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Video Killed the Radio Star

In looking at various video making programs this week, I learned a lot about making and using videos as both instructional and demonstrative materials. In particular, I looked at three specific programs this week that I thought would be useful for teachers and librarians.

The first program that I looked at was Adobe Spark. This is a free online program that allows users to create short videos. Spark is incredibly versatile because it allows you to create any style of video that you want, using images, text, and video clips, then overlay music or other audio to create a cohesive video. Spark also allows you to create a post or a page using templates for flyers or handouts. This could be a useful resource both in and out of the classroom. One way that librarians could use Spark is to create video updates for the school of new books or programs that are being implemented or to create reminders about school activities. Because the program is free and links to a google account, there is also the potential for students to use it to create videos based on research to promote project based learning and inquiry.

The second program was Screencast-O-Matic. This allows users to create a screencast, or a recording of what is on their screen, including a narration or other audio. While Screencast-O-Matic doesn’t have as much versatility as Spark, it is an excellent, user-friendly program for creating short videos, especially tutorials. These video clips can even be used in a longer video in Spark if you wanted to include more bells and whistles like music, transitions, and photos interspersed. Screencast-O-Matic is also available as a browser extension in Google Chrome and can be linked to a Google account as well, uploading videos directly to Google Drive. This is a great way for teachers and librarians to share information with each other and with students, and has been revolutionary in flipped classrooms. Students can also create screencasts for projects and present a PowerPoint or slideshow with narration, and share it easily with teachers. I used Screencast-O-Matic with my high school seniors this year for the final project, and they uploaded their videos to YouTube at the end. This was a really easy process and it prevented huge video files from clogging my email inbox! My students really enjoyed having free reign over their videos as well, and some of them got really creative!

Finally, I looked at and made a short graduation video through Animoto. I thought that Animoto was the easiest of the three tools to navigate and create with, although it was also somewhat limited in templates and formatting, at least when using the free educator version. I was able to upload several images and a short video and select music in a relatively short time frame, and organize them in the order that I wanted. This is definitely the best option for people who are less comfortable with video editing, whether they are students who are just figuring out how to navigate videos or teachers who are learning the same. It would be useful in a library for librarians to showcase activities and events through images and video clips, to share with the school and the community. The video quality is quite high, and looks very clean and professional when assembled!

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