Sue Waters Blog

November 30, 2007
by Sue Waters
10 Comments

Quick Tips For Videos

Part of my work involves teaching others how to podcast and when it comes to video my advice always is STOP! and LOOK! first before you consider ever creating your own videos. You can spend a lot of time creating videos — I know I spend way too much time creating videos for my podcast site. There is sooooo much content already on the Internet that it is often more efficient to use videos created by others.

I recommend searching 3 main video sharing sites:
1. Google Video

Google Video search results now include videos on lots of other video hosting services (e.g. MySpace, Yahoo!Video), in addition to YouTube’s and their own uploads. This is faster than searching all the video sharing and hosting websites.

2. YouTube

While Google owns YouTube you will obtain different search results when you search both sites using the same search term and YouTube only includes their own uploads i.e. YouTube videos. Also videos on Google Video have not time restriction whereas YouTube videos are restricted to less than 10 minutes.

3. VideoJug

I LOVE VideoJug because:

  • Their main focus is “how-to-do” videos
  • They include a written text of their videos which you could use to develop a series of questions
  • Most of their videos can be downloaded in a range of formats i.e. suitable for an ipod, PSP or mobile phone. However you need to create an account to download their videos.

Thanks Joe for reminding me that VideoJug has videos on “how-to-use” applications such as PowerPoint, create podcasts, use twitter …. check out the list of videos at the bottom of Joe’s post on How to Create a Talking Book. I normally demonstrate their videos using How To A Homie Handshake because everyone has a great laugh.

Once they have located the videos they then learn to:

Embed videos in web sites

Here is the instructions for embedding in:

Download videos

googlevideourl

The idea is they can use the videos in class or play on mobile devices. Some video

sharing sites make it hard to download videos. Also Google Video and YouTube videos are .flv format which means you need to convert to a format suitable to play when downloaded.

NOTE: To download a video you locate on Google Video you need to view the video on its original video sharing web site.

Here are some options:

1. Zamzar

Zamzar is a free online converter that will convert image formats, document formats (e.g. Word, PDF), music formats, video formats (refer to this page for more information on file format).

Once you have located a suitable video you copy the URL of the video and paste it into the URL text box at zamzar.com then press add URL. Now select your video format (choose .avi for PDAs and PCs, mp4 for ipods). Next insert your email address and press convert. You will receive an email within 30 minutes the link to the converted stored at Zamzar and you have 24 hours to download the video (Thanks Darren — you were right).

zamzar1.jpg

2. Free Online FLV converter

vconvert

Sites like Google Video and YouTube use .FLV format for their videos. Online FLV converters are able to download and convert videos into a range of video formats. Once the file is converted you then download from their website.

vConvert.net will convert FLV to formats such as wmv, mov, mp4, mp3, 3gp. Suz recommends vConvert.net because it is a much more reliable flv converter than Vixy which she has found would frequently corrupt a file on longer videos (thanks Suz). Definite benefit is this site provides more conversion options than Vixy but you will need to create an account to use.

Vixy is a free online FLV converter (i.e. this is the video format used by many video sharing web sites) that you can use for downloading and converting videos for PC, ipod and PSP. Once the file is converted you then download from their website.

vixy.jpg

3. KeepVid for downloading the video and Super C to convert

Here are the instructions on how use KeepVid and Super C (this is the last resort option because more steps involved). I use Super C all the time for video conversions however it does take time to get used to using.

FINAL THOUGHT

Would love to hear about your experience with videos. What is your favorite video sharing web site(s) for locating videos? Have you got any tips for downloading videos? Where do you like to host your own videos?

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider subscribing for free.

June 5, 2007
by Sue Waters
11 Comments

Tools of the Trade

tool2.jpgDarren at Drape’s Take did an excellent post today on Why Every Teacher Should Have A Google Account. This is a list of basic tools that I recommend to lecturers:

Bookmarking

Definitely a bookmarking site is a must. It is so great to be able to bookmark a website online that you can then view from any computer. I just love the fact that where ever I am I can go yes I remember reading an article on a particular topic and pull up my del.icio.us site and locate the articles I want to read without having to relocate the article again (and normally I fail to locate the original article). You can also set up del.icio.us sites with students so that they can collaboratively bookmark sites to select the top sites for information on topics.

However if you are going to bookmark using del.icio.us I suggest you:

  1. Use tags that have meaning e.g podcasting, PodcastingEquipment (if you put a space between Podcasting and Equipment you will have two separate tags and Equipment to me may also mean aquaculture equipment. Alternatively you could separate with an underscore Podcasting_Equipment)
  2. Sort your tags by setting up bundles and put your tags into the correct bundles – this way you can located the articles you want to read easier)
  3. If you are using Firefox as your browser there is a new cool Add-on for del.icio.us. If you are not using Firefox then think about installing it because it is a great Browser, I now use it more than Internet Explorer.

If you want to know more about using del.icio.us check out my information on getting more out of del.ici.ous.

Wiki

I like using wikis as a quick and easy web site to share information with others. They are also excellent for encouraging collaborative learning between students. Personally I like using Wikipaces because their wiki is very easy to use and they have excellent customer service. If you want to know more about using wikis check out my information on getting more out of wiki.

