Tag Archives: video

Image Capture: Best Little App That Nobody Knows About

There is beauty in simplicity.  I appreciate those little tools that do one thing, do it well, and don’t try to be anything else.  Did you know that hidden in your Apps folder on your Mac is a little app called Image Capture?

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What does it do? It takes pictures or videos from a device (camera, iPad, iPhone) and lets you import them to your Mac and save them wherever you want.

That’s it.

When do I use it?  When I want to take a few images or video that I shot on my school iPad and copy them to my desktop or a folder on my Mac.  I DO NOT want to add these images or videos to my photo library.  I DO NOT want to sync the iPad or back it up.  I DO NOT want to copy everything.  I just want the pictures and videos I want, where I want them.  Image capture does just that.

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Be Active, Not Passive

Last month I overheard a conversation between two teachers looking through the DVD’s in the school library. Allow me to paraphrase the conversation.

“What do you think of this one?”

“Hmm. I think that’s okay. I might have used it last year.”

“Is it age appropriate for my kids?”

“It’s from <publisher name> so you should be okay.”

“Great. I need something to show this afternoon. This’ll work.”

I find it difficult to accept that in 2014, with all the media available to us, that many teachers still do not preview videos before showing them to their students.  I know that teacher time is a valuable thing, but so is face to face lesson time with students. Why would anyone want to squander that time by with a video that may not even meet your content standards? Or worse yet, use a video as “filler”?

Going through my old files yesterday, I came across this classic Hall Davidson handout. I don’t know if it is even available online anymore, but I hope he won’t mind me sharing it.


Most of us have moved beyond VHS tapes, but consider the wealth of video resources we have available through YouTube, SchoolTube, TeacherTube, and subscription services like Discovery Education.  There are so many options to create powerful learning experiences for our students.  But as Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Let me point out some strategies for ACTIVE video watching that are still quite relevant today.

  • Preview the video before you show it. This seems obvious but it’s easy to skip this important step. Even if another teacher has recommended a video WATCH IT YOURSELF first. You don’t want to be surprised by content. PLUS knowing the content ahead of time will help you plan activities that will help your students learn the most from the video.
  • Use short segments rather than full videos.  If the concept you want to teach can be demonstrated in a 90 second video clip, you don’t need to use up valuable face to face time with students showing a full 20-30 minute video.
  • Use the PAUSE button. Want to make sure your students got that important concept? Pause. Ask questions.  And if you need to, back up the video and show that part again.  It’s just like re-reading an important passage of text. Besides, the fact that YOU are actively watching and making sure THEY are paying attention sends a message to the students that “This IS important.”  You send the opposite message if you just let them passively watch while you sit at your desk and grade papers.
  • Have a plan! Know what you want your students to know after watching a video clip.  Have a pre-video activity (something that prepares them to watch) and a post video activity  (something that you can use to assess whether or not they learned the concept).
Stuck for ideas?  Check out the many SOS Strategies for actively using Video and Media in your classroom.  Here are just a few ideas to make watching videos more meaningful:
These are just a small sample of the many SOS ideas. Click the link below for a list of all the SOS Strategies:

How to Upload Video to Your iDevice

Yesterday I had one of those “Ah-Ha” moments.  It came when I saw this tweet from Gregory Kulowiec.

Gregory Kulowiec Tweet

This got my head spinning with possibilities.  I know how take video or photos from an iPad Camera Roll and get it to my computer using the Google Drive, Box, or DropBox apps, but getting video from those apps to my iPad has been problematic.  What if I want to provide my students with video clips* and have them add their own voiceover, or edit them together with other clips or their own videos? Using “open in” it looks like I should be able to do this.

Armed with this new bit of information, it was time to play.  Here is what I discovered…

This definitely opens up some new possibilities for student media projects.

*NOTE: You may have an issue if you want to share out one video with a whole class. See Bill’s comment below.

Just Share It!

Have you been looking for an easy way for students to share their video projects with you?  If you’re a Google Apps school, then the answer is right there in front of you.

As an added bonus, videos you’ve uploaded to Google Drive and videos shared with you can be embedded in Google Sites.  Just insert the video from your Google Drive.  This is a wonderful way to share student projects.


