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AR Sights

What it is:  Augmented Reality, how cool is that technology?  Dialing up the awesome factor a couple of notches is AR Sights.  AR Sights is a company who makes it possible to view Google Earth right in a web browser and then zoom into places of interest (Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, etc) and take a look at them augmented reality style.  The site brings landmarks to life in four easy steps.  Download the browser add-on, download some points of interest, print out the AR Sights marker, and zoom into Google Earth and take a look.  I am amazed at what this technology provides for students!  Students can zoom right in and manipulate the landmark by moving the paper around.  Now for the downfalls, AR Sights only works on PC’s right now, us Mac folks will have to hunt down a PC or wait until it is available for the Mac.  The other downfall is the downloads, they require administrative rights (some of you may have to convince your IT to let you download this goody).  After you print off the AR Sights marker, you hold it up to your camera and up pops the landmark you have chosen in Google Earth, as you twist, tilt, and move the paper the landmark moves accordingly.  This is SO outstanding! How to integrate AR Sights into the classroom:  AR Sights makes virtual field trips so impressive!  As your students are studying geography, allow them to travel around Google Earth and take a look at the landmarks.  Use AR Sights with a projector or Interactive whiteboard to show your whole class landmarks at the same time.  Create a travel center on your computers where students can travel around and learn about the world.  AR Sights is a great way to bring geography alive!  AR Sights also has a download to use with Google Sketch-up 3-D drawing program (free from Google).  Older students can create their own 3-D augmented reality landmarks.  Students could draw places of interest, your school, etc. and view them with AR Sights as augmented reality.  Talented high-school and college age students (or ambitious teachers) could create Sketch-up models that can be used in education such as the skeletal system, a beating heart, the solar system, historical landmarks, etc. for students to interact with in 3-D augmented reality.  The possibilities with this could be endless!!   Tips:  I learned about AR Sights from a wonderful blog that my friend Raul writes from Spain called technoTIC, check it out!  Thanks Raul!   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using AR Sights in your classroom.  If you or one of your students creates a Sketch Up model for AR Sights let us know about it!

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10 ways to eliminate the distractions around YouTube videos

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video | Posted on 13-06-2012

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What it is: YouTube is a truly wonderful learning resource.  What isn’t so great: all of the garbage that can come along with it (i.e. advertising, comments, related videos…in short-distractions). Luckily, schools have some great options for using YouTube differently.  Some of these tools I have written about before and some are new additions…hence the new post! :)

  • YouTube for Schools- This is a YouTube that has been created just for schools.  Network administrators must be involved so that they can add this option for YouTube into your filtering system.  This is a completely customizable option that lets teachers and administrators add videos to a playlist that you have predetermined you want students to watch.  Teachers can find videos by Common Core Standard, subject or grade.  Students can watch videos that teachers and administrators have approved or any YouTube Edu video (think Kahn Academy, PBS, TED, Stanford, etc.).
  • SafeShare TV- This site lets students watch YouTube videos without ads, links, comments and related videos.  You also have the option to crop videos and share videos with a unique URL.
  • YouTubeXL- This is a service that YouTube provides that lets you watch videos on large screens without the ads and comments. Neat tip: if you time “quiet” before the YouTube url, it takes you to a safe page where you can watch a YouTube video.  WAY cool and easy to do on the fly!
  • Clean VideoSearch- This site lets students search through YouTube videos without the comments, ads and busy sidebar.  It has additional features like the ability to choose how many videos you want to see on each page in your search.
  • Clea.nr– This service (a browser plugin) deletes all of the obnoxious extras that hang around videos (ads, comments, related videos). You can also search YouTube without all of the extras showing up.
  • ViewPure– This site cleans out all the clutter and gives you just a video.  Bonus: There is a quick button that you can add to your browser so that you can go to a video, click on “Pure” in your bookmark bar and instantly have a clean video.
  • Dragontape– This service lets you drag videos into a timeline and share them easily with students.  This is great for mashing up several videos, or cropping multiple videos into one.
  • Movavi– This is a video conversion service. Wonderful for teachers who can’t or don’t want to access a video directly from YouTube.  Copy/paste the url you want to convert, choose a file type, done!
  • Zamzar– This is another great video conversion service.  Works quickly and easily!
  • SaveYouTube- This site used to be called KickYouTube.  Here you can enter the url and download it to your computer to play offline.

How to integrate less distracting YouTube videos into the classroom:  This one is really a no brainer: want to use YouTube? Clean it up!  I find great content I find on YouTube (as do my students). All of the “extras” around the videos can be SO distracting as a searcher and viewer.  These options are outstanding for making videos less distracting so that your students can focus on the learning happening.

I find that students head to YouTube (even before Google) when they want to learn something new.  They are generally pretty successful at finding a video that will teach them how to do what they want to do.  Very handy for self guided learning!

Tips: Always try these tools out at school BEFORE using with students.  Some of them won’t work depending on your school’s filters and policies.

Leave a comment and share how less distracting YouTube videos are rocking your classroom.

Comments (2)

I would also suggest using EmbedPlus for several features for interacting with YouTube. For example, it supports slow motion, looping, chopping/cropping, and much more. Take a look: http://www.embedplus.com/

Great Idea, embed plus is another nice option.

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