Multimedia: Creating a Class Avatar

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Though I’ve been working to flip learning in my classroom for a while, one of my tasks for school was to create a short instructional video.  If you are interested in seeing just how easy it can be, read below!

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 4.42.23 PM

 

Introduction

Task 3 asks students to create a multimedia presentation for use in instruction. As I work to build the new content for my 1:1 English III American Literature Class, I decided to create a video to guide students through the creation of their personal avatar using Bitstrips on their school-issued iPads. This task will be assigned to students the first day of class as the avatar is used on a daily basis to monitor progress on a visual bulletin board on display in the class. Additionally, students will use their avatar and the Bitstrips App itself for a variety of classroom assignments throughout the year. The video for this lesson has been uploaded on my class page and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-6-NV8nP5g.

Planning the Video

Instructional Purpose

Austin-East Magnet School of the Arts is a 1:1 school where all students have been assigned iPads and all teachers are expected to find some manner of incorporating them into the class curriculum. English III, however, piloted the iPads and now operates in a Personalized Learning Environment with limited whole class instruction. To help monitor progress, student avatars are clipped onto the current module in the course. Additionally, students will use their avatars to demonstrate mastery of specific skills and concepts on a variety of assignments throughout the year. Therefore, the purpose of this lesson is to guide students to create a personalized classroom avater using Bitstrips. This application was selected as it is exciting and always changing, hopefully engaging students in the curriculum like never before. Learners in the lesson will consist of 125 juniors enrolled in English III. Technological skills of these students is somewhat limited as there is no formal technology class, though the students have had access to the iPads during the previous school year.

Concept Mapping

            Before creating the video, I created the lesson plan and determined how I wanted to create the video. First, I listed out exactly what I needed to include in the lesson. Then, I created a powerpoint file with slides for explaining the objective and the steps of the task based on what I generated in my planning. I also included a sample of my Bitstrip and how the avater would be beneficial to me as a student within the content of the slides as well. In scripting my voice over for the lesson, I used a graphic organizer to track key details I needed to include. Finally, I decided it might be helpful to include a few screenshots of the process of creating the avatar on Bitstrips. To get the screenshots, I reset my account on Bitstrip so that I could start from the beginning and have pictures of what the students would actually see during their process. I have been creating videos for classroom instruction for a while, so I planned my video using the same graphic organizer I have used at Austin-East.

Objective: Through the use of Bitstrips, the student will be able to create a personalized avatar for monitoring progress and completion of future classroom assignments.Steps:

1. Students will download and install the app.

2. Students will create the avatar.

3. Students will submit the avatar through Canvas for grading.

Slide/Screen Image Description/Notes/Scripting
Intro Slide Welcome to the course; general purpose of creating the avatar to guide the PLE.
Objective/Steps Read objective to students as expected by TAP guidelines. Transition into a review of the steps to complete the lesson.
Step 1 – Screenshot of app in the app store. This will help ensure students are getting the right app. Also, students will be instructed to pause the video here, continuing after the installation of the app.
Steps – 2/3 Continue with explaining students will create the avatar and submit it to Canvas for grading.
Meet Bitstrip Steph~ Avatar

~ Picture of Module Progression

Show my Bitstrip as an example, including images of the purpose of the avatar.~ Module Progression – Point out that the images are the lessons and the things hanging on the bottom are the avatars to signal where students are in the lesson.
Sample Bitstrip Assigmnet Show sample of a final product using Bitstrips.
Screenshots of Avatar Creation Include screenshots to let students see the process of creating the avatar once in the application. This helps get students excited about all of the options they will have for creating the avatar to resemble them as closely as possible.
Closure Slide Remind students they can ask for help at any time.

 

Creating the Video: Process Explanation

Once I had the plan, the powerpoint slides, and the screenshots, I began to create my instructional video using Explain Everything. I selected this application because it is the easiest screencasting application I have found while working to flip my classroom. While the process followed may seem confusing at first, the icons make the application a fantastic method for building and editing videos that can easily be shared to Youtube.

Step 1: Import the powerpoint slides into a new project.

The easiest way to import the powerpoint slides is directly from email. After creating the powerpoint on my computer, I email myself the file. On the iPad, I open the powerpoint. Once the powerpoint is open, I hold down the icon to open the file with a specific program and select Explain Everything. When Explain Everything opens, the program defaults to creating a new project with the incoming images.

Step 2: Add any additional images or slides desired.

