Animoto vs. Google Auto-Awesome #edtech

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve been playing with video tools after our trip to the rodeo this weekend.

Remember when creating a video was a long, arduous process of getting the video from the camera onto your computer, then putting together your clips just so, editing them down, then choosing music, transitions, titles, and the like?

Well, no more! Animoto has been, for several years, the king of quick online video. It started off with just photos, but has progressed over the years and now offers the ability to include video clips and text in your video. Animoto is pretty intuitive to use, and can be done both online and via an app on Android or iOS (so big win for being completely device agnostic). The biggest drawback to Animoto is that free videos are limited to 30 seconds and at 360p resolution. You can upgrade your account and get full length videos and full HD resolution for $5/month or $30/year.

To create your video, you choose the photos and videos you want to put in it. In the free version, you’re limited to 12 items.

Here’s the free Animoto video I created of our day at the rodeo.

Google Auto-Awesome videos are the relative newcomer to the online video space. The feature is meant to be just like auto-awesome photos, where it takes a series of photos and videos you took around the same time and stitches them together automatically to create a video. It is supposed to work with both Android and iOS devices (I don’t have auto-backup turned on, nor do I ever shoot video with my iPad, so I can’t claim for sure that it works on iOS as it does on Android), but I haven’t found a way to put together a video on Google+ yet using these features. When my Android phone creates and auto-awesome video, a notification shows up on my phone, and I can go in to view the video and choose to edit it, save it, or delete it.

Here’s the auto-awesome video Google created of our day at the rodeo:

You can also create your own video using photos and video clips that you choose, just like Animoto. You also have your choice of music, you can edit the clips down, split them into scenes, and choose a theme to use with your video. Again, I only have experience with this on Android, not iOS, and cannot find a way to do it online. The biggest advantage here is that you are not limited on length or time of video, and you can export every video you create with at full HD at no cost.

Here’s the video I created earlier on my own, before Google auto-awesomed a video for me.

I think for students, at the moment, Animoto gets the win just because of the diversity of platforms you can create on. If/when Google allows video creation online using the auto-awesome features, it will be the king. Of course, you do have to have a Google+ account to create these videos, so if your school does not open Google+ for students, that could still be a major drawback.

For me, for personal use, I really like the power and simplicity of Google’s tools. I just wish there was an easy way to edit online, instead of having to do it on my phone.


#tcea14 notes – Google Academy, Districtwide Implementation for GAFE, @kernkelley

February 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

 This wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, but Kern still had some great information about going Google within his district. The state of Maine has had a 1:1 program for middle school students for the past 10 years. I would love to be in a state like that because giving every student a device really levels the playing field and removes a lot of the obstacles and excuses for not using technology. My notes from the session are below.

#tcea14 notes – Google Academy, Google Apps Scripts, Wesley Chun (@wescpy)

February 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

I really enjoyed this session and can see the benefit for students learning how to code with Google Apps Scrips if their school is already GAFE. It ties in really nicely to the apps infrastructure Google has put in place and can really be a powerful addition to GApps. My notes from the session are below.

#tcea14 notes – Google Academy, Google Glass – Leslie Fisher

February 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

This was a great session because Leslie was very honest about what Glass is really good at and what it still needs a lot of work on. I think it will be as transformative of a device as the iPod was. I think Glass, and it’s imitators, will forever change the way in which we interact with our devices and our world. My notes from the session are below.

#tcea14 notes – Google Academy, Going Google with Richardson ISD

February 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Their presentation is here:

My notes from the session

Survival Tips for Technologists – @egmathews @mradkins @slaleman #tcea14

February 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

We streamed our Q & A session as a Hangout on Air.

Connections…again, it’s all about the connections #tcea14

February 7, 2014 § 1 Comment

I just finished up a full week in Austin at #tcea14, and just like with ISTE, my conference was made all the more valuable by the connections I made with people.

A few years ago, I had really soured on the idea of going to conferences like ISTE and TCEA because I felt like most of the sessions were geared toward folks who didn’t know ed tech like I know ed tech, and that it had become less about discovery and teaching and learning, and more about how many amazing things you could show people in a short amount of time.

