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Showing posts with label digital tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital tools. Show all posts
Digital Stop Motion Animation Tips and Tricks

Digital Stop Motion Animation Tips and Tricks


Stop motion animation goes digital with fun and engaging design challenges!

Stop motion animation goes digital with fun and engaging design challenges!

We all want our students to master technology tools and use them to create original works. Stop Motion STEM challenges are designed to allow students to explore presentation software while creating something using the steps of the engineering design process. 

The best part is that nearly every topic and subject area can be incorporated into these challenges, so they can be used as a part of your daily academic activities, not as an extra thing to fit into your schedule. 

What is Digital Stop Motion?

Stop motion is typically done with physical objects and a camera. Instead of getting out all of those materials, we can do it digitally. 

Using either Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, students work in teams to animate a story across multiple slides and devices. 

This will require them to problem solve their way through the design process. Bonus points if you have them document their process and reflect on it at the end!

Standards Addressed with Stop Motion

ISTE Standards:

  • Innovative Designer: 4d
  • Creative Communicator: 6b
  • Global Collaborator: 7c (if working in groups)

Tips for Teachers:

Introduce students to the idea of producing an animated GIF or video using Google Slides or PowerPoint. 
They may have heard of the Red Ball Challenge and there are some great videos on YouTube demonstrating it, but I also recommend showing some of the very early cartoon animations by Walt Disney if you can. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvwa2Kgzc the first minute shows how animation works but the whole video is great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhfp6Z8z1cI how animation works - maybe skip the section about the women workers, it isn't PC. 

Vocabulary to Introduce:

  • Animation
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Frame
  • Frame Rate
  • Scene
  • Script
  • Stop Motion
  • Storyboard
Stop motion animation goes digital with fun and engaging design challenges!

Student Introduction and Tips:
Stop motion animation goes digital with fun and engaging design challenges!

Stop Motion is a way of animating a story. The object on the screen is moved a tiny bit each time (on each slide) so that when you play the presentation, it looks like the object is moving as though in a movie. 

Once you have the scene drawn, the computer makes it possible to duplicate the slide, so you don't have to draw every movement by hand. A major time saver! 

All you do is duplicate the scene (slide) and move one thing. Then do that again like 50 times or more, making one small movement each time, and your end result will look like an animation!
I know 50+ times sounds like a lot, but it goes quickly once you get the hang of it. 

After completing all of the slides in the stop motion animation, you may want to share it with others. A great way to do this is to publish the slide show with custom timings so that it starts and stops automatically. This isn't technically a video, but it will show the entire stop motion animation. 

Make your process easier with these tips:
  1. Use the edges of the slides to begin and end your animation
  2. Duplicate slides
  3. Make small, equal movements by using the arrow keys
  4. Layer objects in the scene
  5. Use transparency options
  6. Use text to tell a story across multiple slides
  7. Group objects to move them together
  8. Don't forget ctrl+z= undo
The secret to working across multiple devices:
If you've heard of the Red Ball Challenge, you might be excited to try creating a stop motion animation that appears to move from one device to the next. 

The key is actually really simple: blank slides

That's right! The devices all actually have exactly the same number of slides so that they start and stop at the same time. 
To make it look like the animation is moving across devices, simple calculate how many blank slides need to play on each device before and after it's "your turn."

Example for a 150 slide animation:
Device 1: 25 animation slides, 125 blank slides
Device 2: 25 blank slides, 25 animation slides, 100 blank slides
Device 3: 50 blank slides, 25 animation slides, 75 blank slides
Etc. for the rest of the devices.

There you have it! The whole process of digital stop motion animation. 

Stop motion animation goes digital with fun and engaging design challenges!

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Brittany Washburn
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How to Host Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences

How to Host Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences


Are some (or even all) of your parent teacher conferences online this time around?  Here are a few tips to help you get through them!
Are some (or even all) of your parent teacher conferences online this time around?  Here are a few tips to help you get through them!


