Saturday, October 8, 2011

PE3 iMovie

Complete! I must admit to a certain amount of pride in earning my first ever certificate of completion. A part of me wants to send my mom a copy for the fridge :) 

Just to comment on the training in general, I really enjoyed and benefited from the tutorial by Garrick Chow. The short clips were a perfect length and easy to digest, the lessons themselves were very easy to follow, and I appreciated the text boxes that popped up to help us follow along with keyboard commands and menu shortcuts. I was also very impressed by the fact that, with a more premium membership, users of could have access to the sample files that Garrick Chow used in his lesson.

The director of technology at my school has expressed interest in having some faculty members make software training videos, not unlike the iMovie ’11 Essential Training course, for other teachers.  Having seen this example of a lesson on, I’m more inspired than ever! I’ve already made a few very short videos, about three minutes in length each, using Screenflow. This tutorial has shown me just how powerful and useful a video training segment can be.

Regarding iMovie, I’ve been very impressed by features I previously did not know the application offered. Some of these I know are restricted to the newest version. I particularly enjoyed working with the trailers. As you’ll see in my video, I might have had just a little bit too much fun in that arena…enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PE2 iMovie

Well, I’m immersed in iMovie! If you’ve read my previous PE1 iMovie post, then you know that my greatest source of frustration with iMovie has traditionally been the video editing. Generally, I end up using shortcuts in Screenflow and Quicktime to do quick and dirty cuts. Now, having watched the “Editing Video” segment on the tutorial, I feel much more confident doing advanced editing in iMovie. 

A screenshot of my work in iMovie

I realize now that a lot of my initial hesitation was due to my lack of familiarity with so many of the terms used in the iMovie interface. I had no idea, for example how the stabilization feature worked in iMovie. Before, I was also very tied to the notion of having a timeline with which to build a movie. Seeing my movie as simply a collection of clips was counterintuitive to me. Even worse, iMovie wrapped my clips; the default view did not show them organized in a linear fashion! I tried working around this by using the single row button in the project window. Initially, I worked in iMovie exclusively using this view, since it felt more like other video editing applications with which I was familiar. Now, having taken the time to play around in the iMovie, I must confess that I feel equally, if not more, comfortable working with the clips in default layout.

Finally, I was previously unaware of all the different methods available for sorting clips. I love the video clip tagging options and people search tools. (Maybe a future version of iMovie will take a page from iPhoto’s book and do facial recognition…dare to dream!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

PE1 iMovie

Greetings from the depths of iMovie! I’m currently watching the tutorial on iMovie ’11. As I begin this practical experience in ETC, I’m frightfully aware of just how much I have to learn about the software!

Screenshot of my progress in the Lynda iMovie tutorial

I’ve used iMovie in the past, but not terribly extensively. I am still not very comfortable using the iMovie video editing interface. Compared to other editing software, such as Quicktime Pro and Screenflow, I find iMovie very cumbersome. I’m sure that overcoming this aversion is simply a matter of getting enough hands-on practice, and so I’m enthusiastic about the new insights that this upcoming week will bring.

Already, I’m interested in the video trailers that iMovie practically builds for its users. Since I know that this week of learning will culminate in a one-minute video produced by yours truly, I’m considering using one of these templates to guide my project. I think that they can be used very effectively in the classroom to generate student interest in new topics. Of course, the full power of any software tool is only realized when students use it themselves to generate new content. I am eager to take what I learn about iMovie and bring it back to my classroom.

Many of this blog’s readers already know that I work at a school that is very fortunate in its administration’s commitment to technology integration. We have a one-to-one laptop program for students and teachers. (Thanks to my masters program at Full Sail University, though, I’m the only person on campus with a MacBook Pro!) Given this phenomenal setting, I see it as my job to introduce students to as many different ways of expressing themselves as I can; iMovie will be an important addition to their toolkit.

BP3 SimpleDiagrams

Ever since my school dropped its site license for Inspiration, I’ve been on the hunt for good mind mapping software. Honestly, I don’t use mind mapping very much myself, but my students find it valuable, and every time I lead a technology training workshop for other teachers, someone invariably expresses interest in applications that make brainstorming easier in the classroom.

So, given the opportunity to explore some Web 2.0 tools on GO2WEB20, I took advantage and ran two searches, one for “mind map” and the other for “brainstorm.” I was surprised to find only a few hits based on my search terms (including Edistorm, a group mind mapping web app I've used for the past year or so); however, the limited results did make narrowing down my choice of new toy simpler! 

Search results on GO2WEB20
I eventually settled on a downloadable app called SimpleDiagrams. Though I’ll admit to having been tempted, I opted for the free version, with fewer bells and whistles. It didn’t take me long to realize that SimpleDiagram was a barebones sort of application. It came with some included images that could be dragged onto the workspace, a few backgrounds, and the ability to—wait for it—align text. Of course, drawing tools including a line tool, pencil tool and textboxes were available, as well.

SimpleDiagrams interface

So, if I wasn’t drawn in by the vast functionality of SimpleDiagrams, why did I stick to it? Really, because it lived up to its namesake…SimpleDiagrams was easy to use and didn’t waste my time making me figure out how to get started. In addition, I really liked its design. The included images were all line drawings and looked as though they had been hand-drawn with chalk—a welcome change from the cheesy icons I was accustomed to in Inspiration software.

How do I hope to use SimpleDiagrams in my classroom? Check it out!

My product, built using SimpleDiagrams