Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chromebooks & Video Creation

Video Creation Options:

Snagit - Screencasting (Chrome Extension)

Process: With the Snagit Chrome Extension installed, users can record any screen or window that is open on their device.  The final video product is automatically exported and stored in Google Drive (in a TechSmith folder).  The video can also be uploaded directly to one's YouTube channel when the screencasting process is complete.


  • Automatic backup to Google Drive
  • Built-in YouTube Upload (see image above)
  • Unlimited Recording Length


  • Inability to select portion of the screen when recording

Screencastify - Screencasting (Chrome Extension)

Process: Tap on the Screencastify extension to begin recording a single tab or your entire desktop. There is a helpful option to turn on the webcam while recording to create a more personal final product.  (See Image Below)

The pop-up menu when one begins screencasting

There is a helpful feature in the settings to determine a saving location.

Modifying the storage location for screencasts in the Screencastify Settings

The final screen allows for extensive exporting and saving options.

The final screen when one is done screencasting with Sharing options 


  • Enable the webcam while screencasting
  • Enable a preview window while recording
  • Pause screencast & continue recording
  • Save screencasts locally or auto-upload to Google Drive
  • Export to YouTube option


  • 10 Minute Limit
  • Video format is WebM.  Video conversion may be required to share and view on other devices (mobile) without uploading to YouTube.  CloudConvert is a helpful option for this conversion process.

PowToon - Animation (Google Drive App)

Process: Begin a new project in PowToon by adding characters, text & images to a slide.  Characters, text and images can be animated to appear and disappear at specific points in the recording.  There is also the option to record one's voice before beginning any animation process.  With the voice track added, animations can be customized to match up with the ideas from the audio.

The editing Studio in PowToon

  • A project can be started, saved and edited later from one's PowToon dashboard
  • Final projects can be uploaded to YouTube from a free account
  • Editing interface has a short learning curve
  • A number of free templates to choose from
  • Built in Creative Commons Flickr search for images


  • 5 minute time limit per video with free version.  The time limit can be overcome by uploading two 5 minute projects to YouTube and combining with the YouTube Creator Studio (see below).

External / Mobile Device (iPad, iPhone, Android)

Process: Using any mobile device, videos can be captured & uploaded to YouTube.  Once uploaded to YouTube, small video clips can later be combined and editing on a Chromebook using the YouTube Creator Studio (see below).  

Editing Option:

YouTube Creator Studio (Video Editor)

Process: Once videos are uploaded (from Snagit, Screencastify or PowToon, they can be merged and edited.  Access the YouTube Creator Studio by clicking on one's user icon when logged into YouTube and selecting Creator Studio.  Then, select Create Video (see image below).


  • Drag & Drop interface from previously uploaded videos
  • Search for Creative Commons videos that can be used in video projects
  • Add Text & Transitions between video clips
  • Add royalty free music
  • The newly edited video will be published to one's YouTube channel
  • Combine shorter clips from PowToon & Screencastify to bypass their creation limits
The YouTube Creator Studio Video Editor


  • Editing can at times be slow and clunky if working on an older Chromebook or if a school network is experiencing heavy traffic.

Come join me this summer to explore more multimedia creation ideas with Chromebooks at the EdTechTeacher Summer Workshop Series (

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reading on Chromebooks

While it is generally well known how to actively read and annotate on an iPad with ePub files, iBooks files and even PDF documents, this isn't exactly the case with Chromebooks.  While I admit that the reading experience isn't ideal on a Chromebook, schools and classrooms that have gone this path will likely find the two concepts below at least somewhat helpful.

Reading Option 1: ePub files & Google Play

ePub files can be read and annotated (highlights & notes) directly in Google Chrome through Google Play Books.  The process is quite simple and is outlined below.  The only catch with this process is that teachers cannot provide a library directly in Google Play Books for students ahead of time.  Instead, they can provide the ePub file (through Google Drive or Google Classroom) that each student would then have to upload to their own Google Play Library.

1. Create or find and ePub file.

Creation Option - Readlists: Multiple links to web based articles can be added to a readlist which is then exported as an ePub file.

Notice the "Download eBook" option in the left hand menu

Find Option - Project Gutenberg: Public Domain text can be downloaded for free and then uploaded to Google Play Books.

2. Upload the ePub file to Google Play Books

3. Read and annotate in the ePub file

Reading Option 2: PDF Files & DocHub

PDF documents can be uploaded to DocHub which allows for typing, highlighting and adding sticky notes within a reading or document.