Unfortunately, this only works in Sites.  If you want to embed a video in Google Slides (Presentations), your only option is still YouTube.

Add the Google Drive Mobile app to the mix and students can record videos on their Android, iPhone, or iPad and upload them directly to their Google Drive account on your school’s Google Apps domain.  With 30GB of space, students have plenty of room if they avoid uploading bulky HD Video files.

As for the “Warning” in my video, I discovered some issues when you try uploading a video from an iPad or mobile device connected to our school network.  Contacting Google support was both easy and helpful. They assisted me in troubleshooting the issue and determined that there may be some issues with our filter/firewall. For those of you who like technical stuff, here is what Google Drive needs in order to work properly: https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2589954?hl=en


If I were to dream about what students at my school should be able to do with technology someday, it would look something like what this 7th grade student is doing right now. After watching this video you’ll see that this student is using, almost exclusively, free tools that are available online. Most of the tools she uses require her to have her own e-mail, something we have not trusted our students with yet. Many of the sites and tools she uses are also blocked at my school. It’s seems clear that rather than blocking anything that might possibly be misused, her school has trusted her and granted her freedom to use these tools for learning. It also seems clear that her teachers have modeled and taught her responsible Internet use and encouraged her to take charge of her own learning. She understands what is appropriate for school and what should be used at home and realizes that the freedom she has been given should not be taken for granted. As she works, the idea of citing resources and giving credit for other people’s work seems almost automatic. For her, learning is fun and she seems inspired to follow her curiosity – extending her learning beyond the curriculum.

Thanks Jim Gates for posting this on your blog and @GDhuyvetter for sharing this on Twitter this morning. You got this video stuck in my head – shining a light on where I am and showing me how much farther I still have to go. We’ll get there…someday.

Summer Reflections 2

Fun With Time-Lapse

In addition to digging into Google Maps, this summer was also an opportunity to explore the world of photography. I haven’t owned an SLR camera since my old 35mm Canon T70 died back in the early 90’s. Things have changed a lot and my new Nikon D5000 has some pretty impressive features. For those you hardcore photographers this is just an “entry level DSLR”, but for me it was a major step up from the point & shoots I’ve been using up to now.

One feature I’m really enjoying is the Interval Timer feature. This allows me to set the camera to take a certain number of pictures at a specific time interval. This is a great way to capture a series of images that can be combined either inside the camera or using video editing software like iMovie, Movie Maker. For example, I was able to capture time-lapse images of storm clouds moving over Lake Powell this summer. To create the sequences below, I put the camera on a tripod and set it to take one picture every 10 seconds for about 60 frames.

The ability to shoot time-lapse has lots of creative possibilities as well as some science applications too. Things to remember:

  • Make sure the camera doesn’t move while you’re capturing images. After seeing the results of my first few attempts, I learned that it was better to set the tripod on the ground because the houseboat moves.
  • Don’t use the maximum resolution of your camera. You don’t need a 3000 x 4000 pixel image if you’re making a video. Besides, you’ll fit a lot more on your memory card if you scale it back a little. The best HD video resolution is only 1920 X 1080.
  • Make sure you have a full battery charge or, if you have an AC adapter, plug your camera into a power source. A lot of time can be wasted if your camera dies during your interval shoot.
  • Experiment & have fun. Just like the Hokey Pokey – “That’s what it’s all about.”

Hey, you guyyyyys!!

If you were in elementary school in the 70’s, you probably recognize that call as the voice of Rita Moreno yelling to let you know it’s time for another episode of the Electric Company. If you’re like me public television was a big part of your education too – from Sesame Street, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and The Electric Company to science shows like Nova. I wonder how many of you in the classroom today use PBS programming and resources with your students?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Okay then, imagine my voice yelling “HEY YOU GUYYYYYS!!” to let you know about some of the great resources available now at www.pbs.org/teachers.

The people at PBS have been busy working to tag, catalog, and make “searchable” their vast online collection of resources. The result is the new PBS Teachers web site.

You can search by keyword, use the advanced search, or start with a subject area and drill down by selecting a grade level and a topic. For example, when I performed a keyword search for “sceintific method” my results included 24 lesson plans, 63 offline activities, 5 interactives, and 115 audio/video clips.