To add slides, I simply clicked the plus sign on the bottom left of the screen. This area shows the total number of slides in the film strip. After the powerpoint, I was starting with nine slides. When I added the screenshots from the Bitstrip app, I needed two more slides. To add the screenshot of the app store, I navigated to slide three and added a slide there. To install the desired picture, I clicked the add button from the left menu. When the add option menu opened, I selected to add from existing photos. This opened my camera roll so that I only needed to touch the desired photo to add it to the slide. Once added, a photo editing menu bar appears. I enlarged the image to fill the screen completely and moved on to working on another slide. At this point, I was ready to add the screenshots of actually using the application so students would know what to expect. For this, I decided I wanted to add all three images on the same slide to save time. To do this, I went to the tenth slide and click the plus sign to add a slide. On the new slide, I again selected the add button from the left, navigating through adding from existing photos and selecting the images from my camera roll. To save time, I included only four images: the main entry image for gender selection, the first screen to pick the facial shape, the menu of categories for creating the specific looks and accessories for the avatar, and the final approval of the avatar. Having all of my slides entered into the project, I was ready to begin recording the voice over.

Step 3: Record the Voice Over.

To record the voice over, I kept my planning guide on the screen of my laptop while working from the screen of my iPad. Starting at slide one, I touched the red circle that signals the record button and began talking. When I was finished with the slide and ready to go to the next slide, I clicked the pause button before advancing the slide. I find the pause button before advancing the slide is a helpful step in case editing is needed to individual slides – you don’t have to worry about cutting off in the middle of a sentence or cutting the audio too close because the extra second pause gives the time to make the splits and adjustments if they are needed. Because I operate the video just as I would in the classroom, though, I also use the writing tool for emphasis. On the slide with the screenshot of the app store, I used the writing tool to circle the app I wanted students to download. On the slide where I show the examples of how the avatar is helpful, I used the writing tool to underline the avatars that were hanging on the course module display to draw emphasis to their presence.

For each slide, I follow the same process of recording, playing it back, and moving to the next slide. When I find I don’t like the way a slide sounds, I simply record over the audio and start fresh. To do this, I select the button to show audio and pull the cursor over to the zero on the audio timer. The screen automatically verifies the desire to film over the existing script, and once affirming this action I am able to record the slide again. Once I felt like each slide was where I wanted it to be, I held down the play button for a few seconds to make the magic play button open. The newly created play button is slightly larger than the stationary button on the screen because it allows the video to play in its entirety for once more preview before uploading or exporting the video. After watching my video, I realized I just barely made it under the two-minute maximum and decided I was ready for publication.

Step 4: Publish the video.

Publishing the final product in Explain Everything is also very easy. To publish, I simply touch the export icon on the lower right of the screen. A new menu option opens that allows me to select the method for sharing. I selected Youtube, and another menu opened up for me to add the name of the video and set the viewing status. I named the video for the task, and I set the video to public. From here, the work is done because the application automatically exports and uploads the video to my Youtube channel. Upon completion, the application opens a prompt with the link of the video and an option to automatically email the link. Out of habit, I email the link to myself and then click the link to verify the video has finalized correctly.

Benefits of Preplanning

When I first started making videos for my students, I did not take the time to create an outline of what I was going to say. This led to rambling in the videos, making the videos longer without any real reason for the length. Students would disengage from the videos, and I would tire of the hours waiting for the videos to export and upload. Then there was the challenge of storage. Creating an outline of the video was a natural progression that helped to make the whole process flow and produce a better final product with clear expectations and concise communication to the students.

When I am recording the video from my iPad, I have my graphic organizer outline of the video on the screen of my computer so that I can use it as a guide. Creating a plan for the video helps ensure the purpose of the video is met without leaving out vital details. Specifically considering this assignment, I knew I needed to get through the video instruction in less than two minutes. By planning the slides of the video in advance, I only included the bare minimum needed for the purpose of helping students create the avatar. By planning the description of what I was going to say, I was able to get directly to the point of the slide and not take too much time. By having the plan in front of me while working, I was able to stay focused and produce a clear video in a fraction of the time I would have taken otherwise. The greatest benefit I find, however, is that when I have created a thorough plan and reflect on the plan while working on the film, I stick to the plan, I say what needs to be said, and I don’t have to spend a large amount of time proofing and rerecording each individual slide.

 

 

 

 

References

Bitstrips. (2015). Bitstrips (Version 1.8.142). [Android Application Software]. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/.

 

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