Stop Motion Intensive @ Polaris

img_1695In late September, students from Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in grades 6-12 participate in week-long intensives. These intensives take students all over Colorado, the country and the city and involve various themes. One of the themes of the week was “Tinkering with Time” in which students wrote, filmed, and edited a stop motion movie similar to the Lego Movie or as some of us may remember, Gumby.


What did the students do?

Students spent two days story boarding and designing their sets and setup for capturing images. Students spent Wednesday filming, some students taking almost 2000 pictures using iMotion or Hue HD webcams and Animation Studio.  Thursday was spent editing using district-provided subscriptions to WeVideo, Adobe Premier and iMotion. Most of the materials used were purchased from student fees, direct donations and mill-levy funded devices like iPads and WeVideo subscriptions from the Educational Technology department.

Students describe the experience…

Students culminated the week by watching their videos on the big screen at the Lyric Cinema in old town Fort Collins. Each student was asked to discuss what they learned, what they liked and what they would do differently in the future.

Colton: “proud of doing something different” (than a normal school day)

Damacio: “I enjoyed story boarding and preparing for the project most”

Miller: “if I could change one thing it would be to be more patient, subtle movements would have made a more fluid animation”

Joe Gawronski (Polaris principal) stated he “think(s) the best part is watching a sixth grader work with a sophomore.

Kevin Denton (Polaris science teacher) enjoyed “watching people push themselves. It was a really difficult, slow project and I am proud of everyone’s efforts.”

Where can I watch the final products?

Untitled drawing (22)Student videos were posted to a YouTube playlist that is available here.  Please feel free to leave comments for students.

Please contact an EdTech facilitator if you are interested in recreating this experience with your students.

Tech in the Classroom

#innedco #edtech #edchat

During the year, the PSD tech trainers have the pleasure of working with teachers and students in the classroom. We really enjoy spending time building and teaching engaging, tech-embedded lessons.  Here is a collection of  recent video podcasts, put together by some of the tech trainers, showing the great work they’ve done at some PSD schools.

Click the pictures to view individual videos.


2nd grade students at Tavelli Elementary create their own Realebooks focusing on the relationship between animal adaptations and their habitat using the software program Realewriter.


The 6th grade Lincoln Scholars’ book club at Lincoln IB Middle School connect in a live video conference with Holly Goldberg Sloan who wrote “Counting by Sevens” using Skype and technology tools. 








Students in Sarah Keller’s economics class at Fort Collins High School use Popplet to demonstrate their understanding of international marketing.


As always, check our elementary, middle schools, and high schools podcast pages for other classroom ideas and updates.  You can also follow us on Twitter @TeachTechPSD and on Facebook /teachtechpsd

Where to Find Resources

#innedco #edtech #techtips

Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the technology resources PSD has to offer.  In this screencast, we show where some commonly used resources can be found on the Poudre School District website.

Principles for Fair Use in Journalism

#innedco #edtech #copyright

The following post if from guest blogger, Herb Saperstone of PSD’s own Channel 10.

The Center for Social Media has excellent information regarding fair use in the context of the ever-expanding landscape of online media. American University Law Professor, Peter Jaszi says, “Limited but significant use of preexisting copyrighted material in our own information activities and Is protected in copyright doctrine of fair use.” Student projects, media critiques, news reporting, social-oriented journalism, etc. can and must find ways to use copyrighted materials.  Video courtesy of Center for Social and Media Impact


Smartphone Video Editing

#edtech #web20 #edchat #videoediting #elearning #phoneapps

For this blog, Herb Saperstone of PSD’s Channel 10 offers some good advice for using smartphones to take and edit video.

Posted on February 8, 2013

20130209-130111.jpgFor those with an on-the-go spirit and small fingers, you too can edit video on your phone. Here at Channel 10, we like our big-lensed camcorders to catch all the action-and not to mention the weighted feel of a study camera on our shoulder to provide stability and minimal shakiness.

So, what if you or your students want to make movies with their mobile phones?
3 Important Dos/Don’ts
• Always compose and record your scene in landscape or horizontal mode. TV is a horizontal playback device.
• If you want to get clean audio, use a video camera with an external microphone.  But, if you don’t have that option, just get as close to the sound source as possible.
• When you are recording, press the record button 3 seconds BEFORE you say ‘action’. Same for stopping. Let the action finish…count to 3 then hit stop. Your editor (or you) will love you for it.

Here are some recommendations you can check out.

Then there’s Apple’s I-movie for the iphone. Not bad for $4.99


For those of you with Android/Google phones, here is a website with 10 video editing apps for iOS and Android

Adding Videos to Presentation Software

#edtech #web20 #edchat #download #elearning

During last week’s blog post, we learned how to use the Firefox add-on Download Helper to grab flash videos from the web.  This is beneficial for many reasons as we never know when the school’s network might be down, running slow, or what unscrupulous video links might show up in the YouTube sidebar!

Today, we will learn how to insert these videos into SMART notebook files and PowerPoint presentations.

Inserting flash videos in SMART notebook couldn’t be easier.  All you have to do is follow the path, Insert>Flash Video File from the menu.

Once you open this menu option, find the *.flv* file you saved using DL helper.  You can then resize and place the video within your SMART notebook file as you see fit.

Another common presentation software, PowerPoint, is also capable of inserting Flash and other types of video content.  To do this, select the “Insert” tab then click the “video” icon on the far right.

One problem we’ve ran into is inserting Flash videos into PowerPoint will sometimes cause the program to crash.  This can be solved by using DownloadHelper to download the video as a *.mp4* file instead of a *.flv* file.

Download Flash Videos

#edtech #web20 #edchat #download #elearning

Download Helper

In Mozilla Firefox, there is an Add-On called Download Helper that you can use to download videos or flash video content. This is especially helpful for when you find an online video you want to use for a class but do not want to risk internet connectivity issues or inappropriate ad content.

In the orange Firefox menu, select Add-ons and search “Download Helper”.  

Choose video DownloadHelper  and click Install. You will need to restart Firefox.

When you go to a site with a video (or flash content) that is available for download, the DownloadHelper icon will spin in the address bar. It will also show up beside the video title.

A menu pops up when you click on the icon next to the video. You can download and convert the file into a number of formats. Choose your format and download to your computer or server.

If you plan on inserting the video into a SMART notebook, make sure you download the file as a “.flv”

In the next blog post, we will show you how to insert the video content you’ve downloaded into your favorite presentation software.