Discovering Something New

This post is for my EDIM 514 Internet Tools For Teaching course.

This week I was asked to explore 3 new sites and share my thoughts. The three sites I chose are:

http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/

http://4freephotos.com/ 

http://ipiccy.com/ 

Screencast-o-matic:

I was excited to explore this site because I often times have to record quick videos to share with educators. When you are working with a large number of people and are asked “how do I do x,y.z” it’s much more efficient to create a quick video and post it instead of having to repeat yourself a million times.

What I really like about this website is that there is a “click here to start recording” option which gets you going instantly. You don’t have to register, with one click of a button you get a window that allows you to select what you want to record, and you are up and running. After you record, a window comes up that allows you to preview your recording. It also asks you what you want to do with the recording (upload to Screencast, upload to YouTube, or publish to Video File).

If you want more features and functionality, you can download Screencast. I clicked on the download button and it easily walked me through the download and installation process. It took about 3-5 minutes before I was up and running. Once I opened the app it asked if I want to enable Pro features or continue with the free version. I chose free version. It opened the same screen I saw before that allows me to adjust the area I want to record, add the webcam, adjust the volume, and record. Once I begin recording it gives you a “3, 2, 1” countdown before the recording begins. After you select “done”, it asks you the same options I mentioned earlier of what you want to do with this video.

I’m sure the pro version gives you more options, but I think this free version is great for educators and for students. You can record your voice and the computer screen, creating quick and easy tutorials for students. For example, if you are a HS math teacher you could record yourself solving a math problem and post it online so students can watch while they work on their homework. Or you could have your students record themselves solving a math problem or a science equation so you can see their thought process.

All in all I think this is a very simple, easy to use website that allows you to start recording directly from the site or download the app to your computer. No need to register  or give any information which makes it even more appealing. There are no obnoxious adds on the site and it’s very user friendly. All of the buttons tell you what they do when you hover over it, making it very easy to use. I think this is a great resource for teachers or students to use whenever they want to create quick video tutorials.

4Freephotos:

4Freephotos is a public domain website of great quality images. From the website “We are a group of photographers who enjoy taking pictures and decided to share them with the public to use them for free in their private or commercial projects. We hope you find the collection of free and public domain images useful.”

This is a great resource for educators and students because they don’t have to worry about if they have rights to use the image they find from this site.

As I explored the site, I found it very user friendly and easy to navigate. There are categories on the left hand side of the screen, as well as a search box at the top of the site to search for a specific image. Once you find an image, you can share it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +), and you can download it. Once I clicked on download it automatically started to download.

I like that you don’t have to create an account to use this site. The images I found seem very high quality. I think this is a great site for educators to use to add images to their presentations, making them look more professional. I also think this is a great site for students to use to search for images when they are working on digital projects. There are no adds on the site except for images you can purchase at the bottom of the screen.  My only concern for this site would be coming across inappropriate images that students should not see. But after doing a few searches I didn’t find anything that looked even remotely inappropriate.

iPiccy:

iPiccy is a free online photo editor. It allows you to upload an image and make a number of changes to it before you download the modified version. The site is free and there is no registration. You just click on the “start editing” button to get started. I really like sites that you don’t have to register for because the barrier to entry is low for educators that have a lower “click quota” 🙂 It also means you don’t have to remember a username or password.

Once I uploaded an image, the first thing I noticed was an add at the top of the screen that says “play with your webcam online, click to start!” This add is very concerning to me as an educator and I would be cautious to use this site with my students with an add like that.

The interface is very easy to navigate- there are a number of options on the left and along the top that allow me to modify the image- such as crop, add effects, painter, add frames, resize, etc. Once I’m finished editing the image, there is a save button that allows you to download, or upload to Flickr or Facebook.

I like the functionality of this website and the ease of use, and I would recommend this to educators for their own personal use to modify images. However I would hesitate to have them use it with students with adds like the one I mentioned above. I would love to find out if educators have used this with students and if so, did they have any issues with these ads.

(Enjoy the image I modified with iPiccy of my newborn son!)

Kellan

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