Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

So, this is the first blog entry I have done so far on a specific iPad app. I think several tools I have talked about now have iPad apps (such as Fotobabble, Popplet, Diigo etc) but Morfo is specifically for the iPad and iPhone. I have to say to start with that I have yet to use many apps actively in the classroom for anything apart from presentation  as part of the lesson since my school does not have a class set of iPads for instance as I know some schools do. Some pupils I teach do have them and I have suggested several apps for them to use and I hope they do for homework and so on. I have also used some iPad apps for adding to my department VLE and for my own work.

Morfo is a free app that can be used to take a photo and then this photo can be adapted and voices recorded onto it. You can have a look at the Morfo website here: Morfo website. With the photo you take you can make the person into various animals, superheroes, carnival characters, or into various musical styles such as disco glam, goth rock and the 60s. The end creation will also dance around amusingly!

This app is probably best used with young language learners, to help them forget any nerves they have with speaking the language and enjoy making themselves or their friends look silly or funny with the different disguises that the app offers. They can either read something they have prepared, or speak off the cuff in the target language. Topics that suggest themselves immediately for this app are personal descriptions (either what they actually look like, or what they end up looking like having been ‘dressed up’ by the app, but any type of speaking presentation can be done.

Creating a Morfo is very easy. Once you have downloaded the app from the appstore, open the application. To begin with click ‘Create a New Face’ and then either choose a photo that you have already taken or click the ‘Touch here to take a picture’ button. Either way, once you have chosen a picture, you will then have to fit the photo into the Morfo frame. Adjust the head, eyes, nose and mouth appropriately so that they fit over the photo’s head, eyes, nose and mouth. You can also adapt the light of the photo if needs be. Having then clicked ‘Finish’ you will then see your photo with the frame in place. At the bottom you have the following options: Record (click hear to record a voice onto the frame), Makeup (this is where to go to add the disguise / mask, and is probably your first stop), Morf (change the face shape to fatter, elf or hero), Dance (makes the frame headbang to a choice of music) or Share (email, facebook or save the video / picture). I will generally start with clicking ‘Makeup’, then I will click ‘Costumes’ to choose from the various mask options, and then click ‘Costume’ to flick between the various masks for that genre of costume. This is probably where the time wasting will take place in the classroom!

Having picked a suitably amusing disguise, then click ‘Record’ Click the red start button to start the recording and again to finish. You do no have an unlimited time to record (half a minute or a minute I think), so ensure your pupils know this and are prepared. The chances are that they will want to record two or three or more times until they have perfected their speech, which is obviously excellent for grooving in the target language.

Having stopped the recording, you can then listen to it by clicking ‘Play’ or ‘Share’ it. This is what you will want your pupils to do so you can see and listen to their work. I would click ‘Email a Video’ and then your video will be automatically saved and then you can send it as an MP4 file.

So Morfo is a free and fun way of getting pupils to speak the target language. You could also create homework tasks for your pupils by sending them a video of you telling them what their homework is, use it as an introduction to topics perhaps, or maybe even use it as a pronunciation guide. The finished products could also be used as a listening exercise.

Useful links to help you with using Morfo.

How to use Morfo YouTube video

Morfo forum

Today I’m going to blog about Lingt. Lingt is a worksheet creation site, which enables you to embed videos onto the worksheet, as well as spoken questions for pupils to answer orally or in written form. Therefore, it is possible to assess all four language skills, reading, writing, speaking and listening on one document, which is a nifty premise, a real interactive worksheet. The best thing about it at first glance is that you can really get pupils practising the vocabulary or grammar in every way outside the classroom, hence promoting the ‘classroom outside the classroom’ idea.

To use Lingt, go to the following URL: http://lingtlanguage.com and click on Signup. After signing up, you will be taken to your homepage. As a free user of Lingt you can only create a certain number of assignments (6)which is a bit of a shame. To be able to do more, you will need to extend your membership (click on upgrade your account). The price does not seem too exorbitant if you want to upgrade to say 50 exercises (currently $39 a year), but I’m not really sure I would need to upgrade to have all the features for a $79 per year subscription. This is just something you will have to decide for yourself based on how effective you feel Lingt is for what you need it for.

