote app on the iPad. Students were shown how to record and playback their narration with the app, and then found a quiet place in the library to practice. Students recorded, listened, rerecorded, listened again, and even tried it a third time. This practice proved useful for speaking their script in a fluent and clear voice. The repetition of oral language was beneficial for some as they required repeated attempts to pronounce their words correctly. Working in partners also gave students another means of feedback to ensure they are pronouncing the word properly. This iterative process is very important for language development and having the feedback loop by tapping the playback button gave the students a great idea of how they were pronouncing the language.

Making Book Trailers with iMovie

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 by Chris Loat

Students in Rakshin Kandola’s Eng. 10 class are creating a different type of book report these days. Gone are the book summaries or endless comprehension questions that students often find very

tedious. In her class, students are making book trailers (in the style of movie trailers) for the books they are reading. Students are working in groups and reading the same material, then collaborating their ideas to create a book trailer that lasts 60 – 90 seconds. In the end, the groups of students present their book trailer and lead a discussion with the rest of the class about the theme, tone, characterization, issues, problem / solution, setting, plot and more. It is likely the collaboration process in which students learn about the different aspects of the story, but it is the final movie presentation during which students really show what they understood.

Students not only learn about different components of a story, but also learn about collaborating, compromising, cooperating, and communicating. They learn how to present information using visual, audio and video components, and learn how to get across a message loud and clear. Lastly, students also learned the value in being organized and in having a plan. Each class, students set goals and wrote a reflection on the process, and used this to guide/monitor their progress. Students also created storyboards and developed a sold plan before opening their laptops and firing up iMovie.
How did they complete such polished book trailers? Below is the lesson sequence for doing this, along with a couple of examples from her class.
1. Select the story they plan to read.
2. Read their books.
3. Use storyboards to plan out their book trailer.
4. Collect images / videos / audio, film and take their own videos and images.
5. Load content onto a usb drive and subsequently on macbook computers loaded with iMovie.
6. Begin to create book trailer with iMovie 11.
7. Midpoint check in. Students present what they have completed and get feedback from other students in the class in regards to their information and technical aspects of the presentation.
8. Continue to work on book trailer.
9. Present book trailer at the class filmfest.
My role in this project was to introduce iMovie to the students and show how they can present their ideas with video clips, images, audio clips, timing of information, camera techniques and more. I showed them how to use timing to create suspense, how to use the camera filters to create mood (e.g. use soft focus to create etherial mood), the impact of background audio on how images are viewed, and how to use the Ken Burns effect to bring attention to part of an image. In the end, students fully understood the finer points of the story, as well as how to convey a message using different forms of media.

Below are some examples of the book trailers the students created, and here is the a link to the series of lessons and project criteria that were used.

Book trailer for the story ‘North End Faust’
Book trailer for the story ‘Rebellion’
Book trailer for the story ‘Door Knobs’
Book trailer for the story ‘The Betrayal’

Using the App ’30 Hands’ in a Math Lesson Related to Multiplication

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 by Chris Loat 3 Comments

I paid a visit to my friend Patrece’s grade 4/5 classroom and I introduced her students to the app ’30 Hands’. For those who don’t know about this app, it is an app in which students take photos and put them into a slide show and then do a voice over for each slide. The students can then export their creation as a movie. I call these creations ‘Audio Slideshows’ and are a quick and effective way for students to explain their understanding or what they know.

The lesson I led integrated ’30 Hands’ with Math. The students were to make an audio slide show of different arrays they could find in the classroom. This helped with their understanding of the concept of multiplication and reinforced their basic facts. We did a quick review of what an array was and then we took a look around their room for examples of different arrays that were already in their classroom. Students pointed out the tote trays, their display of art work on a bulletin board, and the calendar were all examples of arrays.

Then is was time to take photos. We talked briefly about taking good photos and pointed out that all of the parts of the array need to be in the photo. Conversely, students could take photos of only part of an array if the array was too big. Students opened the app we navigated to the slide screen, after which they were sent off to take five photos of different arrays in or near the classroom.

After taking their photos, we reconvened the students and looked at what information needed to be included in their audio recording for each photo: 1) name the array in two ways  2) give the multiplication sentence and related facts  3) provide the answer to each multiplication sentence. We also talked about speaking clearly and loud enough so their voices could be easily heard, and about the fact they might need to find a quiet place near the classroom to do their recording.

Students then went off to find a quiet place to record. Most students found they had to do two or more takes for each slide, but eventually they all recorded their narrations for each slide with the relevant information. Students then exported their audio slide show as a movie and we shared them with the class with the classroom projector. I find the students are more apt to complete a well crafted product if they know it will be shared with the rest of the class. Below are a couple of samples of the student movies.

Was it a useful lesson for the kids? Absolutely, as it not only solidified their understanding of arrays and multiplication, but also introduced them to a very useful app. I remember one student in particular who did not fully understand how arrays connected to the concept of multiplication, but while rehearsing the narrations for her photos, the light bulb went on and she had a big smile on her face. Was it the verbal rehearsing or the visual in front of her, or the combination of the two that helped her understand? I wish I had asked, but one thing I know is that when students utilize verbal and visual information, there is a greater likelihood they will better understand concepts.

