Next Vista: Video Database & Contests
Next Vista for Learning is a growing website that offers access to hundreds of FREE videos created by and for teachers and students. The videos are acquired through ongoing contests held by Next Vista, so it is constantly expanding and promises to grow with time.
One thing that I really like about this site is that it promotes students are creators, and not just consumers, of digital media, which can be very empowering. If students already possess the knowledge that needs to be taught, then let them design videos based on how they would want to learn. Kids know how other kids want their information delivered, so it makes sense to put them in the driver's seat. Video production could be easily modified depending on students' comfort level with technology. Beginners could use Web 2.0 tools, such as Animoto, or could record their videos with a camcorder; more advanced students could edit with programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to create transitions, animations, and themes.
I could see myself having students create videos for Next Vista for Learning, and then embedding these videos or linking to them on my classroom website. Creating these videos would be a great way to review content for exams, and these videos would become great anticipatory activities for following school years.
Note: Contests are held in the category of teacher-created, student-created, and collaboration videos.
IPEVO Document Camera for $69
The IPEVO p2v camera seems like a wonderful (not to mention cost-effective) option when compared to pricier document cameras, such as the Smart document camera or the Elmo. It's only $69 and is compatible with both Macs and PCs. It can function as a webcam or a document camera. It hooks up to your computer via USB port, and it can be clipped to your computer, hand held, or attached to a stand for use. Watch the embedded video below to see it in action. This piece of equipment seems very user-friendly, even for reluctant technology users. It also comes with an auto-focus button, which is sure to come in handy. This camera is only a few dollars more than most presentation mice, and way cheaper than a replacement bulb for your projector! This would be a great way for me to save some trees. Instead of photocopying all of my bellringer activities, I can simply set one copy under the camera and project the image onto my board. From the reviews I've seen online, the picture quality rivals that of more expensive document cameras. The only downside seems to be that the software that comes with this camera does not allow you to record presentations, although this may be possible with additional software.
Note: Since the original posting, I have had success using the IPEVO to create screencasts using Screenr.
Read Ladybug's Teacher Files blog post about the IPEVO p2v HERE
UPDATE: View my screencast of the IPEVO camera HERE.
Dr. Jessica Pilgreen, Ed.D.