I also felt like the exhibit floor had gotten stale, and there wasn’t really anything new or innovative as far as technology from the vendors presenting there.

I still feel that way about the general conference, but there are always gems to be found, and I’ve learned what sessions to avoid. I also had to start telling myself that it’s OK to NOT go to session every hour of the day, and that it’s OK to sit around in the digital square to have conversations with like minded people.

My biggest takeaways were from the conversations I had with others. Today was a perfect example. As I walked in out of the cold, I heard my name called out as I was passing by the digital square. Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin) said to me, “Tim (@timholt2007) is about to start a podcast. Sit down and join us.”

Sitting at the table with Miguel and Tim were Jake Duncan (@duncanbilingual) and Wendy Sanders* (@kenya75), both of whom I’d never met in person. Sort of. Wendy had been in a session with me earlier in the week, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Unfortunately, Jake had to leave shortly after we started our conversation, but we sat there and talked for at least an hour about all kinds of things that we’d seen at the conference. At one point, Wendy brought up a session about learning spaces that David Jakes (@djakes) had led earlier in the week. She started talking about the person who had asked about mounting projectors and the problem that poses with rearranging the learning space. That person was me, and she realized it halfway through her criticism of my point of trying to mount projectors for all teachers, then turned and apologized to me for arguing with me about it. I told her not to worry. That conversation had actually changed my mindset about how the classroom should be set up, and that I’ll bring it up the next time I meet with our district technology committee.

By the way, I also learned some really interesting things about Barney from Wendy. Yes, that Barney. Ask her about it next time you see her.

We also talked about what we felt the conference should be compared to what it actually is. That has inspired me to submit a proposal for next year’s conference that goes in depth with a small number of apps or web sites and show teachers how they can use them to address key curriculum pain points, which almost no one does at this conference.

I was finally able to meet Kristy Vincent (@bigpurplehat) in person this year. We’ve been tweeting at each other for years, and we got to chatting when both of our LearnEd sessions went bust. She and I both became Technology Directors this year, both in small districts, and we started trading war stories. I told her that TCEA really needed a “new tech director’s” session, which she tweeted out, and immediately got retweeted and favorited.

I met Jon Samuelson (@ipadsammy) this week. Again. Turns out we lived on the same floor in college at Illinois State University. We used to go to basketball games together, and I have a photo of him in a group with all of our dorm-mates from 25 years ago. Crazy. Small. World.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the connections I made with the people from my own district. I had great conversations with my Instructional Technology Coordinator, Cheryl Young (@clib78), our High School librarian, Nicole Ellis (@nellis221), and our Jr. High librarian, Roma Burrhis (@romaburrhis). The latter two had not been on twitter before this week, but I think this conference opened their eyes to the power of the tweet. Just being able to be in one session and get notes from virtually every other session at the same time gave them a great introduction to how twitter can be leveraged to learn.

Finally, the connections that Joel Adkins (@mradkins) and Eddie Mathews (@egmathews) made with each other and the people who attended our session were really valuable. I always feel awkward being in front of a group of people who I feel like might have more knowledge than I do, but the questions we got during our panel discussion “Survival tips for technologists) were amazing and led right into the things that we had talked about when we were planning the session. I’m really glad that Eddie talked Joel and I into doing the panel with him. I felt like those that attended got something out of it, and I know we all did as we sat and planned it out the day before (yes, we did it last minute, but it was mostly Q & A so what do you expect?).

I did get a lot out of the sessions I attended, but more than that, I got to connect with people. To me, that’s becoming the most valuable thing about conferences. Talking with others, having your positions on things confirmed or challenged. Being able to talk about big ideas that will hopefully turn into actions in the coming year.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to talk with me this week. I know I haven’t included everyone that I talked to here, but you all know who you are. The conversations are amazing. I’m fortunate to have all of your in my learning community.

*I had mistakenly put Wendy’s last name as “Davis” in a previous edit of this post. I have no idea why I thought that was her last name, and I apologize for the mistake.

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