Trying to be more specific, I tried search for the Native American “Lakota” tribe. The results included 4 lesson plans including two from the Lewis and Clark Mini-Series, an interactive web site of Native American Storytellers, and a video clip from Antiques Roadshow telling the history of some Lakota artifacts.

As you start using this site more often, you’ll probably want to register with PBS Teachers Connect and become a PBS Teacher. By signing in you can save and add your own tags to the resources you find for easy retrieval later.

You’ll also become a part of a community of PBS Teachers where you can ask questions and participate in discussions.

For those of you searching for video resources keep in mind that this site is not a single repository, rather it provides links to the various PBS web sites where these resources reside. Depending on the program, videos formats may vary between Flash, RealPlayer, Quicktime, or Windows Media. Some clips, like those from Nova ScienceNow, can be downloaded and even transferred to an iPod, others can only be streamed from their web site.

Also keep in mind that this site is still in “beta”. Look for new features and enhacements as they continue working to improve it.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of the original Electric Company you might be interested to know that a new version of the show be premiering this January. Although I’m told that Morgan Freeman will not be appearing in the new show, it might still be worth checking out.

Have fun exploring the vast resources available at PBS Teachers.

Can’t Buy Me Love

Today’s Limerick Challenge
(Inspired by NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”)

Our kids’ spending habits aren’t funny,
And their financial future ain’t sunny.
If they spend more than they get,
They’ll be buried in debt.
We must teach them to manage their _______.

Record numbers of home foreclosures. Over $4.00 for a gallon of gas. Food prices skyrocketing. Listen to the news and you wonder how much worse it’ll get before it starts to get better. When your money doesn’t go as far as it used to, you really need to learn to use it wisely. Think about the decisions you make when you spend money. Not just for big ticket items like a car and a house, either. Stop and think how much you spend every month at Starbucks too. Now stop and think what kind of example we are setting for our kids.

One of the problems we have when it comes to spending is that technology has made it so much easier to separate us from our cash. In fact, cash seems to be less and less visible in favor of electronic and plastic currency. Why fumble with cash when you can just swipe a card? You’ve seen those Visa Check Card commercials where everything comes to a stop when some poor unenlightened soul tries to pay with cash? But do we really pay as much attention to our spending habits when our real money is reduced to plastic cards and numbers on a computer screen? According to author Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational), this degree of separation from actual money can actually have an effect on our behavior – and our honesty. Listen to his comments on the recent Bear Stearns debacle.

At school we use manipulatives and computer software to teach kids how to recognize and count coins and bills, and how to make change. But I wonder if we are preparing them deal with a real world of debit/credit cards, online banking, and one-click shopping. Do they truly understand that those numbers on the screen are a real and just as important as cash in their pocket? How do we get them to think about good money management and sound financial decision making.

One great media resource I like to use is BizKid$. This PBS series, made by the same team that produced Bill Nye-The Science Guy, is packed full of great lessons and positive examples of kids who understand proper money management. It’s fast paced and funny – I particularly like the Star Trek parodies – but it also teaches some simple and not-so-simple money management concepts in a way that connects with kids. The series is aimed at grades 4-7 and covers a variety of topics from “What is Money?” (Episode 2) to the “Global Economy” (Episode 20).

Their web site has video clips and a synopsis of each episode. Complete a free registration process and you’ll have access to teacher guides and classroom lessons developed by Junior Achievement. Check with your local PBS station to see about recording rights for your classroom.

Other sites/resources for money education:

  • Hands On Banking – an interactive web site sponsored by Wells Fargo.
  • Elementary Video Adventures: Money: Kids & Cash – Available to those of you with Discovery Streaming. (Log in and search for “Kids and Cash”.) It is a collection of 23 video segments for kids in grades 3-5.

If you have any great tools that you use for money education please leave a comment and link. Thanks.

Oh, and if the Dan Ariely clip caught your attention, check out his web site and his book, Predictably Irrational. I was fascinated by his thoughts on how we make decisions and the tricks our mind plays on us. Some of this will definitely come in handy dealing with kids in the classroom.