Bb 9.1 + YouTube

This is a video I posted to my online classes just as an introduction of myself. I’m somewhat shocked at myself for doing it. I’m shocked at myself for posting it here. It makes me want to throw up to think of putting myself in front of the camera and then posting it publicly.

I’m doing it anyway just to make a point to myself (and others if they are so inclined). Video is the thing. Video is easy to make and share now in online classes. That’s probably where I and others should be headed with lecture materials.

This video was made using a computer with a built-in web cam (purchased for faculty dev. projects thanks to the generous support of the Mississippi Arts Commission).

I just went to YouTube, logged into my account, hit Upload Video, and when it gave me a prompt to choose a file or record from web cam, I selected record from web cam. That’s all there is to that. YouTube walks you through the rest.

To share in Blackboard 9.1, you can put it in a content area by going to Build Content. From there you choose YouTube video under Mashups. Just copy and paste the url of your video into the search box, and hit go. It will pull up your video. Hit select. If you want the video to embed, change the little menu box that defaults to thumbnail over to embed. Hit submit. That’s it. You are video lecturing to your online classes.

Because this was just an introduction and not a lecture per se, I shared it on the discussion board instead. I just created a thread and clicked on the Mashup icon in the visual editor. The steps from there are the same as in a content area. Search. Select. Embed. Submit.

This is really very easy. The biggest hurdle is the emotional one over putting your face and not just your words on TV.

Academic Video Resources

Blackboard now offers easy ways to integrate YouTube videos into course sites, and that’s a good thing. Lots of valuable academic information is posted to YouTube, and YouTube is a good place for teachers to upload their own class lectures and materials, or for students to upload their class projects.

It’s not the only place to find useful videos for the classroom, though. Try a few of these sites as well.

Academic Earth

iTunes U



Video Portfolios

I ran across a  nicely done video cv from a teacher.  That sent me off on a YouTube investigation.  It seems there’s quite a trend toward video portfolios now, particularly among welders from the UK.

I’m not sure a video portfolio is as useful to me as a website in terms of efficiently sharing information, but they certainly have a cool factor.

The Flip: It’s What’s for Christmas

If you have kids, parents, teachers, grandparents, or people in general on your Christmas list that you love enough to spend $150 or more on, The Flip cam is the thing this year.

YouTube tells us, “People are watching hundreds of millions of videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.”

YouTube and other video sharing sites have grown at a phenomenal rate this year, putting us firmly in the realm of “everyone is doing it.”

At Digital Is and Youth Voices I heard about elementary schools that require all of their students to do video projects for school. We’re talking fourth, fifth, sixth graders here. If we want to keep up with the fifth graders, we’ve got to get on the stick cam.

The good news is, though, that to children these cameras are just fun. They are also fun for adults if those adults happen to be filming children or child-like behavior. And if you are an adult who isn’t sure what to do with one, all you need is to put one in the hands of a child. Natural curiosity and creativity will take over. Great and wonderful things will happen.

I’m here to tell you today that video sharing and video production as school and work related activity is now so ubiquitous as to be a basic necessary literacy in our world. You need to know and your young people need to know the process of taking video, transferring it to a computer and uploading it to a social sharing site.

That process starts with having the camera in hand. The Flip is a good one because it is so easy. One button records it all, and the camera contains within itself both the USB connection for the computer and the software necessary for transferring and processing the video.

Alternatives to The Flip in the same stick style include The Sony Webbie, The Kodak Zx1, and the Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam. As my mother would say, “It’s six to one, half a dozen to the other,” but if you want to read reviews before purchasing, try CNET.

These aren’t cameras for professional videography. They are cameras for everyday use by everyday people. I think they have the most potential to inspire us to actually follow through on making video just because that’s all they do and they do it so easily. If you want to put your money into something that offers other features as well, however, just buy a regular old point and shoot digital camera. Most of them come with video capabilities now, and YouTube makes sharing easy no matter what path you take to get there.

**Yes, I have written about this before. This post is just a Christmas bonus for those of you looking for something to buy me or someone else you love.

**Cross-Posted to Writerly Haphazardry.

Video Options for Classroom Projects

Like Mashable, I saw the release of Apple’s new iPod Nano with its built in video camera and voice recorder as a game changer.  I’ve been looking for affordable options for student projects.  It’s all well and good to say our students need to be working with more technology.  The practicalities of putting the necessary equipment in their hands is another matter.

I’ve spent a good deal of time lately hunting for affordable gadgets that will do the job we need for audiocasting and videocasting projects.  I came up with this.

For audio, the Zoom H2.  I don’t have one yet.  I just read up on it and put it on my wish list at Amazon after Michael Salvo recommended it.  It looks like it meets all the criteria–easy to use, highly portable,records to mp3, makes quality recordings, costs less than $200.  If we get another Arts Integration grant at JCJC, this is what I have hoped to purchase for student podcasts.

For video, the Flip.  I have one, and we used it in the spring to make videos for our arts project.  It’s great.  It’s very easy to use, it records to mp4, connects by usb, and costs less than $200.  The sound quality could be better.  We used a higher end camera for music recordings, but it’s perfect for interviews and such.  And if you aren’t happy with the Flip, Sony has an alternate version.

These stick style one button video cams are wonderful and affordable (by the measure of tech gadgets), but they only do one thing, and we can’t count on students having their own.  They’re an answer, but they’re not THE answer.

As an alternate, the built-in video cams on point and shoot digital cameras are actually pretty good.  Some shoot to HD to make for excellent clarity.   They also do more than one thing.  Students could also use them for photo projects and for making videos MovieMaker style.  The problem encountered with them is that many record to avi, which requires conversion to mp4 before posting online.  Not a big problem.  Free conversion programs are available.  It just means another step.

If you’re looking for a point and shoot with video for classroom use, consider the Sony Cypershot T900.  12.1 megapixels for stills, and 720p high def mpeg4 with stereo sound for video.   That means decent video that’s easy to upload online.  Unfortunately, it costs twice as much as a Flip, but it does more than one thing, so it might be worth the pricier tag.  It’s on my wishlist.

Ah, but then there’s the new iPod Nano.  Everything else I’ve been reading about, considering, and coveting over a period of weeks or months.  The video Nano I ordered the next day after I heard Steve Jobs announce its release.  Why?  For one, I’m just like that.  I love me some Apple products.  But more than that, I think this is the game changer that makes student video and audio projects feasible on a limited classroom budget.

It does more than one thing for less than $200.  It records video and audio.  It’s the student podcasting device I’ve been searching for these past few years…at least I hope it is.  I’ll share more opinions on it once it arrives and I’ve had time to test it.  But I have high hopes.  Students already know how to use iPods.  In a year or two, many of my students will have their own video Nanos, so I won’t have to come up with as much money to provide them.

They will both create and play video and audio, making it easy for students to share their projects with each other and/or to download audio and video produced by instructors.  iTunes 9 gives them a way to organize their video productions as well as a way to shoot them straight to YouTube and on to class video channels.

I could go on, but I will stop my Apple fanaticism here to say that it’s unrealistic to assume that any classroom is going to have enough of any one gadget to adapt it as the exclusive option for completing projects.  My advice would be to poll students to find out what they already have in the way of point and shoots, camera phones, video iPods, etc.  Make a kind of digital stone soup out of whatever they can each bring to the mix and find ways to support them in using a combination of what they already have and what you and your school can provide for them.