Blog

I like both blogger (easy to use) and edublogs for blogging. I strongly recommend that you download and use Microsoft Livewriter which makes writing blog posts so much easier; and what a fanastic program. I had a hard time getting into blogging until I watched the following videos on blogging: Video: Blog History – shorten version and Long Video : Blogumentary – (1 hour) Thanks to Kate from Waxlyrical blog for recommending these videos. Check out Vicki Davis’s at Cool Cat Teacher’s blog tips on how to be an incredible blogger. While I agree with Darren about the value of teacher’s blogging I do think that Derek’s thoughts on online participation that for new people starting by commenting on blogs may be a good starting point.

Podcasting

I use Podomatic for podcasting however occasionally use Odeo. I prefer podomatic because it gives me a great podcast page which Odeo doesn’t. There are things about podomatic that I don’t like. For ideas for setting up a podcast page check out my podcast site aquaculturepda.podomatic.com

Comics

I have used two different free comic makers ToonDoo and Comeeko. No reason other than it is fun!!!!

ToonDoo is really easy to use (as they made it easy for kids to use) and they have lots of great characters, backgrounds and props that you can use. Basically anyone can easily create nice comics using ToonDoo – great fun for all ages – my 8 year old really enjoyed using ToonDoo as do I. The only issue I have had with ToonDoo is embedding my comics into my blog posts, these are my instructions on how to embed ToonDoo comics into an edublog blog.

The difference between ToonDoo and Comeeko is that with Comeeko you can use your own photos to make the comic. Comeeko is considerably harder to use than ToonDoo however a lot of fun because you use your own photos (which is very appealing).

Photosharing

Finally started to appreciate the value of photosharing and now am using Flickr.

Google

I am definitely a Google addict. Here is my list of Google MUSTS:

1. Personalized google homepage

I have set up my own personalized google homepage. If you haven’t give it a try. All you need to do is set up a Google account and then click on “Personalize this page” at the top of Google. You can add lots of little cool gadgets to the page (e.g. “to do list”, news feeds, Weather information, world clock, Google video) and whatever computer you are on you can sign into your personalized Google and access the items on the page (if you become too addicted you can add extra tabs – yes I know I need a life).

2. Google Reader

I use Google reader to subscribe to blogs and podcasts feeds. It is really easy to use, and I can put a gadget for it on my Personalized google homepage that shows me the latest 9 blogs and podcasts. Also I love how people are embedding Google Reader in their blogs and sharing their items that they like from their reader. I was totally unable to get into blogging until I started appreciating the value of blogs by subscribing to blogs using Google Reader

3. Google Talk

I use Google Talk for chatting with others but prefer Skype for VOIP. OOPS occassionally with Google Talk I have sent the wrong chat to the wrong person. If you don’t have a VOIP application on your computer. Definitely a must – you can talk or chat to anyone, anywhere, using the Internet, at no cost.

4. Google Video

I prefer to upload videos to google video if I want to embed them in wikis or blogs.

BTW I keep failing Vicki Davis’s 3 Rule of 10 habits of bloggers that winRULE 3 Write and then cut in half! :) There is no hope for me? :D

May 4, 2007
by Sue Waters
0 comments

Is there such as thing as too much wiki?

No, I don’t think there is so such as too much wiki! I am consistently amazed with all the different ways you can use wikis and I still have so much more to learn.

The great part of creating podcasts is it is part of my learning journey because I learn so much about the topic of the podcast due to the the time it takes me to create them and the amount of research I do while creating. While I am creating and editing the podcasts I reflect on the implications of the topic in my work and how I can use it to benefit me. This was how I became to realise the wide range of possibilities for using wikis as a result of my series of podcasts on wikis.

My interview with Adam Frey from wikispaces of the use of wikis in education made me realise how value wikis can be for encouraging collaborative learning in education. I then followed up this interview with my tips for setting up your own wiki where I gain a greater knowledge of how to use wikis from a technical point of view. It was not until I created the podcast from Euan Semple’s presentation on using social computing in organisations that I realised that wikis are a great way to collaborate and effectively manage work in a organisation (why did I not realise that sooner!).

So here are all the ways I use wikis in my life to benefit me:

  1. Information wiki – my Mobile technology in TAFE wiki is a place where I can get work done, develop and store information. When I facilitate training in e- and m- learning I can quickly create a hand out from my “how to” information.
  2. Project wiki – When I facilitate training I set up a project wiki to record the progress of the project, use it as a place for participants to develop their ideas (instead of sending emails they are asked to put their ideas and thoughts on the wiki) and as a place for participants to record their thoughts on their learning journey. The Visage Training Centre wiki is an example of this type of wiki. In this project they are increasing their ability to use PDAs for assessing and delivery of contents. The added benefit in using the wiki is while their project is not about wikis, indirectly they are learning how to use a wiki as part of their project. For me the great thing about the wiki is their progress is recorded on the wiki so I do not have to remember which file and folder on my computer I have put the information.
  3. Project management wiki – our Challenger TAFE wiki is an example how you can manage projects using a wiki. Rather than send emails and documents back and forward. Then forget which version you are up to it can be done directly on the wiki. I can access the information and work on it from which ever location and computer I am on. I have now even embedded a calender into our wikis – which is really cool!

For me the added benefit of it all is that my gain in knowledge of how to use wikis has taught others their benefit and they are now using them for their work.