Creating Video Lessons with 30hands Pro: Starting with a Script

Moia Rowsome Blog

As we all know, getting started is the hardest part of any creative process. When it comes to creating a video lesson, we all have cool ideas of what we could share with our students. But where do we begin? What should be our first step? Well, from my experience, beginning with a script is a great way to go. A script you say? Yes, a script! Just like in the movies! Think of a regular lesson where you are explaining a topic or concept to your students. What would you say? This is your script. If you prefer to write a paragraph first, that’s ok. Follow up by breaking it into lines, one for each slide. Read on to see how I do it. The reason why I do this is because it enables me to plan out what I am going to say on each slide and then design your content around it. Of course, you can change your script around as you iterate through your creative process. But starting with a basic idea of what you are going to say and laying it out in this way I have found to be really effective. Even though it involves investing a bit of time at the start, it makes things much quicker once you go to add images and then narrate over your content. And you finish with a tip-top video! So, how do I go about doing this? Google Docs is a great tool for script writing as you can easily …

Olive’s Tip of the Week – Copying Slides in 30hands Pro

Moia Rowsome Blog

Hi everyone! I’m Olive the cat and welcome to my Quick Tip of the Week section! Each week, I’ll be sharing some of my clever tips on cool features in 30hands Pro. So what’s on the agenda for this week? Copying slides, of course! By using the ‘Copy Slide’ function, you can create a second version of the same slide. But why on earth would I want to do that?? Well, you’d be surprised how useful it is! Here are some examples: 1. Maybe you want something new to appear on your screen? You just copy the slide and add in your change to the copied slide. You can do this as many times as you like to have multiple objects appear on your slide or have them move to create an animation. Cool, huh? 2. How about when you want to add narration to the beginning or the end of one particular slide without going back and starting over? You can just copy your slide and narrate your new sentence onto the copied slide. It will come out all in one go in your published product! Purrfect! I have found this to be a much quicker and easier way to narrate something new onto a slide. 3. Maybe you want to create a stop motion effect in your slideshow? The copy slide function is essential for this. We will be talking about this in more detail in a future post, so be sure to check in again! Oh! Before I get back to napping, I should probably explain …

Visualizing Poetry through Digital Storytelling

Eric Braun Blog

As a genre of creative expression, Poetry is rhythmic and visual. It conveys concise messages artistically. This is its power and its appeal. I remember from grade school that Poetry should be spoken not read in silence. Without the spoken word, the power is diminished. Vocalization touches us more deeply than merely reading to ourselves, and it makes the word social. Recently, I decided to explore this more deeply by combining Poetry with Digital Storytelling. Read on to see what I created. I believe that a fundamental aspect of a poem is its ability to convey a message or tell a story in a way that is memorable and impactful. By transforming the poem into a digital story, the transformer has to actively think of and find or create imagery to support the ideas in the poem. The illustrated poem takes the imagery out of the mind of the poet and onto the medium. Once the poem is laid out as a storyboard of imagery, the spoken word is recorded as an audio narration – which may include sound effects as well. My inspiration came from a news story that the wild tiger population was increasing for the first time in over 100 years. As dangerous and as scary tigers can be, they are also fascinating. I decided I would create a story about a tiger. When I came across the poem called “The Tiger” by William Blake, I knew I had the script I wanted. Already having a script would …

Creating Engaging Video Lessons With 30hands Storyteller Pro

Moia Rowsome Blog

Have you ever wanted to create an awesome video lesson to flip your classroom but just didn’t know where to begin or where to find the time? Well, today is your lucky day! Over the coming weeks we at 30hands Learning are going to be sharing a series of weekly blog posts with tips and tricks to help you to make engaging and easy-to-do online videos for your classes using 30hands Storyteller Pro. Recently we were involved in a project that involved creating a lot of online learning and video presentations in 30hands Pro. Boy, did we use a lot of different cool techniques and ideas to create our videos! From the outset, we wanted to do this as effectively as possible for our learners. We knew we had to make it engaging, easy to follow and to the point. We also wanted to do it as efficiently as possible to meet a deadline. With all of this in mind, we set out on our video presentation odyssey to design the best videos for online learning we could by combining the right mix of visual, text and audio elements. Now, we will share our reflections in a series of blog posts, so you can start your own journey! Each week, we will discuss a range of practical ideas to help you begin on your storytelling road to flipping the classroom success. 1. To start, we will share what we mean when we tell you to begin by writing a script and then …

Web Search Using Pixabay!

Eric Braun Blog

One of the first things people found value in when the Internet began was search, and today, this is no exception. With so much content out there, it has been one of the saving graces of the new technology complexity. Google has been a leader in search, so we jumped on board with their search engine when we first put image search into 30hands Storyteller, and it worked pretty well. But – last month, when Google abruptly turned off free usage of their search engine for apps, we had to look elsewhere. We knew it would be difficult for educators to pay extra for search, and we did not want to complicate their lives. Fortunately, we had been looking at the possibility of using other search engines already, so we had some ideas in mind. Pixabay is one of our favorite image search sites, because all of the images are free to use like public domain images – anywhere, anytime and for just about any purpose. This is important for students and teachers. Unlike Creative Commons images (which are still a good thing), Pixabay images do not need to be cited. That’s an added benefit in our minds. So now, with version 2.0.6 of 30hands Storyteller Starter and 30hands Storyteller Pro, you will get Pixabay image search when you are on the 30hands Desktop and touch “+” then “Add Slide” and “From Web“. The search is still filtered for younger students. 30hands Starter users get up to 12 image results. 30hands Pro …

