Friday, January 11, 2013

Video Beyond the Box - Popcorn Maker

There is no shortage of video editing and video creation tools on the web.  Mozilla Popcorn Maker just might be the one that tops them all.  The video software makes it easy to integrate all types of media into a video.  You can take a clip from YouTube and enhance it with articles, graphics, text, audio, and even social media content from Twitter.  You can also include maps, pictures, and other live feeds into the video as well. It makes the video you create virtually interactive.  You can login using Persona so that you can save your video projects. 

On the main page, there are two options.  Users can either start a project or take a tutorial (highly recommend to see even more) to learn how to use the software.  To understand more, please see the video below to help you understand.  The video does a good job of showcasing the ability of this software. 

Wallwisher Got a Makeover

When I started this blog, Wallwisher was the very first post that I wrote about.  A little over 3 years later the first site I ever wrote about has a new look, some improved features, but still a great tool for teachers to use in the classroom.  Immediately, the first difference I noticed were "templates" for ideas on how to use wallwisher.  If users don't want to use the template, then users can build and create their own wall.

You can add your own photo as a small portrait, or use the one provided.  Each wall gets a title and description which is viewable when users visit the site.  There are several more options for wallpapers as well.  Like before you can choose the privacy levels and provide a custom URL.  A new feature is make your wall a custom domain.  Creating an account allows you to save your walls as well.

The actual process of typing onto the wall has changed a little bit as well.  No limit on amount of text anymore and with keyboard shortcuts, users can add rich text formatting as well.  It is easier to upload a file by dragging and dropping or by browsing.  Users can also link to a video, picture, or website.  You can also take a picture with a webcam as well. Sharing features also remain the same with the ability to share on social media, subscribe, embed, and now mobilize the wall using a custom QR Code. 

Still the same services, just better looking.  A positive move to a product many teachers have been utilizing since I first wrote about Wallwisher, Paper for the Web.

Rebel Mouse - Social Aggregator

RebelMouse, currently in beta, is a social aggregator that brings your Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter all into one place and presents it in Pintrest style wall.  You can also add various RSS feeds, Pinterest, and other services.  If you are using the social media services listed above as an educator and want a main page for students and parents to visit to get all the information shared in one place, RebelMouse would be worth a look.  By signing up you get your own page on RebelMouse that you can share with others.

There is also a bookmarklet tool that allows you to easily share new content to your RebelMouse front page.  You choose an image, make text edits, and then publish to your front page.  As you make any updates to your social profile they will automatically appear on your front page.  Last year when I was teaching I had a Twitter Feed, Facebook Page, and a blog for my classroom.  RebelMouse would have provided a homepage for students to visit.  I also could have easily linked videos and other stories pertinent to class that didn't necessarily require a blog post.

A feature that teachers might also enjoy is the ability to add a post/story directly from your front page.  You can add a headline or URL, add pictures, videos, or an album and then write the post.  You can also add tags to the story.  It turns your front page into a blog at the same time, but also a way to add a post without using the bookmarklet tool.

Sometimes you might have tweets or posts that you don't want to appear.  There is a draft section that contains those that RebelMouse is unsure of whether you want to post them or not.  You can visit there and add them as necessary.  You can also adjust the themes of your page and create your own.  There are already several videos on YouTube explaining how to create a theme. 

You can see my RebelMouse Front Page for a sample.  It is currently just my Twitter feed, but provides you with a sample of what a page would like look.  Also, here is a 60 second video with an introduction.