5 Things Every Teacher Should Be Able to Do On YouTube

January, 2015
After the post I shared here on how to create flipped videos via the use of annotations and other interactivity features on YouTube, I received a couple of emails from fellow teachers asking about certain functionalities on YouTube. Instead of answering each one individually, I decided to create this post and include in it the major important things a teacher should be able to do on YouTube.

Here is what you will get to learn from these tips:
  • Know how to add subtitles and closed captions to your videos
  • Add and edit annotations
  • use enhancement features to improve your videos
  • How to use YouTube video editor to combine, trim, add music and customize your clips
  • How to search YouTube library for copyright-free music to add to your videos
  • How to swap the audio track on our videos
Click on each title to access its corresponding resource page.

1- How to use YouTube Video Editor
Get to learn about the basic features provided by YouTube video editor.This page will show you how to customize  your videos using different toolsYou will also get to learn how  to combine multiple videos and images in one video, how to trim your clips to custom lengths, and how to add music to your video from a library of approved tracks.

2- How to Add Subtitles and Captions  to Your Videos
This feature allows you to add subtitles to your videos so that deaf people or those who speak a different language can understand your content.

3- How to Add Annotations to Your Videos
Annotations help you engage with viewers and make your videos more interactive. With annotations you can layer text, links, and hotspots over your video. They help you enrich the video experience by adding information, interactivity and engagement.

4- How to Enhance Your Videos
The enhancement functionality allows you to make tweaks and add effects to your videos. These include things such as:

  • Auto-fix: Lets you adjust lighting and colour
  • Stabilize: This allows you to adjust the video to correct any shakiness
  • Slow motion: This enables you to slow the speed at which your video plays
  • Trim: Lets you clip parts off the your video
  • Filters: Choose from pre-set colour filters that you can apply to your video to give them a stylish and unique look.
  • Face blurring: Protect the anonymity of people in your video.

5- Learn How to Find Music and Audio for Your Videos Using YouTube Audio Library

Learn how to use YouTube Audio Library to access and use sound tracks in your videos. The YouTube Audio Library is a collection of music and sound effects for YouTube creators to use in their videos.

3 Great Resources for Creating Engaging Presentations

January 31, 2015
Today I am sharing with you some excellent resources to help you deliver better presentations. These resources cover both the process of how to go about creating engaging presentations using different multimedia materials and also the various methods to use to hold the attention of your audience and keep them focused.

1- How to Be A Presentation Ninja
This slideshow is created by Gwyneth Jones in which she shared some useful tips on how to design a beautiful presentation. The slideshow itself is an example of how a well-designed and engaging presentation looks like.

2- Eight Tips to Power Up your Presentations
In this post, Jason shared interesting nuggets from his 20 years experience of creating and working with presentations. His tips cover things such as how to reduce noise, maximize visuals, minimize verbosity, how to use transitions and many more.

3- Eight Storytelling Techniques for Engaging Presentations

In this wonderful post, you will get to learn about 8 practical storytelling strategies advocated by Ffion to help you build the flow needed to keep your audience motivated and enchanted.

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New- Edmodo for Parents App is Now Released

January, 2015
Edmodo has recently released  a new app called Edmodo for Parents. This new app is meant to  connect parents with their children’s learning in the classroom. It basically helps parents stay updated about their kids performance at school anytime, anywhere. Using Edomodo for Parents, parents will be able to  check their kids upcoming assignments, homework submissions, teacher announcements, and many more.

Some other features that Edmodo for Parents offer to users:

  • See what homework is upcoming or overdue
  • Get notified when assignments are turned in
  • Read and review teacher announcements
  • View lesson, quiz, and event schedules
  • Link all their children’s Edmodo accounts

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A Great Overview of The Flipped Classroom

January 30, 2015
Looking for a short insightful overview of the Flipped Classroom concept? Dr Jackie Gerstein has this wonderful video clip where she explains the essence of flipped classroom. The video is very short, a little over 2 minutes but it really does the job. For those of you looking for more resources and guides on how to integrate this flipped learning paradigm into their instruction, this section has tons of materials to browse through.

I am also sharing with you this chart I created last month comparing some major tools to use for a flipped classroom. You can check the Google Doc version of this chart from this link.

