Sunday, June 05, 2016

AppSmash - WeVideo and Google Slides

The new WeVideo IMPORT PDF feature combined and Google Slides are a great duo  for collaborative video creation!  

When it comes to collaboration, Google slides rule!  
When it comes to creating videos,  WeVideo rules!

Now  with the new IMPORT PDF feature of WeVideo, collaborating on a Video just got even better.

First of all let me describe the new Import PDF feature of WeVideo and why this has me so excited!

Usually when we add media assets to a video creation project,  we are adding photos, video clips, and sound clips!  

But recently WeVideo has made it possible to ADD PDF files as media to a video project.  When you select Upload Media and you select a PDF file, WeVideo automatically separates each page into a different image for you to drag and organize as you like into the timeline of your video!  Way cool!  

  1. Select Add Media      2. Select a PDF file

3.  Drag individual pages from your PDF from your MEDIA folder to your TIMELINE

So now you can take any tool that can save as a PDF and use it to create content for your Video projects!  (PowerPoint, Word,  Open Office,  Google Docs,  Google Slides)
This opens up lots of possibilities for Cover Pages, Transitions, Backgrounds for Green Screen, and even core content in your narrative.   (PowerPoint, Word,  Open Office,  Google Docs,  Google Slides)

When you are ready to import your content into WeVideo

Simply Use DOWNLOAD AS  and select PDF from the File Menu of your favorite tool!

Then Upload Media (ADD the PDF) to the Media Folder for your WeVideo Project.  

Each slide will appear as a separate media asset that you can drag onto the timeline.

Once these are added to the Media folder of a project,  only ONE of the collaborators can work on the video at a time!    Since the bulk of most video project is planning,  storyboarding,  locating or creating media assets, using Google slides is a great way to keep all members involved in many steps of the video creating  process. The whole team stays actively involved for much longer.  

If you choose Google Slides as your content creation tool for your video,  your team can
  • work together to  create beautiful content for a digital story or  narrative slideshow
  • organize the content  in any order they  want
  • revise and reorder them as they work
  • use comments to discuss and plan throughout the process
  • use the NOTES section of Google slides to plan narration or storyboard
  • add placeholder slides for where video clips  or effects might appear in the projects

Illustration of a pencilOnce the media assets are imported into the Video project,  your team can continue to collaborate using the collaborative features of WeVIdeo EDU, but remember that the at this point in the process, the   collaboration happens ASYNCHRONOUSLY!  Which means only one team member  can EDIT the video at a time.  Similarly to the way Wikis or Google Sites works, the first person to start editting gains control of the video, and others editors are locked out until the collaborator is finishes, and leaves the project.   As soon as the editor saves their edit and closes the video project, the video is available for the next person to edit.  How I describe it to others is that  “Only one person can hold the pencil at a time.  You need to let go of the pencil to pass it on to someone else to edit”.

But as with any Group project,  the rest of the team can be working on finding music or sound effects,  creating credits and title slides (in Google Slides).    Or perhaps, you might break up your projects in sections  and create more than one Google Slide Show.  After each section is complete,  you can provide different team members with the job of adding that section to the video project and editting the video project, while the rest of the students continue to work on the the next section of the project in Google Slides.

One more collaboration tip:  For each video project, consider setting up a Google Folder where you can store your Google Slides along with any images, photos, and music that you might want to add to your video projects.  (Even though only one person can add to the actual video project at a time,  ALL members of the team can add images, video clips photos, and music to a Google folder synchronously -- and they can even do this from their phones using the Google Drive app!

Meanwhile the ONE person who is actually editing the video project from inside we Video can simply IMPORT the new media assets into WeVideo using the IMPORT from Google DRIVE feature of WeVideo!  

I would love to see your video projects and hear how using Google Tools with WeVideo helps your team collaborate on video projects!  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

And the Winner Is....

As many of you know, I do a lot of my work remotely from our 1983 vintage Bluebird bus.  There are advantages to that like having the view from my office change from the ocean in San Diego one week to the Arizona desert in the following week.

However one of the downfalls is that you miss out on  some of the energy that face to face interactions bring to an event.  Whether I’m teaching an online class or working on a committee remotely,   I’m constantly looking for ways to  bridge the miles, keep learning personal, and bring the human energy found in face to face interactions to my work.

Recently I was sitting alone in my office getting ready to make good on a promise to give out some  prizes for a contest where students and teachers shared  links to videos and other multimedia projects that might inspire others to create videos in their teaching and learning  environments. 

I was so excited by the outcome -  we collected 100 videos and made them available in a screening room  (popcorn and all) in the Innovation Lounge of  Vermont’s  spring educational technology conference - Dynamic Learning.  And the best part is that this collection could now be shared anytime - anywhere  to inspire others.  Why not grab some popcorn and watch a few flicks yourself.

How I wish everyone who submitted could be in the room with me as I expressed my gratitude to them for their hard work completing the projects, but also taking the time to share it!  The face to face thank you followed by a high energy random drawing of the prizes would have been ideal.  And suddenly I had an idea!  What if we could use video  to capture some of the excitement of a face to face random drawing!

Within minutes I had found a fun random name picker  from Class Tools  and was using WeVideo’s screenrecording  tool to record the selection of 3 winners.

It might not be quite the same as being there face to face, but it was definitely more fun for me to select the winners and hopefully more fun for teachers and students to watch the spinningwheel than to get a quick 20 second email that list 3 winners.  At least for a few minutes..they could feel the excitement  of not knowing if “THEY”  would be the winner.

Instead of a text based thank you note with a list of 3 winners, 
 here is what our participants received.

Yes there are lots of screen recording tools that can be used,  but the multitrack timeline mode of WeVideo allowed me to add some fun transitions,  some text based graphics, and  some suspenseful music from the WeVideo library.  Here’s a screencast of my process that might be helpful for those of you who are new to WeVideo.

(Disclosure:  This Screencast was not created with WeVideo since I had to
capture WeVideo screen capture features to create the tutorial) 

I love thinking of new ways to leverage today’s technology to support teaching and learning. I would consider this application to the at the AUGMENTATION level on the SAMR model. Hope this little tip might be helpful to those of you in a blended learning environment.