Platforms

No matter what platform you pick, get everyone at your school on board with the same one to minimize confusion for parents and teachers alike.  Some of the most popular include:


Scheduling

  •  Allow extra time for tech issues by leaving a 5-10 minute window in between each available time block.

  • Use a website like SignUp Genius

  • Make a shared Google doc or sheet.  You provide the list of times, then parents put their names beside the empty time slots.

  • You can always just schedule a parent-teacher meeting simply by making a call or sending an email too.


Are some (or even all) of your parent teacher conferences online this time around?  Here are a few tips to help you get through them!
Online Conference Recommendations

  • Send an email explaining what to expect during the conference.  Give parents an idea of what you plan to discuss, provide a step-by-step guide for signing into your virtual conference space, and include reminders to check their camera, microphone, and speakers in advance.  

  • Consider filming a video to walk parents through the steps. One video could even be used for the entire school, so talk with other teachers and you just might create a resource that can be used in perpetuity.

  • If you’re already teaching online, you might recommend that parents just use the same setup that their kids do every day for the conference. 

  • If you'd like to share student work at a virtual conference, consider these methods:

    • Use a document camera and screen-sharing to look at each piece of work.

    • Prepare a slideshow (or have older students build a slideshow) of their work. 

    • Scan student work and send it via email before the conference starts.

    • Make copies of the work you’d like parents to see, then send it home with students the day before conferences. Then you and the parents can both have copies of the work in front of you when you talk.

  • Don’t waste more than a minute or two trying to resolve technical issues during the actual conference. It's okay if you need to fall back on a regular phone call or even reschedule if you think you won't have enough time left to devote to the conversation.


General Advice

  • Before meeting with parents, gather your data and have it at your fingertips. Make sure to include assessment data, academic progress, and behavioral/social performance.  Where are my spreadsheet people?  You know you could make this awesome.

  • Use the famed “compliment sandwich” to offer feedback on how students are doing at school. First, say something specific their child has done well or shown improvement in. Then, bring up an area of concern. End with an affirmation, referencing another specific strength.

  • Form positive connections with parents by drawing them into the conversation. Ask open-ended questions like:

    • What questions do you have for me?

    • In what areas can I offer you support at home?

  • Set a timer in a place that's visible to all parties.  You can always schedule a follow-up (perhaps even with an admin sitting in) if it becomes clear one is needed.  If you do choose to go over by a minute or two, the depleted timer will help make it clear that you are devoting extra time to the conversation.


Are you a computer lab teacher who has to give grades? You might like this post: Everything you want to know about giving grades in the computer lab.
Are some (or even all) of your parent teacher conferences online this time around?  Here are a few tips to help you get through them!

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Brittany Washburn
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The Best Graphic Design Platforms for Students

The Best Graphic Design Platforms for Students


Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home.

Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home. 

Free platforms

Canva 

An amazing tool packed with templates for non-designers to create graphics, presentations, flyers and more.  Both you and your students can find a myriad of uses for this eye-catching technology.  It is free to use, though they do also have a paid option with additional features.


Adobe Spark

It’s easy to make science fair posters, social studies infographics, math flashcards, and so much more with Spark Post. Pick a template or start from scratch.  You can also create web pages and videos.  U.S. teachers with a G Suite for Education (Google) account and supported email domain can set up a Spark classroom account for free, as can licensed educational institutions and nonprofit educational organizations providing school- or district-wide access.  


GIMP 

This is a completely free photo manipulation program similar to Adobe Photoshop.  It is definitely not a plug and play technology, but if you’re looking to get some serious work done with older students this is a great option and there are tutorial videos available.


Blender

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports 3D modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline.  It is another tool that has a pretty steep learning curve, but you can get a lot done with it!


SketchUp 

3D modeling software, free with a G Suite or Microsoft education account.  This one is usable as early as the primary grades, and has a great bank of curriculum to get you and your class inspired.


Vectr, Gravit & Inkscape 

These platforms are all free, fully functional & fantastically rated design apps that specialize in creating vector graphics.