I would suggest the best step now is to watch the Lingt tutorial video. Click ‘Help’ from your home screen (or click HERE to watch the tutorial to get an idea what you can do.) This is a well made Screencapture video explaining how to do everything and I strongly recommend watching it and making notes. The video goes through how to create a class, and then how to create an assignment for the classes you have created. There are a number of other useful questions answered for you on the help page.

When creating a class, you do not need to input anything apart from the class name. There is no need to input all your pupils, or even for them to signup to Lingt, as when you have created an assignment, the pupils will simply just go to your Lingt page (more of this later) and click on the relevant assignment for them. They will do the assignment online (on the web browser, before filling in their name and their email address at the end which will alert you to the fact that they have completed the assignment.

When you create your assignment you have a variety of tool buttons to create the texts. You have Voice, Text, Image and Video  (YouTube only) options for teacher prompts, and text and voice buttons for when you want pupils to answer. I have created a Prepositions and Furniture work sheet for my 3rd form. I have a video from Youtube going through the prepositions to start with, with questions in English underneath. Then I have uploaded an image of a bedroom with questions in Spanish again underneath, and then I have finally recorded some questions requiring spoken answers, before leaving one final question for a longer written response, describing their bedroom.

I have yet to test this out with the 3rd form but there appear to be a couple of risks involved with Lingt. Firstly, many schools have blocked Youtube (in my school only the 6th form can go onto Youtube) and I don’t know whether by ’embedding’ a Youtube video into your worksheet on Lingt it will allow the 3rd-5th formers to watch it, or if it will be blocked still. Secondly, pupils will need to have the ability to record their own voice (necessitating a microphone) and not all school computers or pupils will have one, and it could mean them being excluded from a task, or being able to complete it properly. Hopefully they can upload / save their recordings on Lingt – I have experienced problems with Voki and GoAnimate with uploading recordings on a browser, and I don’t know if this would be a problem with this website as well.

Hopefully these problems can be overcome without too many difficulties as the IT technicians in schools become more aware of the potential uses of Web 2.0 tools and other sites for the classroom and education generally, and unblock and allow full or timed use of them. There are of course risks with using Youtube, but the benefits are huge as well, and this should mean that a more sensible policy regarding its use can be found.

I do feel that Lingt has much to recommend it, and after the exam period I will investigate it further and see if I and the pupils experience any problems with its use. It does seem particularly useful for speaking and listening practise outside the classroom, and providing a really interactive worksheet, something I feel would appeal to a lot of students of all ages.

I would be really interested to hear from anyone who already uses Lingt regularly or who has tried it out to see what you think and if it has worked well or not. Please leave a comment below or tweet me @pedroelprofesor.

Dvolver is a nice little tool, if a little limited in its usefulness. It is a tool to create a short ‘movie’ though more like an animated cartoon. The language that will be used will be produced in the form of speech bubbles, so it will more be useful as a way of practising reading and writing, rather than speaking and listening. In this way it compares to the comic strip creators that I have blogged about already, rather than the animation creators like GoAnimate. It is quick and easy though so may be most relevant for beginners in the language. A program like Domo Animate (yet to be blogged about) is a much more ambitious and flexible tool that does the same thing, but may take longer to get used to using.

To use Dvolver, go to the following URL http://www.dvolver.com/moviemaker/index.html and click Make a Movie. There is no need to sign up, login or register, which also means that it is harder to save your movie creations on the flip side, though movies can be emailed and embedded. Having clicked on Make a Movie, your futuristic looking control panel will come up. First you pick a background and sky by clicking on the icons that you like the look of, and then click next (bottom right). Then you choose the type of scene you want, either rendez-vous, pick up, chase or soliloquy (this will be how the characters interact and move around on the video). Having clicked next, you then choose your two characters who will star from the lists provided. The you add your dialogue. There are some limitations here which make Dvolver of limited usefulness, as you only have three lines per character, and are limited to 100 characters of text, hence why I said it would be best for beginners in the language. In the next panel you add your music soundtrack and then in your final panel you pick the way you want your title to appear. Then you can see your movie and can send it to the person you want to send it to by inputting their email. After you have sent it, you then have an embed code given to you, so videos can be saved onto a blog or webpage. It is worth asking pupils to send you this as well in case you want to make a page with all their creations.