Two Great Tools for Creating Interactive Timelines

January 29, 201
In today’s post I am sharing with you two important web tools that you can use with students in class to create interactive timelines. These timelines can include a wide variety of multimedia materials including: text, images, video, maps and many more. And in the case of Silk, there is even the possibility to invite collaborators to help with editing. Also, both of these apps are available for iPad users.

1- MyHistory

‘Watch and read thousands of fascinating timelines, or create your own. Complete with text, video and pictures to create a dynamic timeline mashup. Using myHistro, you can combine maps and timelines seamlessly into one great presentation, convert any public timeline into a personal pdf file, or export it into Google Earth format for offline storage. All completed timelines can be embedded into your blog and websites for maximum exposure.’

2- Silk
Silk is another excellent tool for creating interactive visualizations. You can use Silk’s drag and drop tools to easily add images, videos, tables, maps, and charts. Silk also allows you to convert your spreadsheets into Silk pages. You can invite anyone to edit and publish data to your Silk page. There are several video tutorials in the site to guide you through the process of building your own Silk visualizations.

Watch this video to have a preliminary idea of what Silk is all about.

A Very Good Checklist for Assessing 21st Century Learning Skills

January 29, 2015
Here is another great resource from Dr. Jackie Gerstein, one of our favourite EdTech bloggers. Jackie designed this beautiful chart featuring  12  attributes and skills that teachers should tend to in their instruction. You can use it as a self-assessment checklist to help you evaluate your teaching practice.

What  I like the most about this chart is the fact that it emphasizes the social and affective component in learning, something which is often overlooked in today’s digitally-focused learning paradigms. These mechanical skill-based and market-oriented paradigms reduce students to ‘cheerful robots’ and view pedagogy as ‘merely a skill, technique, or disinterested method’ to teach pre specified subject matter' (Giroux, 2011). Instead, education should be viewed as an important locomotive not only for gainful employment but also for ‘creating the formative culture of beliefs, practices, and social relations that enable individuals to wield power, learn how to govern, and nurture a democratic society that takes equality, justice, shared values, and freedom seriously.(Kindle Location, 67 from "On Critical Pedagogy").

Jackie's set of attributes featured in this chart chime in with Giroux's view of education as a way of producing citizens who are 'critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgements and act in a socially responsible way.'

Check out Jackie's original post to access more resources and links accompanied with this chart.

Teaching Preschool Children to Thrive in the Classroom

January 29, 2015
While each teaching role is important, perhaps none is more important as the role of teachers involved in pre-K, as this is such an important time in a child's life and is quite often when a child determines whether or not he or she enjoys learning and an academic environment. It may be reassuring or it may be unsettling to discover that your role as a pre-K teacher is so important, but here are some interesting tips from Walnut Montessori Pre-school to help you engage your preschool students in a thriving learning environment.

  • While you cannot control the circumstances and environment which your students are exposed to outside of school, it should be reassuring to know that a great teacher and a great classroom environment can make all the difference in a child's attitude about school. Sometimes it takes a bit of insight into best practices and child development in order to know how to help a child succeed, and that is where this list of tips for teaching preschool children to thrive in the classroom comes into play:
  •  Remember that young children learn through play: Young children learn best through playful interaction with their environment. Children love to role-play and pretend, but these activities are so much more than just play. Children make sense of their environment, of human interactions, and of encounters and experiences they have had through the day by role-playing these scenarios over again. It is important for young children to learn through play, and so your role as teacher is to take advantage of and harness a child's ability to learn while playing. There are many activities you can set up and encourage to help a child learn the best way he or she knows how.
  •  Keep in mind that all children are naturally curious: Children love to learn; it is only as a child enters late elementary grades or middle school that their interest in learning wanes for a variety of reasons. As a pre-K teacher, it is your responsibility to keep a child's natural curiosity kindled and burning. Provide a stimulating and creative environment that encourages a child to engage and to learn.
  • Set a routine: Young children respond well to routines, and if they are used to procedures and routines, they will better cope with stressful situations or any difficulty they may encounter throughout their day at preschool.
  • Transition effectively: Young children have a difficult time transitioning from one activity to the next, particularly if they are enjoying the activity they are involved in. Find effective ways to transition, such as giving warning before a change in activity and perhaps setting up a fun transition procedure, such as singing a song while transitioning or playing upbeat music while the children transition.