Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tool #5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Stupeflix Studio:   I really like this free tool, but have found that its positive and negatives are equal in weight.  Let's start with the positive.  Stupeflix makes it extremely easy to create a product that is very professional and seemingly complex in appearance.  Also, it is similar to Animoto except its pace is less likely to induce seizures while viewing!  The video below only took about 15 minutes to create.  Most of the time was used on finding images and selecting music from Stupeflix's music library.  One of the negatives of this tool is that it only allows white font :(  This requires a bit of strategy when selecting images.  Images with too much white in them cancel the texts appearance (see video below).  Also, the video is edited by the program so the creator has no control over the appearance of the final product.  If one does not like the generated video, they can regenerate it until the tool produces a video that resembles the creators vision, but it will probably never be exactly what was desired.

Wordle:  On Fridays at 11 am and 6 pm, the Texas Association of Gifted and Talented hosts #gtchat for 1 hour.  These chats are based on a single GT related topic and are a great way to learn, gain resources, and connect with educators and parents.  I created a Wordle from the tweets from two of the chats to use as a reflection or focal snapshot.  It seems that when learning something new it is easy to get wrapped up in all the details and specifics of the new subject, and in doing so, sometimes one can lose sight of the purpose of the new learning.  Creating this Wordle helped me to focus on the reason I spend two hours of my Friday on the chats...to be an effective educator for the gifted or highly able.

I think Wordle can be used in the classroom for a similar purpose.  If students participate in a blog or post their learning products or reflections on a classroom forum, the teacher could copy/paste their posted text and some content text into a Wordle to use in closure activities such as reflective writing or assessment reviews to reinforce new learning.

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