Wednesday 22 December 2010

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 for educational video creation

 I have been assisting with some geology field trials of the TurningPoint system headed by fellow Learning Technologist Sid White, and thought this would be a great opportunity to experiment with the latest FREE Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 for Windows 7 to create the video above. Users will be pleased to know that Microsoft have expanded the range of accepted video formats.  It's now a simple case of drop and drag into the work area and start editing.  All the videos used for this clip came from a Canon 550D (HD, 25fps), the files are in MOV format, but I found they easily dropped straight into the work area. The software then creates a low quality render of the video so you can then experience the video at all the stages of the editing - in real-time!

There is a very good range of transitions, some professional and other perhaps now entering the realms of clichĂ©, however, this did not detract from being able to create a fairly professional output from this software. Notably, users can only add one extra sound track, which is a bit of a limitation. I was particularly impressed with how well it handed every drag and dropped video, each could be cropped and/or copied while inside the editor, very slick.

The other excellent additions were the ability to upload directly to YouTube and also to create a DVD of your video!  I was able to output my video as a sensibly compressed WMV (Windows Media Video), which I also found I could easily upload to YouTube or the University's UpMedia area for inclusion on iTunesU.

All in all a very excellent free software package.  Could this be the Windows 7 tool of choice for making educational videos fast and efficiently amongst busy academics?  Time will tell...

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Mohive training, for online train materials

Dr Richard Thain (Project leader), Becki Vickerstaff (fellow Learning Technologist) and myself spent the last two days training, under the careful tuition of Alan Payne (Fugro Subsea Services). These sessions were to familiarise ourselves with Fugro's own Mohive environment. The Mohive platform is used by Fugro to develop content for their geoscience, survey, and geotechnical services. This session, for me, marked the start of a much larger collaboration with, CENORE and Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) HM to develop distance learning content for a Hydrographic Surveying module here at the University of Plymouth.

Mohive is a SCORM compliant Flash based content development system that allows various forms of teaching and learning materials to be developed efficiently within an online interface, which is ideal for collaborative work. It also has the ability to allows users to create anything from simple quizzes all the way to adding interactivity to embedded video content. All this in a rather tidy interface.

During the training we were given a mini project in which we had to create a teaching and learning guide on how to sharpen a pencil; we even covered elements of health and safety! Exampled below is a quick (tongue and cheek) video I created as part of the training, which encompassed each of the stages to sharpening a pencil... I think with only two days of training, using a simple concept as sharpening a pencil really helped us to focus primarily on using the interface. All an all a very fun and extremely useful couple of days. A big thank you to Alan's efficient tuition. We will certainly all be looking forward to future collaborations on this initiative.