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Newseum

What it is:  Newseum is a neat way for students to see the news from around the country.  Front pages of newspapers from around the US are displayed on a map.  Scroll over the map and the front page of the newspaper pops up.  Click on a different country to display newspapers from around the world. How...

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My Simple Show: Create your own explainer videos for free!

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Character Education, Create, Foreign Language, Government, History, Inquiry, Language Arts, Maker Space, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Technology, video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 22-09-2016

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Create  explainer videos free with My Simple Show!

What it is: My Simple Show Video Creator lets students easily create professional level “explainer” videos. The finished product looks just like a Common Craft video, so cool! The step-by-step tool helps students think about storyline and the flow of explaining a concept.

How to integrate My Simple Show into the classroom: My Simple Show is a fantastic option for digital storytelling. Students begin by choosing to write their own script, or by uploading a Power Point presentation. Next, they can choose from one of many templates to start from, or alternately, start from scratch. The templates are an awesome option because they give kids an outline and break down the story telling/explaining process. For each step in the process, it guides students with a prompt and with some examples. My Simple Show auto-magically picks up words in the script and suggests pictures. Students can use the pre-selected images, choose an image from the My Simple Show library of images, or upload their own image or picture. In the final step, students add audio. This can be computer generated or students can record their own audio. The finished product is pretty impressive! Below is a video I made quickly today.

My Simple Show’s obvious use is for explanatory digital storytelling, but it would also be a great way for students to reflect on a field trip, tell a story, retell new learning (pssst. this is an awesome way to check for understanding!), or create their own “textbooks.”

Students can use My Simple Show to explain a historical event, introduce a biological process, introduce a physical law, summarize literature, summarize a biography, discuss pros and cons, explain a law, etc. Use My Simple Show to create whole class stories where each student contributes a portion of the explanation or story.  This type of video can be made over a few weeks using classroom devices as a writing center.  This would be a fun way to create an A to Z type book of learning, reflections by students after a unit, a 100 day video,  fact vs. opinion video,  a class video of poems, a phonics video, or a class video about a field trip that students took. Students can take pictures of science experiments and create a digital video detailing the experiment with text, images, and student voice reflections included.  The finished product can be shared with parents and families easily through YouTube, Vimeo, or downloaded as a MP4 file.

For a back to school night activity, take a picture of each student to add to a class video and record students sharing an explanation of a school day. This same idea could be used in preparation for parent-teacher conferences. Students can create a video about their learning during the quarter/trimester, record thoughts about why they are proud of the work they did, and add reflections.  These can be shared as a starting point for conferences, at the end of the conference, parents have a keepsake. My Simple Show could also be used for character education. Give the students a scenario or problem, and have them work out a step-by-step explanation or solution.

Because of the voice recording capabilities, My Simple Show, would be a great way for students to practice a foreign language.  They can illustrate a word or phrase accompanied by the audio.  Classes could work together to create a “living” digital glossary.

Be sure to give your students access to My Simple Show in your Maker Space, it is a great option for students to choose!

Tips: My Simple Show has video guides that lead students through each step of the process…I definitely recommend watching these at least once as a class or for the first round of creation!

Everything I Know About Education, I Learned from Big Hero 6

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, education reform, Grade Level, inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources, video | Posted on 11-11-2014

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Yesterday, Anastasis teachers took some of our students (we auctioned ourselves off to the highest bidder) to see Big Hero 6.

It. Was. Brilliant.

We give it two thumbs up and five stars.

I loved the inventiveness, the curiosity, and sheer ingenuity of the characters. I loved the development of each of the different personalities. I loved that the main character’s catch phrase becomes “just look at it from a new angle.”

During the movie, one of our students looked at me and excitedly whispered, “Mrs. Tenkely, this movie is SO perfect for us! That is exactly what we do at Anastasis! Aren’t you glad we get to see THIS movie?!”

She could not be more right, this is what we do at Anastasis. We look at problems from lots of different angles and recognize that learning is ongoing and there is often more than one way to solve a problem. I’m so excited that our students can verbalize this!

Disney is a fantastic story teller, Big Hero 6 is no exception. As I reflected on the movie, I kept making connections between the movie and the way that we teach. Like everything else I encounter, I watched with an educator world view. As such, I thought I would follow in the footsteps of my friend @thenerdyteacher and write an “Everything I know about education, I learned from a movie” post.