Piskel 

Piskel is a free online editor for animated sprites & pixel art.  You and your student can create animations in your browser or download free desktop & offline applications for Windows, OSX and Linux.  You can export your work as animated GIFs for sharing, spritesheet PNG/ZIP for bigger projects, and you can choose to make any of your sprites public or private.


WordArt.com

A free online word cloud art creator that enables you to easily create amazing and unique word cloud art with your students. 


Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home.
Paid platforms that are also worth a try!

Designsta

This is a monthly subscription, but I have been using it for nearly 3 years and it is FANTASTIC. Create amazing designs in minutes from easily editable templates. Choose from social media graphics, workbooks, worksheets, printables, planners, documents, web graphics, cards, posters, stickers, magazines, menus and more. 


ThingLink

An education technology platform that makes it easy to augment images, videos, and virtual tours with additional information and links. Teachers and students can use ThingLink to create accessible, visual learning experiences.  There are yearly subscription options for individual teachers or whole districts that allow course and assignment creation,  as well as enabling both you and your students to create content.  There is also a free plan for teachers to use, it just doesn’t include any student seats.


If you love to integrate literacy with tech lessons then check out this eBook on image files as a great way to build background information:



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Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home.

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Brittany Washburn
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10 Ways to Use Flipgrid to Encourage Classroom Discussions

10 Ways to Use Flipgrid to Encourage Classroom Discussions


Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings.  Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.

Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings. Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.
  • Create videos to recommend their favorite book. Using Flipgrid’s augmented reality (AR) feature, you can even use a video QR code to create an engaging way to share them. After students record their review, the teacher can print the QR code and tape it onto the corresponding book in their classroom library, and the student’s classmates can use their devices to scan the code and watch the review as a way to help them decide if they’d like to read that book.
  • Discuss a book the class has read. You can leave a guiding question (or a choice of several) to get your students on the right track, then let them respond. If things are going well they can use each other's videos to keep going deeper and bouncing around ideas!
  • Respond to a hot topic issue. Pick a prompt that touches on what is important to your students. You might even consider sending out a survey so your students can vote on which issue they'd like to respond to.
  • Answer an essay question. Your students can practice their speaking skills in addition to their writing skills with a video presentation of their answer to an essay question. With a limit on the length of videos, this is also a great opportunity for students to practice crafting answers that are succinct as well as proficient.
  • Record an ongoing story. The first student can think of a title, then the second record a 30-second beginning, then next builds on that and so on and so forth.
Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings.  Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.
  • Activate prior knowledge on a topic. Have your students record a video sharing their background knowledge on a topic before you begin, and view one another’s videos as part of the first lesson. After the unit is over, students can even reply to their original video sharing everything new they learned.
  • Get brainstorming. Students can jump very quickly to planning or building before they get out their ideas in a brainstorming session. Slow them down a bit and capture their thinking by having them throw out and build on one another’s ideas on Flipgrid.
  • Do some debugging. After completing a math task, reading a passage, working through the design process or coding a computer program students can make videos to reflect on the process by identifying errors and sharing how they fixed them. Have students adding annotations either by writing directly on the video when they record it, or adding sticky notes with additional text. This feature is a great way for students to show their thinking.
  • Practice world language skills. With Flipgrid it is possible for teachers in different districts and different countries to collaborate. Students can make videos to practice vocabulary they’re learning, and instead of being limited to practicing with the people in their class they can engage and build their skills with native speakers or other students around the world studying the same language.
  • Catch-up students who are absent. Create a topic for work completed in class, and if a student is absent one of their peers can post a quick video about what assignments were completed in class so the absent students can easily find out what they missed. Build task management and communication skills for the whole class by rotating which students have this responsibility each week.
You might also like the blog post How to Use Google Docs with Elementary Students

Looking for a Flipgrid tutorial? Subscribe to the Technology Toolbox for Teachers. A one-stop library of technology tools tutorials for teachers. Click the image for more information and to see sample tutorials. 


Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings.  Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.


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Brittany Washburn
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