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Monthly Archives: April 2012

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Add Photo to KidBlog Post

Category : Tips

Photos can be added to blog posts in different ways. In this post I’ll explain how to add a photo as a linked image on a free (and ad-free) KidBlog.org site.

To reduce the amount of time students spend (and possibly waste) searching for Internet images to use in a blog post or other digital project, it’s a good idea to have them find and identify their photos before class. These image links can be saved in student email, as comments to a blog post, in a Google Document, or in another way.

By creating a photo gallery of images using a free web service like Picasa or Posterous, a teacher can create a designed place / website for students to obtain their images for a project. Students can link to this photo gallery site from the teacher’s homepage, and/or a direct link to the photo gallery can be created on student desktops or a screen of the iPad / tablet device students use.

I recommend both teachers and students use the free Chrome web browser from Google for these steps. Chrome is the fastest web browser on both Windows and Macintosh computers, and also has helpful features (like a “copy URL” option when right clicking / control clicking images) which is very helpful for these steps.

STEP 1: Copy the Image URL

The first step is to find the image you want to insert into your blog post and copy the direct URL or link to the image. In Chrome, do this by right clicking (control-clicking on a Mac) and choosing COPY IMAGE URL.

STEP 2: Click Insert Image

Press enter or return to create a blank line where you want to insert the image. Then click the INSERT IMAGE button above the post format tools.

STEP 3: Paste the Image URL

Click in the field next to image URL and paste the full link address you copied in step 1. Click below it so KidBlog can “verify” the link works. If desired, choose an alignment option. Click INSERT INTO POST.

STEP 4: Publish

Add additional text as desired to your post, along with additional images. When finished, click PUBLISH.

It is a good idea to give attribution credit to the original source of the image you are linking by including a direct link to the source website at the bottom of your post. Image websites like Wylio create attribution links right below images using Creative Commons license terms. If you want to create a properly formatted image citation, consider using a free web tool like Bibme.org. At a minimum, include the direct link to the original website at the bottom of your post to give credit to the original source website. It is better from a copyright perspective to use this technique of direct linking / embedding images you use in blog posts rather than downloading and re-uploading a copy of an image to your original website. With the method described in this blog post, you are NOT making an actual copy of an image when including it in a blog post. Not all websites permit images to be embedded in this way. School librarian Joyce Valenza has a good list of copyright-friendly image sites to use.


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Create a Free Classroom Photo Sandbox with Picasa

Category : Tips

To successfully help students create different kinds of media products which represent their knowledge and skills in various content areas, teachers need to build a strong “virtual foundation” for digital learning inside and outside the classroom. The cornerstone of this digital foundation can be a moderated and interactive classroom blog. Another important corner is a “classroom photo sandbox.” This is a digital space where teachers and/or students can upload and access photos publicly. Instead of searching the Internet for photos when working on a media project, students can visit the teacher’s classroom photo sandbox to save and use relevant images. Instead of individually labeling and organizing images, teachers can upload ALL the classroom photos from a digital camera (as long as everything is appropriate, of course) and make these images available for students to use. In advance, students and their parents should sign required permission forms to post student photos and work. (An example is available.) In this post I’ll share the steps to create and utilize a free classroom photo sandbox using Google’s free service, Picasa.

If your school already uses Google Apps for Education and Picasa is not available on your custom portal, ask your network administrator to turn it on so it’s available. While there are many other photo sharing websites and services available, Picasa’s availability inside “the Google Apps universe” makes it an ideal platform to serve as a photo sandbox for many classrooms and school districts. Site content can be managed using existing Google Apps userids and passwords, which is a big plus from the IT standpoint.

There are two ways to use and interface with Picasa: Via a free, downloadable software application (available for Windows and Macintosh computers) and via the site’s web interface. Both methods have advantages. If you can, I recommend downloading and installing the free Picasa software program on your laptop or desktop computer since it permits image resizing before uploading. This can increase the number of images you can upload to your site and make available to students, since each Picasa account has a limited “quota” of free web space. Although the screenshots below are for a Windows-based computer, these steps are the same on an Apple computer. (Picasa software was updated on February 23, 2012 and includes several new features.)

While Picasa should work fine in any web browser, I recommend downloading, installing and using Google Chrome (free) for this and other browser-based activities. Chrome is the fastest web browser (as of this writing) on Windows or Apple / Macintosh computers.

STEP 1: DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL

Visit picasa.google.com and download Picasa software. After the download finishes, open the installer program and click to agree to terms / install the program. When it launches for the first time, Picasa will search through your computer and find available images. These should be organized by year and date in the left sidebar, if date information is saved with the photos from the digital camera used to take them.