**Fair warning and spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you might want to wait on this post.** 🙂

Without further ado, here is Everything I Know About Education, I Learned from Big Hero 6:

  • The main character, Hero, thinks that he knows his own path in life (illegal robotics fighting) until his brother, Tadashi, shows him a new way. Tadashi doesn’t try to convince Hero with words, instead he quietly leads and exposes him to a new way of seeing his options.
    • Lesson: Some kids need to be shown/exposed to new ideas and perspectives. A lot of kids aren’t motivated by tests and grades, so they choose apathy (in whatever form that takes). As an educator, it is up to me to help kids see their options. It is my job to help them realize that they are more than a test or grade score. We can’t take for granted that kids will see that on their own.
  • Tadashi takes Hero to the “Nerd School” lab where he works and introduces Hero to his friends. It is Hero’s curiosity and desire to tinker with new ideas that leads him to the decision to use his talents.
    • Lesson: We need to capitalize on the natural curiosity that kids have. We need to give them lots of opportunities to tinker with new ideas. We need to support them and help them to see what their talents are.
  • Big Hero 6 has two lead characters that are strong, smart females. They are brilliant! One is a little edgy and the other is a totally girly fashonista. Both are brilliant inventors.
    • Lesson: Duh, girls are scientists and inventors, too! Never underestimate what any of your students can do. Every single one of them is unique and has gifts that should be cultivated!
  • Nerd School is cool. Like, really cool.
    • Lesson: Own your geek and help your students own their geek. Help your kids see the beauty in whatever they are passionate about. Help them own it. Teach them not to apologize or feel bad for the gifts they have (regardless of what others may say). Nerd school is way cool.
  • When the friends of Tadashi come together to support Hero, they all become heroes.
    • Lesson: Together our ideas are better. Help kids understand that we can appreciate ideas that are different from ours and that each new insight adds to a bigger whole.
  • Hero needs friends after Tadashi dies.
    • Lesson: We need each other for moral support. We don’t always know what is happening in our student’s lives. Those that push us away the most, may also be the very kids who need us the most. Help students connect, help them see each other’s genius. At Anastasis Academy, one of our teachers does an activity (throughout the year) called “speed friending.” Each student is connected with another student where they have an intentional 2 minute conversation where they have to go deeper than surface level. I have never seen whole classes of students gel and support each other the way that @lancefinkbeiner‘s kids do. And these are Jr. High students. There is something to connection.
  • Human connection trumps technology (I’ll avoid the spoiler here, but you will know it when you see it).
    • Lesson: Technology is cool and can be the catalyst for amazing learning, but it is not the main thing. The main thing is human connection. As teachers, we deal in humanity. Make sure that is always the focus in your classroom.
  • “There is someone in there, I have to go in.” Twice in the movie a character makes a decision to face danger on behalf of another.
    • Lesson: No child left behind. Really! We have to have this attitude in our classrooms (failed political strategies aside). It is up to us not to leave kids behind. Our job is to do the dangerous thing and go in after them. They all matter.
  • Baymax is the greatest robot ever. The connection he makes with other characters (even with the limitations of his programming) is really fabulous.
    • Lesson: Technology can be used as a connector. I’ve seen this over and over again. See: Blogger Alliance, and even today I got an email from the production company that created the How We Got To Now series. They read my blog post and sent it on to Steven Johnson (the author and host of How We Got to Now). Excitement and joy ensued. Technology connects your students to the wider world and can enhance human connection.
  • In the movie, every character has an attitude of possible. Of, “we can figure it out.”
    • Lesson: We can foster grit. We can help students develop an attitude of possible. They can figure it out. They can find solutions, they are genius.

Big Hero 6 might be top 10 Disney movies. It really is pretty brilliant. It encourages creativity, science, math, invention, and innovation. All things that I want to foster at Anastasis.

 

If you are an administrator, Big Hero 6 might be the perfect movie to take your staff to as a professional development outing. Just saying.

We are hosing an education conference in February! Join us for a weekend of inspiration, conversation, and implementation. Early Bird Registration through the end of November!

Go Animate 4 Schools

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Create, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 07-12-2010

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What it is: I am really excited that Go Animate finally has an education version!  Go Animate is a tool I have written about before (actually I wrote about Domo Animate which is powered by Go Animate.) Go Animate 4 Schools offers teachers 100 students accounts for free. It operates within a secured, private environment where students and teachers can create animations and interact.  The moderation interface keeps teachers up-to-date with all of students creations.  The Go Animate Studio makes animation easy, use backgrounds, props, and characters to create an animation masterpiece.  The drag and drop interface is easy enough for all ages.  Students can create their own characters which provides an endless supply of unique characters for each story.  Private Social Networking tools teach students how to use social networks for sharing and commenting in a safe, controlled environment.