Here you can see my quick movie made for you lucky people

http://www.dvolver.com/live/movies-715275

For this reason, I would use Dvolver as a tool for short written work and preps from students, and would ask them to email it to me. I can then show the pupils their movies in class through projecting the videos onto the whiteboard.

 

I’m on the train back from London so I thought I would write a rapid blog from my iPhone (yes wordpress has a free app you can download – nice). Via an idea from someone on twitter (who I will look up when I am home and give credit to) I downloaded the Silent Film Director app which is free (naturally!). The free version allows you to make a video look in different old film styles, namely black and White, 20s, sepia, sepia vintage, 1960s home video and a couple of others. You also have a choice of 4 soundtracks (typical old silent film fare) and choice of speeds. My lovely little godsons Jake (6) and Max (3) enjoyed being actors for my trial versions over the weekend with some funny results (the best being the light sabre film starring Jake!)

The idea is that you can make some silent films which you can then transfer to your computer. I find the easiest way is to use dropbox which links up your computers and even smartphone. With videos made , pupils can then add captions and subtitles for the films. I have to confess that I haven’t found the best way to do this yet – Amara looks like one option now that Jaycut has gone offline. I suppose another option is for pupils to do a running spoken commentary of their videos in class which might be good as well, though would have to be done without the soundtrack playing. Since the soundtracks are part of the charm of Silent Film Director I like the caption idea more. When I find a good caption tool I will blog about it! If anyone knows one, please let me know on here or on twitter. Of course this app depends on pupils having smart phones if they want to do them independently, but you can probably make a few for classroom use and give pupils the chance to come up with their captions. I don’t think I will be lending my phone!

Anyone know if this app is available for iPads or other smartphones? Please comment below!

One of the best bits about advances in IT and the internet is the chance to practise listening and speaking much more than was previously possible. With Voki and Goanimate, two tools already mentioned in this blog, pupils can upload recordings they have made in a more relaxed way. The two little tools I will introduce today, Vocaroo and Mailvu  are more direct methods of communication. Both are basically audio email tools, one simply with audio, one with audio and video.

Both are really simple little tools, but are very effective for getting your pupils to speak. I haven’t used mailvu really with classes yet, as I don’t really need to see a video of them, but I have used Vocaroo regularly for a variety of tasks. When preparing for presentation tasks for GCSE assessments, pupils have sent audio email via vocaroo of them speaking their presentations and I will vocaroo them back with corrections to pronunciation and any errors that they have made. My Upper 6th have sent me recordings of their presentations, and also to questions that I have set them both on presentations and also on their opinions on texts for the speaking and reading section. All kinds of speaking tasks can be set, but all importantly it gets your pupils speaking outside of the classoom.

With Vocaroo, simply go to http://vocaroo.com, and then click on the ‘record’ button to make your recording. Obviously make sure your computer has a mic, either internally or attached, and click ‘Allow’ on the next box that comes up. After this your recording starts and when done just press ‘stop’. You can then listen to your recording and redo it if you aren’t happy. (Pupils often repeat their recordings to get things right, which means they are practising even more!) When you are happy click ‘Click here to save’ and then either copy the URL code, embed or email. To email, just fill in the required details and addresses (note that you can send the recording to more than one person – so you could send a range of questions to a whole class for instance). You will get confirmation that you have sent the voice message when you have done so as you need to give your email address as well.

Mailvu (http://www.mailvu.com) works the same but withvideo, but with a webcam needing to be used. Here you are basically sending a video email, again with audio. Again, I haven’t really seen the need to use the video emailing, though I suppose it does give you certain opportunities to maybe show pupils which exercise to do for example. You can also get Mailvu as an iPhone app as well.

All in all, very simple to use and quick to do, barring computer problems! Luckily, I haven’t had any yet with Vocaroo with people who have their own laptops or pcs though I’m yet to use school computers with it. Hope it works easily for you as well.

At our last staff INSET in which each department had to talk about innovation within lessons,  this was the last thing I showed off as the Spanish department took centre stage for use of technology in lessons. (it was amusing to see panicking teachers from other departments before this INSET, given that a number of staff here still struggle with email and word processing!) I had shown off Vokis, GoAnimate and Chogger first, but thought I would show Jing as it is something everyone can use. It isn’t a language creation tool, but actually a way of making videos of what you are doing on screen, or indeed taking screen shots.

