Converting YouTubes

I have always been intrigued and love the challenge of the convertingĀ  different formats, whether it be to audio to different audio format, video to different video format, documents to different document format or the list goes on. After reading Jacqueline’s blog post about how she was able to convert XPS to PDF, thank you Jacqueline, I have been inspired to share my own favorite conversion. It converts YouTube clips to any audio or video format of your choice. This process takes place online and it’s free at onlinevideoconverter or alternatively you can add a browser extension in a snap to chrome, safari or firefox! For the video format conversion alone, you can convert YouTube to .mp4 (my personal favourite as then it’ll play on VLC player seamlessly), .avi, .mpg, .mov, .mk4, .m4v, .webm, .flv, .3gp. The conversion process takes less than a minute for most YouTubes, and then you’ll have it on your computer eliminating a reliance on internet connection and/or buffering potential hiccups. Of course you need to adhere to copyright protocols, but it’s a site that adds to your arsenal of convenient ICT for educators. There’s plenty of other converters out there, but this is my favorite. If you have other, please feel free to share.

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Voki, create personalised speaking avatars!

My first experience in front of the classroom came when undertaking the Cambridge English Language Teaching to Adults course. Its lesson structure still underpins a lot of my teaching pedagogy today where I prefer to hold off on giving the ‘success criteria’ and ‘learning intention’ until I have challenged the class to identify it for themselves. In the CELTA model, this was known as the eliciting process. While visual material can be used as prompts to elicit vocabulary or themes, I have always found that my successful lessons have come through storytelling and engaging students to be invested in the happenings of my story. Total Physical Response (TPR) is an essential partner in this orientation phase, particularly when working with children who speak English as an additional language. Today when reading Ashley’s blog I came across a wonderful idea to engage students, meaning my reliance on caffeine to get my imagination and storytelling inspiration going can be somewhat lessened. Voki is an app that allows you to make speaking avatars. You can customize your avatar by skin color, voice and accent, language, clothes, hair, among many other options. After writing your script, your avatar can engage students in a way they’ve never been engaged before. In voki classroom, students can create their own voki and complete set assignments interactively, tapping into the their creative side. I’m liking the look of it, so that’s heartening, because I actually need to use it in Maths this semester. Stay tuned for an update or two, though, but if you like it or have alternatives, leave your thoughts. Mr Clancy.

Gliffy; sharing visualisations effortlessly!

At Uni this week we were asked to practice using conceptual modelling to solve a chosen Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related problem. Our professor suggested using Gliffy for drawing the conceptual model. I went ahead and joined the site and slapped together a few squares to represent computers, and threw in some directional arrows and text. The end result was a somewhat successful visual representation of the ICT problem I was attempting to interpret. Later, I went back to Gliffy to see what it is capable of doing. Its tagline is “where ideas take shape” but importantly it allows users to create a variety of shapes in any browser before saving, exporting or printing; basic diagrams, flow charts, organisational charts, Network diagrams (why i didn’t use that for my task, I don’t know), venn diagrams, mindmaps and more. I can think of a one teacher I work close to that would like the venn diagram choice after having me butcher four successive free handed venn diagrams for her class last week). It took me no more than one minute to make my conceptual map (although I have been working on my growth mindset), so that means for a student to make a visual interpretation of any learning, it wouldn’t take much longer. Anyway, for a professional finish that gives students some choice in presentation, I think this little beuty has something to offer.