The Free Go Animate 4 Schools account includes 1 teacher account, 100 student accounts, 2 min animations for students, teachers have the ability to create characters, unlimited music upload, 6 text-to-voice voices to choose from, students get 50 text-to-voices a month, and unlimited mic recording.

Go Animate 4 Schools also has a Plus account with some additional benefits including unlimited accounts, unlimited time limits for animations, students can create characters, moderation, group management, 16 text-to-voice voices to choose from, up to 200 text-to-voices a month, unlimited image, video, and swf uploads. The School Plus Account starts at $12 a year (not breaking anyone’s budget!) you can request a quote for your school from the Features page.

How to integrate Go Animate 4 Schools into your curriculum: Allow students to present their knowledge creatively using Go Animate 4 Schools instead of requiring the traditional report, diorama, or poster plastered with pictures and information.  Students can create an impressive alternative book report by creating an animated book talk, interviewing a character from the story, or re-creating an important scene in the story.  Students can display their knowledge about a historical figure by “interviewing” the historical person of interest or an eye-witness of a historical event.  Students can write a screen play and then transform them into animations. Animations are also a great way to illustrate vocabulary words and story problems in math.  In the foreign language classroom, students can create short cartoons practicing the new vocabulary they are learning.   The possibilities are endless!  Hold a Go Animate premier party day in your classroom so that students can watch each other’s finished animations and learn from their peers.

Don’t forget that you (the teacher) can use Go Animate too!  Animate introductions to lessons, special notes to your students, or complex concepts.  If you are like me, this is the time of year that inevitably comes with a cold and a day without a voice. Use Go Animate characters to do that talking/teaching for you.  Students will love the change of pace and it will save you from an even sorer throat.

Tips: Be sure to check out the Lesson Gallery for some great ideas for using Go Animate with your students.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Go Animate 4 Schools  in  your classroom!

Google Search Stories Video Creator

Posted by admin | Posted in History, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-04-2010

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What it is: Do you remember Google’s advertisement at the 2010 Superbowl?  It was called Google Search Stories and showed a story of Parsian Love  through a series of Google searches. Brilliant.  Now you and your students can create your very own Google Search story with Google Search Stories Video Creator.  There are three steps to creating your own Google Story: 1. Write the story, 2. Add Music, 3. Preview and Upload.  As you write your story,  you can choose to search by web, blog, images, maps, news, product search, and books.  

How to integrate Google Search Stories Video Creator into the classroom: Google Search story is an innovative way for students to display understanding or tell a story.  This tool teaches students to get to the heart of the story and tell it in a new, creative way.  Students can demonstrate their understanding of history, current events, a book that they have read, or a math sequence.

First, students come up with 7 events to search, paying close attention to story structure.  They should consider mixing web, images, maps, and blogs.  This will make the story more interesting.  Next, students choose music to fit the theme of their story.  It can be comedic, dramatic, romantic, country, horror, family, or sci-fi.  Finally, students can preview their story and share it with the world.

Think about sharing the life of a historical figure, or the story of Romeo and Juliet, or the scientific method in an experiment, or the story of their digital footprint,  or a fictional story that the student created.  Instead of writing out a traditional outline for a story, why not turn it into a Google Story?  The possibilities of this tool are nearly endless!  If you are introducing new information or learning to your class, consider doing it through a Google Story.  Watch the story as a class and find out what your students already know, what they need to learn, and what they want to know.  You could also create a Google Story as a class after new learning.  As you teach, ask students to jot down thoughts about what they could add to their search story to sum up the learning.  This will keep students engaged and thinking critically about the new material.  After the video has been completed, students can access it from home as an outline of what they learned in class.

Tips: Check out the Tips offered for starting a story, these tips will give you, and your students, a great jumping off point.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google Search Stories in your classroom.

We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, inspiration, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 07-04-2010

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What it is: We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For is an inspiring documentary film that explores education in the UK and challenges us to dream of something more.  Big names (Sir Richard Branson, Germaine Greer, Henry Winkler, Bill Bryson, and Sir Ken Robinson) share their experiences with education and offer new ideas for how education can be done.  If you are in the UK, take advantage of the free DVD offer and get the full documentary to share with your students.  Those of us not in the UK can enjoy clips of the film on the We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For website.  There are several clips from the documentary and each of them will leave you inspired and thinking about how education can be transformed.  The site also features some excellent games for students to play.  The first game is called “The Test You Can’t Fail”.  This little quiz asks students a variety of questions and gives them creative career paths to consider based on their interests.  Many of these your students may not have considered and will give them insight into the places they shine.  The second game is called “Future Me”, it is a Bebo App that lets students predict their friends future.  

