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Audible Kids

What it is:  Audible Kids was a really exciting find for me today because I am writing an article for the upcoming issue of iLearn magazine about iPods in education.  Audible Kids is a website that engages kids in storytelling through audiobooks.  Kids can download books, read and post reviews for each book, and share their favorites with others.  Kids can discover books searching by keyword, age group, category, award winners, and more.  Students can listen to samples of the stories before they download them with a handy in-browser play feature.  While Audible Kids is not a totally free site, they do have some excellent audiobooks that are free to download.  Roscoe Orman (of Sesame Street) is one of the cheif storytellers on Audible Kids.  Enhanced Audible Kids audiobooks have pictures with the story, perfect for the iPod Touch or a computer center.  For free downloads click here.  Other books range in price from about $0.99 to $20.00.    How to integrate Audible Kids into the classroom:  Because free products for the classroom excited me the most, I will focus on how you can use the free downloads in your classroom.  Use Audible Kids downloads for an iPod listening center, or classroom computer listening center.  Students can register for free Audible Kids accounts and discuss the stories in an online environment with their own classmates as well as children around the world.  Use the stories as a place for students to discover rich storytelling.  Encourage them to listen for voice, emphasis, tone, rhythm as the story is read to them.  Students who learn to listen for these and are exposed to excellent storytellers, will become more expressive readers themselves.  Students could listen to the audiobooks and use a computer drawing program (or just paper and crayon) to draw their own pictures to go along with the story.  This is a great way for kids to learn visualization reading strategies.  If you want to take it a step further, pictures could be gathered into iPhoto or a slideshow accompanied by the audio.  Students will be the illustrator for the audiobooks!     Tips:  If you are in a Mac environment, download Skitch.  Your sudents can draw their pictures on the computer as they listen and they can easily be uploaded to the Skitch website or into iPhoto, Keynote, or Garage Band to create their own illustrated audiobook.  So neat!  Audible Kids has the option of giving the gift of audiobooks.  If this is something you are serious about making a part of your classroom, consider asking parents to donate audiobooks to your classroom library.    Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Audible Kids in your classroom.

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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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