To Boldly Go Beyond Creativity

Eric Braun Blog

We first released the 30hands Storyteller app in 2013 with a goal in mind – to see how we might help kids learn through a different kind of creativity. With about 1.5 million Starter users and a growing number of Pro users, we are thrilled at how teachers are using 30hands for better classroom learning. In 2006, Sir Ken Robinson asked, “Do schools kill creativity?” Somehow, as much as we loved creativity – and we really do – we felt there was more to the conversation than that. Creativity can be a step towards greatness, but it can also ramble on with lesser results. Of course, we can all list people who were creative geniuses, but what about creative failures? I suspect they outnumber the geniuses. What was missing to prevent the many from becoming geniuses? What turns someone into a Leonardo, a Miro, a Dickens or a Mozart? In pondering this question, we affirmed that creative greatness comes from adding key spices to the formula, “iterative” spices, namely, Deliberate Practice Review and Reflection Do-Overs The Opportunity to Fail (with little or no risk) The 30hands Storyteller app was designed with this pedagogy of Iterative Creativity™ at its core in order to get students to learn more while presenting their ideas. What they learn is the values of review, reflection, low risk “failure” and quality. Creativity can be greater if it is deliberate and iterative. It’s a simple approach that works: Plan it. Try something. Review it and reflect. Do it over and over …

Quick Activity: Creating a Simple 30hands Presentation or Story

Eric Braun Blog

The evil stepsisters could not fit their feet into Cinderella’s glass slipper because their feet were too big. A lot of technology is like this – too big to fit into the classroom, too complex to understand and too time-consuming to use. Complexity can kill a great idea. We used simplicity as a fundamental design decision in creating 30hands Storyteller because we wanted students and teachers to be able to create great presentations and stories in a short amount of time. In addition to small, simple and fast, we made sure changes could be made without going back to the beginning and starting over, so everyone could be more productive. In this post, I’m going to outline how to use 30hands Storyteller to create a simple presentation or story that will fit within a 45 minute class period. Tell a Story Related to the Curriculum One of the easiest ways to get your students started with 30hands Storyteller is to have them tell a story using photos, images or drawings. This can work for all age groups, including high school and college levels. Have the students tell a story that relates to something you are working on in class. They could retell a picture book read in class, depict a battle or event from their history book or studies or even create a math detective or superhero story. The goal of this first exercise can include lots of learning, but it should be simple in order for them to get familiar with creating in 30hands. Working on the project …

Storytelling at MassTLC Unconference 2015

Eric Braun Blog

An Unconference takes people, ideas, quirks and agendas and mashes them all together to find a structure to be enacted for the day. Everyone follows a path, but every path is unique. In many ways, the unconference process is similar to the process of creating a story. We start with a mosaic of concepts and we converge them into structure. The cool thing about an unconference is that everyone creates his or her own story for the day. This year at the MassTLC Unconference, about 30-40 of us had the opportunity to talk about Stories and Storytelling, but it almost did not happen, because facilitator Jay Batson hesitated at my pitch. Perhaps, my hook was not strong enough. But he took a chance, which led to a great story circle. (Here I am on deck behind a tall guy.) I started the session by explaining that I have realized more and more over the past 5 years that people focus a lot on talking information instead of telling stories. Sometimes, they cram so much information into a run-on sentence that it sends your head spinning. And then what? That information swirls around and around then disappears like the water in a toilet bowl, never to be seen again. Clearly, that’s not what was intended to happen. From an educational standpoint, we teach kids to learn information and present information. That’s what standardized tests do. They’re all about information. Progressive educators believe in the power of storytelling, and they are finding ways to implement it into the curriculum. …

Free Images Give Students Ability to Learn Creatively on Projects

Eric Braun Blog

Using Free Images to Tell a Story or Explain Learning Using photos and images in a presentation or story greatly improves the interest of the viewer or reader and makes understanding the material much clearer and longer lasting. The Internet is full of free images, and it’s not that difficult to find and use them once you know how. Let’s take a look at how I do it in class and for my own projects. I hope this will give you ideas on how to use free images with your students to tell their stories in better ways and express their knowledge and understanding in greater depth and richness. The approach I am going to outline is very similar to the way we did it at 30hands Learning when creating Aesop’s Fables Remixed. By the way, this collection is not a retelling of the fables yet again, but rather a multimedia compilation of intertwined children’s stories inspired by Aesop’s Fables, and it’s all done with free open source images and videos. Finding Images that are Free to Use The first step to using free images legally and ethically is to understand which ones to use and which ones not to use. Two of my favorite sites are Pixabay and Wikipedia, which both have many public domain images. I generally start with Google Search using the advanced options to get an initial idea of what is available. If the selection is slim, I try variations on the search to see what shows up. When searching …

The Showdown Between App Inventor and Scratch

Michelle Lau Blog

Though I have hardly mastered Scratch since my first coding workshop (read about it here), I charged ahead anyway into another coding workshop to learn about App Inventor, a web application maintained by MIT that allows you to create and install stand-alone applications for Android tablets and phones. My verdict? Embrace it! At first glance, App Inventor is very similar to Scratch; they both use a drag-and-drop interface, making computer programming much more feasible for beginners since it eliminates the need to produce fleshed out codes. They both allow users to create fully functional programs and help students ease into “real” coding. So which one should you choose? It depends. Here are some notable differences between the two that you should take into account when choosing which one to incorporate into your classroom: Usability I found App Inventor harder to grasp compared to Scratch because of how the code blocks are labeled. Whereas Scratch uses labels that make sense syntactically and semantically, App Inventor uses labels that are semantically invalid in English. Let me give you an example of what the two applications would say if I wanted to play an audio file after I click a button: Scratch: {When this sprite clicked} > [play sound (audio file)] App Inventor: {When (Button1) .Click} > {do [call (audio file) .Play]} Even though this example is relatively easy to figure out, I think we can all agree that the App Inventor language does not resemble the way we normally speak in English. …