I have used it a great deal since I found out about it in September. When pupils send me prep via email, I take a video of me marking their prep on screen, talking through their mistakes and explaining why things are wrong, and highlighting best bits of writing and so on. You have a maximum of five minutes to talk through it and this is more than enough to explain most things fully. The best bit of this is that you give much fuller feedback than you can marking by pen or just by correcting things on the screen, as there is a much more ‘personal’ approach. The feedback I have got back from certain pupils includes ‘every teacher should use this’, ‘I showed my parents and they were amazed at how useful it is’ and a number of pupils now do all their written preps via email so they can get more out of their feedback. I’ve also used it for UCAS personal statements with my Upper 6th tutees.

Other potential uses include showing pupils how to find resources (make a screenshot video of you going to places on the internet for example) or how to use other webtools (I’ve done short bideos for various web 2.0 tools already) and to create documents with screenshots of various things. All of the images in the first four blog entries were taken with Jing for instance.

Jing is free to download from the following address http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html?gclid=CNzGkf7ulq8CFYsntAodoHk9Uw . When you have downloaded it, you will need to open the program (it will be under Techsmith) and then a yellow half sun will go to the top of your computer screen. Click on the sun to choose the video or screenshot option and then record as normal. (Make sure your mic is enabled – the program will ask you for this the first time you use it). When you have finished, you have the option to save or to send to someone. If you choose the send option it creates an automatic link which you can past into an email. All of your videos are also uploaded to a screencast account, which gives you plenty of space for a lot of videos.

I find Jing indispensable, and some of the other staff at my school are now using it as well, having got over their fears of moving out of the 19th century! It makes marking a much fuller process and really helps pupils with the quality of feedback for their work.

Here is a link to a Jing tutorial to help you get to grips with it. Good luck, I’m sure it will be really useful.

Videos are popular with pupils and teachers alike. Things like flip cameras are great for making short videos in the classroom, but another technique is to use online cartoon animations. There are various options for doing these, but the one I prefer is GoAnimate. GoAnimate allows you to create cartoon videos with the language actually spoken, and can be set for a variety of languages too, allowing pupils to hear the language pronounced authentically, or to record themselves speaking as the characters.

There are quite a few other options to make cartoon videos such as Dvolver, DomoAnimate and Xtranormal which I will do blogs about at some point as well, but I prefer GoAnimate as I think it is easy to use, and gives you a simple option as well as the option to be more creative if you have the time. When you register for free you have enough tools and options to make a good video without having to sign up for the GoPlus option which costs you money. There is also the Goanimate for education you can pay for, but I haven’t bothered with this, preferring to get pupils to create their own logins.

When  you have signed up, you basically have two options to create a video – you can either use the quick video maker or the full length video. With the quick video, you basically have a readymade template of a conversation between 2 characters that you select in which you just have to type in what you want them to say. For the full length you have full directorial rights for a 2 minute vid (unless you go GoPlus, when you can do longer). Both are very effective, the first one is ideal for the quick designing of a listening exercise and for pupils to produce an easy video without faffing about with effects and so on!

Here are links to two of my own videos, the first a quick video, the second a full length one (though not yet complete actually!_ if you want to have a look.

Vacaciones ideales (quick video maker)

House description (full length)

Not that in the first video I used the text to voice option (changing the voices to Spanish), whereas I recorded the second myself. You can also upload pre-saved spoken passages though this takes longer.

There are loads of uses for this as I’m sure you can tell. I have used them as listening exercises in class, and tried to get pupils to do them as well, although the class I did it with had trouble saving and uploading them. This is a problem with my school’s systems which the IT guys are trying to sort out, so maybe give it a trial run if you want the pupils to make their own, which is the best use really. It obviously gives pupils to speak Spanish in a ‘safer’ way than aloud in class, practise role plays or work towards speaking assessments. They can collaborate or make their own, do presentations possibly and lots of other speaking activities. Plus, videos can then be used as listening exercises for other classes either by saving the URL or embedding on websites or blogs.

I haven’t included instructions here as to how to make the vids as there are tutorials available on the net, but please leave a comment if you need help. And if you do make videos, let’s share! Happy animating!