Saturday, April 30, 2011

Paperslide Videos! Easy Student-Made Video Content

Kids like videos. They like watching videos. They like making videos. Videos engage students. Teachers like engaged students. Therefore, teachers should like using videos during instruction.

That's a great concept. In the not-so-distant past, using video in the classroom meant either pushing the play button for a 2 hour sit and stare time or planning out the 2 week computer lab lesson where the teacher had to learn advanced skills and live stressed during the whole project.

This morning, Austin teachers participated in Discovery Education's Virtual Conference and heard Dr. Lodge McCammon of the Friday Institute share the simple Paperslide Video concept in an online webinar. The paperslide video is merely the idea that students create graphic representations on paper that slide across the table below a video camera. No faces on screen, no names given, and the whole process can take less than 25 minutes.

Do you know what 'integers' are?  Watch this student-made video and see if you learn anything.

On Dr. Lodge's website, he discusses  the Why and How to differentiate your instruction in the classroom using these quick one-take videos.  He had over 30 free to use songs on Discovery Streaming in many different curriculum disciplines.  All students have to do is apply the lesson content to their one-page graphics and let their Multiple Intelligences engage them in their learning process.

- Video on "How To Make A Paperslide Video"
- Video and printables describing the successful "No Lecture Classroom"

Teachers using classroom technology, like the standard document camera on the Innovation Station, can easily capture student work in a video and in less than a single class period, they can have students create and publish their work online to be shared with peers and parents! Use the document camera creatively to capture students showing understanding of concepts. It WILL pay off in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reducing File Sizes of PDF Files

So, you have a .pdf file that needs to be shared with people at a different location. Sometimes, those graphically-intensive file can be substantially large files.  Sure, we could put the file on a server, share as a Google Docs upload, or upload to a wiki so others can download it.  Emailing, however, just isn’t a good alternative for large pdf files or any large file for that matter.

One possibly helpful tool is a web-based pdf file compressor. has a very easy to use website that lets anyone upload a file and receive it right back with the file size reduced.

Trying this out several times with 5M pdf files gave different results. One particular 1-page document was reduced 92% shaving almost 4M off the file size.  Another attempt only shaved 14% off of a 32 page pdf at the maximum compression setting.

The nice thing about this site is that it lets you try different compression settings before actually downloading the file.

There are various other downloadable apps that one can install and use to compress pdf file sizes.  ( Using a web-based alternative works well regardless of the computer platform or browser you are using.  Just try to use a fast network if your original pdf is a very large file.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making a Slideshow Using The Innovation Station

Today's topic is demonstrating the capture of images using the Innovation Station's document camera. These pictures can be used in many ways, such as making a slideshow of book pages that can be viewed for multiple class sessions during the week.

What to do with the captured images?  How would YOU use the pictures? Our next post will share some of your ideas as well as give some concrete steps for incorporating captured images into your instructional time with students.  Stay tuned!! 

This video was made using an iPod Touch to capture the video, a Canon Elph to capture buttons on the doc cam during the two-camera shoot, and iMovie '11 to put both camera feeds together. The black bars on the side exist because of the very narrow video captured by the iPod Touch.