1. Sign-in to DocHub (account, Google or Dropbox)

2. Upload a PDF to DocHub

3. Read & Annotate

4. The final PDF can be exported from DocHub and downloaded as a PDF.  The PDF can then be uploaded to one's Google Drive account for quick access and backup.

NOTE: notes added to a PDF in DocHub are not preserved when exported as a PDF

Hacking Evernote on iPads

I am an avid Evernote user (iPad, iPhone, Mac, Chromebook...)

I especially enjoy using the platform on my iPad.  That being said, the only glaring drawback at this point is that one can't draw directly in a note as if they were using Notability or any other digital paper tool.

Time for an Evernote on iPad Hack!

1. Google search "white square"

2. Save the image to your camera roll (tap and hold)

3. Insert the white square into a note & tap on the note to begin free hand annotations.

4. Use the editing tools to draw directly on the blank white sheet within a note.

5. Save & close the white document & repeat the process as needed.

NOTE: Add an image of paper as well to simulate digital paper & free writing 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Video Portfolios with YouTube

YouTube recently released an update to the YouTube Creator Studio, Cards.  Cards are somewhat similar to the existing Annotation feature in the Creator Studio which allows users to add text and clickable "hotspots" on their video that can direct a viewer to another YouTube video.  Cards differ in their appearance and impact on the viewing experience.  While Spotlight annotations would appear directly on top of the video, Cards appear as a small pop-up in the right hand corner of the video with a call to action created by the owner of the content.  Also, at any point while viewing, all of the cards can be revealed, allowing the viewer to click at any point on any of the linked, associated content.

Role in the classroom:  I can see YouTube Cards being used to have students create video portfolios or a video resume.  Throughout a course or entire year, students can create video content and upload to their YouTube channel.  At the end of the course, students can then create a recap video that briefly mentions each of the ideas that they explained and captured throughout the year.  The videos that were created throughout the year would then be added as Cards to the recap video.

Teachers can also take advantage of Cards by creating an overview video of a concept and adding Cards to existing video content on YouTube that would help their students explore, understand or review a concept.

Technical Process:

1. Access the YouTube Creator Studio and choose Cards when editing an existing video.

2. Add either Video or Associated Website Cards.

NOTE: If adding a link to an associated website, the website must be added to the Advanced details of one's YouTube channel first.  Once the website is added, any link from the associated website or 
blog can be added as a card to a video.

3. Select the timing for each card to appear in the master video.

4. View the final product and multiple student videos will now be clickable at designated spots throughout the video.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Green Screen iPad Experiments with DoInk

In a recent iPad workshop a small group of teachers were exploring the capacity to create green screen video with an iPad  using DoInk Green Screen.

With a few recent updates to DoInk, including cropping video & moving the location of the video within the DoInk editor, the creative potential of this tool is now quite powerful.  Here are a few experiments that I was testing out to push the creative potential of the iPad with DoInk...

Experiment 1: Green Screen the face from a photo / picture:

1. I imported the image below into Explain Everything & green screened out the face of the Vitruvian Man.  Export the image to the camera roll.

2. Import the image as the top layer in Green Screen by DoInk & add a video clip in the second layer.  Resize and move the video clip until ones head appears in the place of the green screen.  Export the final video to the camera roll. 

Experiment 2: Green Screen out an image to reveal a video

1. Find an image as a silhouette where the main image in the picture is one solid color.  Import the picture into Photoshop Touch and replace the one solid color with a green screen color.

 2. Layer the green screen image on the top track in DoInk & add the video track in the second layer.  Resize as needed & export to the camera roll.

Experiment 3: Duplicate Yourself & Argue an Idea

1. Shoot two (or more) video clips of yourself discussing an idea in front of a green screen.  It may work best to shoot the first video (leaving time for yourself to respond) and then shoot the second video with the timing from the first video in place (wait time & response time).

2. Layer each video in DoInk & resize and move as needed to have the two videos of yourself side by side.  A background image can be added on the third track.

Why bother? Whether any of these approaches are useful or applicable in the classroom is a critical question to ask.  Are they useful in every situation...absolutely not.  However, there could be specific instances where a student could use one of these techniques to enhance their story and add some creative flexibility to their final product.  I simply enjoy figuring out what is possible and continually pushing the capacity of the device and truly open and creative tools like DoInk.