#edtech #esl YouTube annotations provide a discussion space layered onto each video.
In my previous post, Interactive Videos, I shared some examples of YouTube videos that incorporate some new interactive features of the site that overlay buttons and links that can take you to a different segment of the video or to a different video or website entirely.
These kinds of pop-up messages have been crowding onto YouTube videos since this feature became available. If used gratuitously, they are annoying, but when used to add supplemental information, they can be quite useful. As one example, take a look at the video tutorial for making the above image. It’s a straightforward and informative two-minute video. At about the 1:30 mark, some red text appears that seems to be essential information that was omitted in the original shooting of the video. Adding a quick note is a simple solution that does not require reshooting the video.
But there must be more we can do with these tools. I’d been thinking about some different ways to incorporate these techniques when I came across a presentation made by Craig Howard at the Indiana University Foreign / Second Language Share Fair. The page includes a recording of the presentation, a handout that summarizes how to annotate YouTube videos, and a link to an example video, which I’ve included below.
The nice thing about this approach is that a video, in this case a video for teachers-in-training to discuss, can include the online conversation layered right over top of the video. Comments by different speakers can be made in different colors and the length of time they are displayed can easily be adjusted as appropriate. Of course, everyone involved needs to have free Google or Gmail accounts to sign in, and the video must be configured to allow annotations by people other than the person who uploaded it.
The ability to integrate video materials and online discussion so seamlessly opens up some interesting potential for interacting with videos in new and interesting ways. I’ve recently looked at some options for online bulletin boards / sticky notes, including Google Docs, but incorporating this style of discussion directly onto the video is fantastic.
I’m still kicking around different options for making YouTube videos more interactive. If you have other examples or ideas, please share them in the comments below.
Most schools and classrooms have bulletin boards, but what is the online digital equivalent? If you are using a course management system, there are lots of tools built-in that approximate this experience. But if not, there are various options that offer lots of options for interaction between users.
They can be used asynchronously so that people can leave messages anytime and the conversation happens over a long period of time. They could also be used in real time so that users can interact in a very visual environment. Messages can be various sizes, color-coded, and dragged around so they can be grouped together in various ways.
One online bulletin board is Wallwisher.com, which allows a user to create a wall to which other users can add “sticky notes.” It’s quick and easy to use, but unfortunately it appears to be a victim of it’s own success — in my recent experience the site is not loading quickly, possibly due to being overwhelmed by a large volume of users. If these issues can be worked out, Wallwisher will be a very useful tool.
A very similar tool is Stixy, which allows sticky notes and other items (photos, documents, and dated to-do list items) to be posted on the wall. Clicking on an item opens a menu with lots of options for color, font, as well as placement (in the front or in the back, relative to the other notes). You can also lock certain notes so that instructions or introductions, for example, can’t be moved around like the rest of the notes. And the site doesn’t seem to have any problems loading due to demand. Yet.
This site also allows the creation of sticky notes, including very small word-sized stickies, which could work very well on an interactive whiteboard as a way to make fridge-magnet-poetry dragable words.
In addition to the sticky-specific applications above, it’s worth noting that documents created in Google Docs can be configured to be edited by a group of people. Create a new document and use different colored boxes in place of stickies and the same effect can be achieved.
I love a good boardgame and I love a good mashup. So, when I read about the Boardgame Remix Kit on GeekDad, I had to write about it. I don’t own the kit (which comes in ebook, book, card, and app form) yet, but I did take a check out the free Valentine’s Edition download, which looks like a lot of fun.
The first game, WLTM Humpty Dumpty is a kind of madlibs game in which players create personal adds based on Trivial Pursuit cards (WLTM = Would Like To Meet). The second turns Monopoly into a game of Divorce! in which players use their money to pay lawyers to fight over property. (I have to admit, my first reaction to this game was that it might be about as much fun as going through a real divorce, but after reading the rules, there is some strategy involved that could be fun to play.) The other two games are based on Scrabble and Clue.
How can these games be used in a classroom? Like other forms of media (books, movies, music, etc.), there are several ways in which these games can be used. Students can play them and report back on their experience. This could be as simple as Was it fun? and How do you play? to evaluating whether the game accurately simulated real life. For example, was Divorce! similar to a real divorce? Why or why not? Students could also compare the original version of the game to the mashup version. Finally, students could use these mashups as inspiration to seek out other versions of existing board games or even to create their own. All of these could be fun ways to practice English on Valentine’s Day.
Have you ever taken a picture of the board at the front of your ESL classroom? It’s actually a pretty good way to capture lots of notes in a hurry, but you won’t be able to edit those notes once the picture is snapped.
Some document scanners have built in text recognition, but it can take a while for the scanner bar to drag across the document. Sure, it’s only a matter of seconds, but if you have a big stack of documents to put through the scanner one page at a time, it can be a real inconvenience. In fact, this scanner bar technology (a one-dimensional sensor being dragged across a two-dimensional surface) seems just a bit out of date, doesn’t it?
Enter a new line of scanners described in Popular Science that incorporate digital camera sensors to capture an entire document at one time — no more waiting for the sensor to drag.
But wouldn’t it be nice to snap a picture instead of scanning a document? Well, it turns out there is an app for that. Scanner Pro (reviewed by cnet) turns your iPhone into a .pdf-producing document scanner. Forget trying to find a fax machine when you need to sign a document and send it to someone. Sign a document, then scan it and email it, all from your phone. There are other apps available for iPhones and iPods beginning at $0.99 and likely similar options for other flavors of smartphone as well. The future is here today!
Thanks to the OSU Yammer community for ideas and links used in this post.