Download Picasa

STEP 2: IMPORT PICTURES FROM YOUR CAMERA

Plug the USB cable for your digital camera into your computer and camera. Turn on the power for your digital camera. Click the IMPORT button in the upper left corner of the Picasa screen.

Import photos

STEP 3 CREATE A PUBLIC WEB ALBUM

Click on a photo you’d like to share in a public web album. Hold down the CONTROL key (on Windows computers) and click on additional photos you’d like to upload/share. Then click the SHARE button.

Select Desired Photos in Picasa

Log into Picasa with your Google userid and password when prompted. All settings for the web album can be left at their defaults except two things:

  1. Click the NEW button at the top to create a new web album for your photos, and assign an appropriate name.
  2. Click to change the visibility of your web album. Make it PUBLIC so students and others will be able to view it and use the photos.

Click UPLOAD to transfer your photos into your new web album.

Configure Your Web Album in Picasa

STEP 4 ACCESS YOUR PHOTO ALBUM ONLINE To view the photo album you just uploaded, click VIEW ONLINE after your upload completes.

View Photos Online in Picasa

If this button doesn’t work, click the arrow beside the word SHARE at the top of the album and choose to COPY the URL / web link to your public album. Then paste this address into your web browser.

Copy Picasa Web Album Link

Note the default setting for sharing LOCATION information about your uploaded photos is PRIVATE. Unless you click the checkbox on the right sidebar of Picasa, when viewing an album, your photo location information will NOT be shared publicly even when you have an album’s privacy setting on PUBLIC.

Picasa Photo Location Info Default

The easiest way to permit students to access your public web albums is to LINK your main gallery homepage from another website, like your class blog or wiki. Find this link by clicking PHOTOS in the upper right corner of the screen when viewing an album or individual image in Picasa.

Main Photo Gallery Link in Picasa

If you have or create a “classroom photo sandbox” website using Picasa or another photo sharing tool, please contribute it to the Student Media Examples website. The Western Academy of Beijing’s Photo Sharing site (photos.wab.edu) is a great example of a school-wide photo gallery website. More details about it are available.


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Save a TeacherTube Video Temporarily to Your Laptop

Category : Tips

(cross-posted from Yukon PS Instructional FAQs)

Sometimes as a teacher you need to download a video from a website for temporary use with your students. There are different reasons this can be important, and there are important copyright considerations to understand depending on the site hosting the video and the context of your use. In the case of TeacherTube videos, the site’s terms of use specifically permit teachers to make temporary copies for personal or classroom instructional use. In this post I’ll describe the steps to download a TeacherTube video and convert it so it’s playable on your laptop.

First of all, log into the TeacherTube website and create an account if you have not already. You’ll need to log in to view the DOWNLOAD link for the video you want. It should appear in the left sidebar of the webpage, below the video.

Download a TeacherTube Video

Depending on the type of web browser and computer you’re using, you should see a message asking you what you want to do with the Flash video file from TeacherTube. Choose to save it.

Save FLV

Next you need to locate the saved file on your local hard drive. Again depending on the web browser and computer you’re using, you should be able to choose to view DOWNLOADS from the menu bar of the web browser.

View Downloads

Right click (control-click on a Mac) and choose to view the file on your local computer hard drive.

Show saved file

Move this file to a folder on your computer desktop or another location you want. If you have a free program like VLC Media Player installed on your computer which can play FLV (Flash) video files, it should open when you double click the file and you should be able to make it full-screen for students to view.

If you don’t have a program on your computer that can play FLV files, you need to convert it to a format you can use. There are many alternatives, a few free options I like and recommend include:

  • On a Mac, use TubeTV to convert the file to M4V format which will play in QuickTime player.
  • On any computer, use the free website ZamZar to convert the file and obtain a download link via email. (Uploaded videos must be less than 100 MB in size)
  • On a Windows or Macintosh computer, use MPEG Streamclip to convert the file to MPEG4 or another format. The video and compression options on MPEG Streamclip can be confusing, however, and the file sizes it creates can be VERY large depending on selected settings.

The easiest option is to install a program like VLC Media Player on your computer so file conversions are not required after you download a FLV video from TeacherTube.


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Add a New User to a Classroom Blog on KidBlog.org

Tags :

Category : Tips

In this 3 minute screencast, Wesley Fryer explains the steps to add a new user to a free classroom blog on KidBlog.org.

View more screencast tutorials relating to “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing” on:

http://playingwithmedia.com//tag/screencasts

Cross-posted on:

http://faqs.yukonps.com/2012/04/add-new-user-to-classroom-blog-on.html


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