Friday, March 25, 2011

Circumventing Animoto

I'm not all that thrilled about the re-designing of Animoto.  Dropping the "shared" videos tab makes a teacher's life  harder--I liked being able to just scroll through that to watch/grade my student's videos.  Worse, I've now lost access to all the past videos that I used for demonstrations, since they've locked down the site so you can no longer search through other users' public videos.  What's up with that, Animoto???

My internet connection here in Borneo is not the best; it can take forever to log on, and once you're on, it repeatedly kicks you off.  Not good for a 50 minute presentation highly dependent on online videos and tools.  I've been frantically trying to "internet proof" the workshop the last few nights:  I downloaded the Prezi, took screenshots of the apps (Animoto and Myna) in case they're not working, and downloaded the Animoto videos.  That's where I hit the troublespot:  Two of my examples were from my last school, and since they're not in my account, I can't download them (though, fortunately, I had links, so could still access them!)

I tried using Video Download Helper (a Firefox add-on) to download the booktrailer, but that doesn't work on Animoto anymore.  After trying a couple other tools, I finally found Real Player SP for Mac.  It's a quick download, then

  • Open the program, go to File>Open Location, add the URL and wait for RP to load the page.
  •  In the meantime, go to Window>Open RealPlayer Downloader.
  • Back in the RealPlayer window, click play for the video, which will open it in Downloader, with a download button. Click that, and you're good to go!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Prodigal Blogger Returns, Along with iPhone Citations much for my Christmas blogging blitz!  I have just not been motivated to blog the past few months.  I'd have an idea for a post or learn something new, but couldn't be bothered to actually write it down and share.  Not good.  Mea culpa.  I suspect if you search that term on the blog, it would pop up several times; I'm definitely a go-through-phases poster, which is only the least reason among many while I'll never be a Doug or a Buffy or a Joyce.

Anyway, I am currently escaping from the end of the Mongolian winter and luxuriating in a 5 star hotel in Borneo,  attending EARCOS, the big conference for Asian international schools.  I'm doing a short workshop tomorrow on Animoto booktrailers, which I've written about previously here, so I won't do it again!  

I'm attending other workshops, though, and have fodder for much online thought, in addition to planning and running Literacy Week at the school a few weeks ago, so I'll post all my stuff on that once I'm back.

In the meantime, here's a nifty little iPhone app I learned about yesterday:  Quick Cite
It's a 99 cents app wherein you basically take a picture of a book's barcode, and it emails you the citation. You can choose among several formats: MLA, APA, etc.  and they have plans to integrate with EndNote--f any of you are using that--in the next few days.

I'm excited about this.  Like most schools, ours "officially" tells students they can't use their phones, but let's be realistic about it.  I ignore that most of the time (as do the students!), and love pointing out ways they can use their smartphones for something other than texting!  In fact, I'd argue we have an obligation to do that, but not everyone agrees.

That's it for now--I'm off to the Bornean forests to view the Orangutans!  I attended a workshop yesterday on QR Codes, so will post my thoughts on those tomorrow. (I know, I know:  you've heard THAT before! )