Friday, August 24, 2012

Talking maps? Yup, and on your blog, in 3 easy steps

It's no secret that I really enjoy using technology, especially in the classroom, and I like to find new ways to use new apps to do new things. British Literature students have an assignment to prove that they understand where the difference-makers of the first millennium (a.d.) came from, and to do that, they'll be using 3 apps to make a 60-90 second annotated video map. Here's how:
Maps (built-in)
  1. Screenshot your map. Using the Maps app, take a screenshot of the area you're going to be annotating. To do this, get the map in the correct position, and press the Home and Power buttons at the same time.

    By the way, make sure you set the map to the Satellite view. To do that, press the little page corner thing at the bottom right of the screen and select the correct view. I will not give points for doing this as the already-labeled Standard view, so change it!

  2. Edit the map with Skitch. There's a couple of nice drawing programs I've used since I had my iPad, but the two things I like about Skitch that sets it apart from the others is 1) you can send Skitches drawings to Evernote so easily, and 2) you can put an image* down as a "layer" beneath the drawing and easily write on top of it. Better yet, if you make a mistake or need to adjust something, you can easily clear everything except your original image off the program. Excellent.

    So about that map of Britain from the last step: When you screenshot it, it went into your iPad's Photo library. On Skitch, then, open that picture and add in the important "written" information for this assignment, like where the Celts or Vikings were from, or where Normandy is, or which part of Great Britain has London. Once you're finished, hit the little Send button (  )and then send it back to your photos.

    You should now have two copies of that map: the original blank one and the newly annotated one. Boom.

  3. ShowMe
    Annotate it with ShowMe.  Here's the fun part: with ShowMe, you can create "screencasts", or recordings of what you're drawing on the screen (and what you're saying outloud while you do it). I've shown how to use this program (and a similar, yet inferior, one called ScreenChomp before), and I've assigned students to show how Shakespearean sonnets "work" using ShowMe. Heck, I've even posted an excellent (albeit kimchi-scented) example using ShowMe.

    So, of course, we'll be doing it again for this assignment, with the twist being that you'll be screencasting your already-annotated Skitch-made screenshots, adding voiceover and movement. Download the ShowMe app, sign in (with is fine), and create a new project. On opening, you'll have a blank white canvas. Tapping on the little picture button at the top ( ) will allow you to select the background image you want ( yellow arrow ):

    When you're ready to start talking, press the little red circle (  ) at the top of the screen ( red arrow ), and ShowMe will record whatever you draw and whatever say out loud. Once you're finished you can simply hit the pause button, and ShowMe will upload it.

  4. BONUS STEP: EMBED INTO YOUR BLOG WITH BLOGSY. Say whaaaat? Yes, you can! My favorite little program will allow you easily embed your presentation into the post. Find your ShowMe presentation on their website (you'll probably have to log in again) and click the little Embed link icon (  ). This will give you the code necessary to post to your blog. I'd suggest you adjust the width of the size to 400px by 300px, but that's just me, someone who will be grading you (HINT HINT).

    Take this code to Blogsy and paste it into the HTML mode (which you get to by clicking the  button on the bottom right of the main page). Once you've pasted it, toggle back to the Formatting mode (by clicking the ), upload the post, and wallah!--Take a look at your work! With any luck, your blog should have your annotated video screenshot embedded into it!
So that's all! YES, it's a lot of steps, but truly, the hardest part should be learning the information you're going to explain, and you were going to do that, anyways! Best of luck to students in doing this process, and like always, email me if you have any issues in getting it uploaded.

*And, by extension, anything you can screenshot: photos, a web page, a map, a game, whatever.

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