Sunday, November 29, 2009

Photo Sharing With Google's Picasa

Picasa is Google's fast and easy photo sharing program. Google states, "Picasa & Picasa Web Albums make it easy for you to organize and edit your digital photos, then create online albums to share with friends, family & the world." The online program also provides you with plenty of storage and allows you to not only put your pictures on a safe server but also to share your images via email or online web pages. Picasa is also a great way to back up your pictures or to store pictures if you are low on storage space on your computer or your web server.

Creating A Photo SlideShow On Picasa

Below I will show you how you can use Picasa's embed slideshow to add a slideshow to display multiple pictures to your web page or blog via Picasa. If you do not know what an embed tag is take a look at my short previous post it will help you understand what you are about to do a little better.

Steps to making a web slideshow on Picasa:
Note: If you are familiar with Picasa skip to step 3.

1. First you will need a Google Account or Picasa account. Both are free and if you click on the links you can sign up. They will both give you access to Picasa. If you have a Google Gmail account then you already have an account. Just go to Picasa's web page and login with your same username and password as your Gmail account.

2. Upload your pictures to an album. You can use Picasa's online uploading program or install Picasa on your computer to do this. If you install the program be sure to look for the button that says upload your pictures online. I also suggest you watch the videos below so you can get a better understanding of how Picassa works.

3. Once your pictures are uploaded go to your online album on the right side click on the
Link to this album

4. Then click on the Embed Slideshow. This tag will allow you to create your slideshow.

5. A new window will open that will ask
you how you would like your slideshow to appear once you post it. You will need to chose the size and what you would like to include in your slide show like captions and links.

6. Next copy the embed tag by going to Edit copy on your browser or use the short cut key Control C

7. Paste the embed tag into your blog or webpage HTML. On Blogger you will need to go to the Edit HTML section of your post to paste it. In Dreamweaver you will do the same thing add the code to your HTML area.

8. Upload your webpage or publish your blog post and you've got yourself a very fancy slideshow embed in your page.

Picasa Introduction Videos

Click on the arrows to move to the next video on my playlist.

What Are Embed Tags?

Embed tags allow you to add movies, music, flash files, pictures, widgets, your Twitter and Facebook feeds, and all sorts of gadgets to your web pages. Embed tags in HTML (the language used to write webpages) are written like this: < embed src="helloworld.swf" > You can read more about embed tags at W3 schools.

Whenever you see embed tags it usually indicates that the gadget can probably be added to your blog or web page by adding the code following the < embed > tag on your page. A good example is the embed tag you find in a YouTube video. As long as the creator of the video hasn't disabled the embed code you can grab the video's embed code and add the video to your blog post or web page. In my next post I will show you how to add a picture slideshow using an embed tag to a web page or blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fun Classroom Learning With Video

Student Learning Is Easy When You Make A Video

Do you have students who have difficulty learning something? Memorizing is an option, but how about putting students in a video to help them reflect on the standard they are trying to master. This month my first grader had to do just that. He had to memorize a poem for his grade level's poetry recital. He chose Jaberwocky, by Lewis Carroll. You might have also seen him tweeting his lines to practice on Twitter. The poem's rhetoric is difficult for any age group since the words in the poem do not exist. Needless to say it was a challenge to remember and learn it. So I decided to create a video to give him the opportunity to hear himself pronounce the words. With his video, he was able to see where he needed to work on his inflection and where he needed additional practice. The result, thanks to all his hard work, was he was one of three finalists from his class. We were very proud of him. I don't know about you, but I also see how this type of learning through video creation can have application to help ESOL or ESE students.

Jabberwocky In The Tulgey Woods

This is my son reciting his video and yes he's in the Tulgey Woods from Alice in Wonderland. We created the effect using Photo Booth 2.03 on a Mac. This fun application allows you to take video and add backgrounds to your video. It is a ton of fun to use and you could literally put yourself in any country or any location. The background could even be a computer motherboard. If you look at this previous post, you will see me experimenting with it at the Discovery Education workshop. Thanks Hall Davidson for the great tutorial! I have included directions on how to do this effect on Photo Booth below.

Photo Booth Requirements:
  1. You will need a web cam and a MAC. If you do not have a MAC see below for free alternatives for Windows.
  2. Then you will need Photo Booth 2.03 or above. This program comes pre-installed with OS X.

  1. First be sure you have your picture ready. You will need the picture to be in .jpg, .gif, or .png format. There are some really cool pre-made backgrounds already preset in the program that you can use too.
  2. Go to the video camera feature it looks like a movie rail.
  3. Use the arrow keys to scroll to the drop your background here feature
  4. Drop your background (your picture)
  5. Click on the video camera to record your video
  6. The program will ask you to step out of the frame and then back in
  7. I recommend you have a clean background. Think green screen like they do in the movies. The cleaner the background the better the quality of your film.
  8. Have fun!
  9. If you make anything neat be sure to share. I would love to see your ideas. My students are working on Networking Web pages so you might just see a follow up post using their Networking video examples.
Windows Users:

If you are on a Windows machine there are quite a few programs you can try. Any of the programs below can offer the same kind of affect however some of them only take pictures and do not allow video. Also you will need a webcam and your web browser will need Adobe Flash installed. Some of these sites work best if you sign up for a free account and some do not work on a MAC.