How to integrate We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For into the classroom: If you can get the documentary for your classroom, do so.  Be inspired by the documentary as a teacher, but also share it with your students.  They need some inspiration for their education and future.  This film is sure to offer plenty.  If you aren’t in the UK, share the webisite clips with your students.  Challenge them to think differently about education.  At first, they may struggle with this task (the way my students did), they expect that there is one right answer.  This is a sad statement about what education has been up to this point, we have primed them to believe that there is only one right answer with a myraid of tests and worksheets that have told them it is so.  Have your students take “The Test You Can’t Fail” quiz, it leads them through a variety of questions and activities.  Students tell what their favorite subject is, swat or save a fly, order grocery items in order of price, connect a video game to the Internet and TV, choose what to do when they get lost, design a t-shirt, memorize a phone number, and arrange a computer desktop.  When students are finished they are given a list of things they are good at, some surprises (things students may not know about themselves), and thoughts about possible career paths.  It seems to work well, my results were education, computers and IT.  🙂 So I guess I am on the right track!  Talk with students about their results. Do they agree/disagree? Were their items on their list that they hadn’t considered?  It is good to dream with students, it gives them aspirations and goals for the future and lets them know that they aren’t the only ones dreaming.

Tips: In the “About the Film” Section, students can watch videos and read bios of the students that star in the documentary.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the We Are The People We’ve Been Waiting For in your classroom.

The Zimmer Twins

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, collaboration, Fun & Games, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 25-03-2010

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What it is: Who are the Zimmer Twins, you might ask?  Edgar and Eva Zimmer are 12 year old twins who appear normal but have developed psychic powers.  Strange things began to happen when the twins adopted a black cat named 13.  On the Zimmer Twins website, students can create their own cartoon movie endings to a story starter or create their own animated movie from scratch.  Students can create and edit movies solo or “Collab-o-write” and work together creating a collaborative movie.   Zimmer Twins runs well in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari making it easy to get to and use in any classroom setting.  You will need Flash 8 (or higher) installed for the Zimmer Twins to work properly.  

How to integrate Zimmer Twins into the classroom: Your students are going to love this site!  They can direct and produce their very own animated movies.  The easiest way to start using Zimmer Twins in the classroom, is to use it as a story starter.  Students can watch a “starter” video and finish the story however they would like.  The first time you introduce the site, it might be fun to complete a video as a class.  Then students can take over and create their own ending to a Zimmer Twins movie.  These video clips make excellent story starters for journal writing even if you can’t take the time to make it into an actual video.  To use as a story starter, show the beginning of the short animation to your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, then let students take over on classroom computers, working together, or writing a journal entry.  After your students are familiar with the Zimmer Twins website, they can start a story from scratch.  Students could direct “screen plays” of their writing, as a way to publish their finished work.  Zimmer Twins would make an excellent alternative to the traditional book report.  Students could create a movie where the main character is being interviewed, the story is being summarized, or retold.  Students could also create movies about historical events, describing a science experiment or concept, in math as a story problem, to demonstrate understanding of character education or for vocabulary practice.  My students have really enjoyed creating movies to show what they have learned on any topic, it is always a sure winner!  Are you looking for new ways to engage your students? Why not create a Zimmer Twins original yourself to introduce a new topic.  If you are looking for more great ideas for using Zimmer Twins in your classroom, be sure to check out the lesson plans on the teacher page, there are some good ones.

Tips: Students can create a movie on Zimmer Twins without registering; however, they will not be able to save their creation.  Creating an account requires an email address.  If this presents a problem in your classroom you can do a few things: 1. create a classroom account that every student logs into and saves their videos on.  Students will need to include their first name or a class number in the title of their video to differentiate it from others in the class.  2. Set up an account for each student using your email account.  You will have to check this email account to provide your students with their passwords. 3. Ask parents to set up accounts for their kids to use at school.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zimmer Twins in your classroom.

Xtranormal Text-to-Movie

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, History, inspiration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, web tools, Websites | Posted on 13-05-2009

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What it is:  Xtranormal Text-to-Movie is another outstanding site that I learned about from @danreeve on Twitter.  This site lets students create and direct their own animated movies.  Students can choose a set, actors, and music for their videos.  Xtranormal allows students a huge amount of control of exactly how their movie will look, they can choose camera angles, animations, expressions, looks, points, and sounds.  The site is very intuative and user friendly for students in third grade (with a little guidance) and up.  I was able to create a movie without reading any instructions in about 5 min.