Using the App Pic Collage in the Primary Classroom

Posted on: November 3rd, 2013 by Chris Loat

Pic Collage is an app that allows the user to arrange photos in any way imaginable. There are templates that arrange the photos into preset positions, or you can freely arrange them as you want. You can also add text and stickers to the collage. Photos can also be edited or layered by tapping on the image. Other ways to edit include:
  • change the size of a word or image by using ‘pinch to zoom’ (actually it is a 2 finger reverse pinch)
  • enlarge the size of the text box by doing a horizontal or vertical reverse pinch
  • rotate the image with a two finger twist
  • double tap a photo to bring up the photo editing menu
  • double tap a word to edit the word, change the font style and colour, shade the background and more (the three dots beside the paint can indicate there are more options – tap them to find out what option are there)
  • double tap a sticker to copy or flip it
  • single tap a photo or word and it will bring it to the top layer of all photos
  • tap a word to bring it to the top layer and then drag it over a photo to put the label on a photo or sticker
  • delete an image or text box by dragging it to the trash can in the upper right corner
There are countless ideas for using Pic Collage in your classroom, and here are a few of them:
  • Kindergarten: Select 5 or 6 objects in the classroom that students can take a photo of. Write the names of these 5 or 6 objects on individual pieces of paper. Using the iPads, have students take photos of each individual word and object. Then have students open the app Pic Collage and import the photos of the objects and name. Arrange the photos and names so they match.
  • Grade 1: Using manipulatives (e.g. blocks) in your classroom, have students put the manipulatives into two or more separate piles to make a total of 5 (e.g. a pile of 3 and pile of 2). Take a photo of this and then do another combination of blocks to ‘Make 5’ (e.g. piles of 1, 3 and 1). Do this for a total of 4 photos. Open Pic Collage and import the 4 photos. Arrange the photos on the screen by resizing and rotating them, then add the addition sentence next to the photo. Put on the title “Make 5” and then share them.
    Make 5 Lesson
  • Grade 1: This lesson can be an extension of the above ‘Make 5’ lesson. Students will do a similar activity but instead of taking photos of 5 objects, they take a photo of only one object (can be any object of any size). After taking the photo, open Pic Collage and import the one photo. Arrange the photo on the screen by resizing it smaller and putting it in the middle of the screen. Double tap on the image and a menu will appear – click on ‘Clip Photo’. With their finger, students outline the part you want to keep, then click save. The clipped picture will appear on the screen. Double tap this clipped picture and tap on ‘Copy’. Tap somewhere else on the screen and another menu appears – tap on ‘Paste’ and past as many photos as needed. Arrange the photos into groups that represent an addition sentence. Tap one more time on the screen and tap on ‘Add Text’ to write the addition sentence with numbers. Arrange the number sentence to place it near the visual representation of the addition sentence.
Visual representation of addition equations
Sharing of the student work can be achieved in a variety of ways:
  1. Share with a partner or small group using individual iPads.
  2. Share with the whole class by connecting the iPad to a projector or apple TV.
  3. Share with the teacher by emailing the work. We suggest that the students export the collage to their camera roll / photo album and then email it as a jpg from the camera roll / photo album.
  4. Add the collage to the photo library to use in another app (e.g. screencasting app or to add in an ebook).
Enjoy using the app with primary students as it is an easy and meaningful way for students to show what they know.

Simple Animations with Keynote

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by Chris Loat

I love learning! Whether it is when I learn new techniques with tech tools or when kids learn new tactical plays in hockey – I simply love it when people learn. In my role as teacher consultant for technology, I have countless situations in which I learn something from students. It was just the other day when I learned how to animate with keynote from a grade 10 student at McMath Secondary. I was in the school supporting the use of iMovie while the students were making book trailers for the stories they read. One student was sharing some clips on his youtube channel and I noticed he had branded all of his videos with a little introductory animation. I asked how he did this and this is what I learned:

1. Open a new Keynote presentation and select the ‘Showroom’ or ‘White’ theme.

2. Delete the two text boxes on the first page to get a clear white page.

3. Select a shape (e.g. square) from the ‘Shapes’ icon in the toolbar and resize / change color. Note that the following can also be done with a text box or with an imported image. Check out the below animation made by your’s truly using imported images.

4. Open the ‘Inspector’ window and click on the ‘Build Inspector’ button (yellow diamond). Make sure  the shape on your screen is selected.

5. Click on ‘Build In’ and below that button, select the effect. Try them all to see which one you like.

6. Once the object is on the screen, you can also make it move in a straight line or arc. The path (red line in the below image) your object travels can be edited by repositioning the handles on the path, and the speed can be changed by modifying the duration.

Moving an object in an arc with Keynote

7. For multiple movements, program a series of ‘Moves’ that automatically happen one after another. Use the add action button for this.

8. Tap on the ‘More Options’ button at the bottom of the ‘Inspector’ window and a drawer will slide open. Tap on the first build and the bottom, select wheter you want the build to happen automatically or with a tap of the keyboard/trackpad. I usually select automatically for all of them. You can also select the delay time between each build.

9. Close the drawer and then hit the ‘Play’ button in the top left of the toolbar.

10. To convert the animation to a movie, click File>>Export>>QuickTime and save the movie to your computer.

The below video is a screencast of the process for making a simple animation with Keynote.

How to create a simple animation with Keynote

This ability to do simple animations can be used in various situations, but the value in sharing this is allowing the students to be creative with technology and experiment with different effects. We all learn by trying out new things, and this is no exception. Give it a try with your students.