How to integrate Xtranormal into the classroom:  Xtranormal is a great way for students to express what they know creatively.  Students can use Xtranormal to create mocumentaries on any subject, students could interview historical figures, report on geographical occurances, or create public service announcements.  Xtranormal would be an excellent alternative to the traditional book report.  Students could interview one or several characters from the book or create a little review show about the book.  The Xtranormal interface is intuative enough that the focus will be on the learning, not on the tool.

 

Tips:  Xtranormal is a great way for students to create movies.  Many times schools are restricted from putting videos featuring students online, this is a great way for students to put their creations online without their actual picture being out there.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Xtranormal in your classroom.

Educational Videos

Posted by admin | Posted in History, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 24-04-2009

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What it is:   Educational videos can be expensive, out of date, or hard to find.  Happily there are a few sites working to make it easier to access educational videos for free.  PBS has always been known for their great educational material.  They have hosted videos on their site for some time but they were not located in one place where they could be easily sorted through.  Now PBS has PBS video, all the great PBS material in one easy-to-search place.  You can browse these videos by program, topic, or keyword search.  All videos are on demand, I have been impressed with the quality!  Another great website for on demand free videos is American History in Video by History Education.  American History in Video has more than 5,000 titles in its collection!  The videos allow students to analyze historical events, and look at the events over time through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.  Students and teachers can search videos by year, historical event, people, places, subjects, and by keyword.  This is an outstanding collection of free on demand history video!

How to integrate Educational Videos into the classroom:   Video is an amazing medium for teaching.  It brings textbooks to life and helps students to relate to history and science in new ways.  Kids often find history boring and I believe one of the reasons is that they haven’t had enough life experiences to relate what they are learning to prior knowledge.  Video helps them make connections that reading a textbook can’t do.  Use these videos as an introduction to learning, as a reinforcement during learning, or embedded in lessons. 

 

Tips: Always make sure you watch a video in its entirety before showing it to a class.  Sometimes content may not be age appropriate or as on topic as you would have guessed.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Educational Videos  in your classroom.

The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 17-02-2009

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What it is:   Digital Vaults reminds me of Museum Box that I wrote about a few weeks ago.  The National Archives has put together an amazing site where students can create digital content with primary resources.  Students can search photographs, documents, and other records and collect them.  Students can use collected items to create their own digital poster or to make a movie.  Students can also create a Pathway Challenge.  In a challenge, students create a series of clues that show relationships between photographs, documents and other records.  Others can take part in these Pathways Challenges.  There are also ready made challenges that students can take part in, I just took the Lincoln challenge.  Clues are given and students have to find a record that matches the clue.  Very cool!

How to integrate Digital Vaults into the classroom:  This is a truly incredible way for students to interact with history.    While the site may be too hard for primary elementary students to use on their own, the Lincoln Pathway Challenge could be used with an interactive whiteboard with the teacher guiding the challenge.  Teachers could also create a unique challenge that directly matches your curriculum for students to complete.  The poster, movie, and create your own Pathway Challenge are an engaging way for students to learn about history in a hands on approach.  Give students a direction to go and then give them time to collect resources, and create their digital history vault.  This is not history as I remember it…in fact, I’m sure I would know much, much more about history if I were involved in my learning this way!  This is so much better than learning history from an outdated text book, the Pathway Challenges are like virtual field trips through history.

 

Tips:  I learned about this awesome website from Free Technology for Teachers, a great blog!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Digital Vaults in your classroom.

Movavi

Posted by admin | Posted in iPod, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 28-01-2009

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What it is:  Movavi is a free, online video converter.  What I love about Movavi is its ease of use, there is no software to install and the site doesn’t have ads.  Enter a URL of a video or upload a file, choose your preferred output format, and enter your email address.  That is it! Movavi does the rest for you, you will get an email with a link to download the video.  Simple!  

 

How to integrate Movavi into the classroom: Movavi is great for those schools where YouTube and other video websites are blocked.  You can download the video for your class and view the downloaded version without worrying about it being blocked.  It is also great for those times when bandwidth is an issue.  Download the video and you won’t have to worry about a choppy video during peak Internet use times of the day.  After a video is downloaded, it can be viewed on a machine that isn’t Internet connected.  Embed the downloaded videos into PowerPoint or Keynote presentations.   You can even convert 5 videos at a time and have them merged into one video as part of the conversion process.

 

Tips:  Make sure you know which video formats play best on your computer before converting video.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Movavi in your classroom.