It’s a no brainer that multimedia is an essential part of science and science education. Our focus today is going to be on learning some tools that make it much easier to incorporate multimedia into your lessons, and a few new ideas for using multimedia in your lessons you might not have thought of.
First, I should give credit to Dan Meyer, who inspired many of these lessons. I also borrowed screencasts and directions from the workshop site he set up for our Atlanta workshop.
Let’s start with an example of a compelling multimedia lesson.
Sample Lesson: little packets of sugar
For more background on the engagement in 3 acts idea, check out this post:
The three acts of a mathematical story.
If you’d like to download the keynote of this lesson to see how it was put together, you can download it from this link. Also, a couple of tutorials:
Recording video and making movies with iMovie
What is it: iMovie is a simple to use video editing program that allows one great flexibility in creating films.
How you might use it: Have students produce video presentations on a topic. Film your class and use iMovie to edit. Build a library of simple videos of demos and labs.
Beginner: Import a clip from a flip video camera and trim it.
- Run iMovie 11 (from your dock or the applications folder.
- Choose File > Import from Camera
- Trim the video.
What it is: Using a software package to record what you see on your screen.
How you might use it: Create video instructions of how do something on the computer. Use digitizing tablet to make screencasts of written notes. Have students scan work and annotate/explain it with screencast.
Beginner Install Jing, record and upload a screencast.
- Install Jing. Click this link to start download.
- Record your first capture. This link will take you to video and written instructions on how to record your first screencast and share it using screencast.com.
Professional: Record QuickTime screencasts that you can edit in iMovie.
- Open the QuickTime Player in your Applications folder. (Remember command+space is very fast search).
- Choose File > New Screen Recording
- Import your movie into iMovie.
All-Star: learn Camtasia. Camtasia is a super powerful screen recording program that allows you to add many effects to screencasts, such as zooms, text and object overlays, and much more.
Find and edit photos from the internet
What is it: you can find photos on the internet of just about anything to include in lessons and assessments.
How you might use it: countless ways. Pull an image of just about any scientific object from the web and edit it to your liking. You could also use scientific images as desktop wallpaper for your projector, generating interesting discussions.
Beginner: find a photo and copy it into Pages or Keynote
- Find a photo using images.google.com. Remember that advanced search gives lots of options for finding images of a certain size, color or in the creative commons.
- Copy and paste a picture from the web into a Keynote presentation or pages document. Note: this is best done in Safari.
- 1-minute screencast explaining how to do this.
Professional: Cover up critical information on the photo with rectangles.
All-star: Edit the photo in Photoshop. Photoshop is the most powerful image editor on the planet. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be amazed with what you can do.
Extract video from the internet to use in lessons
What it is: Many videos encoded on the web (eg. youtube, etc) are encoded using flash or some other method that makes them difficult to extract. However, with the right extensions, this becomes easy.
How you might use it: Once you’ve extracted a video, you can put it in a presentation, or analyze the physics of the video using tracker video analysis.
- Find a youtube video or other embedded flash movie you’d like to download. Here’s a beautiful video of what’s it’s like to fly over planet earth.
- Highlight and copy the url address from the address bar (command+C)
- Paste into keepvid.
- Right click the highest quality MP4 link and choose “save linked file as”
- Link to Screencast
Professional: Install Keeptube on Firefox, and download youtube videos without having to go to a website.
- Open Firefox
- Install KeepTube by following this link.
- Find a youtube video you want to keep, and press the “download” button
Rip DVDs and extract clips to use in lessons
What is it: Software allows you to convert entire DVDs, or simply clips of to digital form for instant playback, which you can also add to presentations, or even edit in iMovie.
How you might use it:Include a clip of a video in a presentation, Analyze the physics of the bus jump in speed using video analysis.
Beginner: Download Handbrake, and Rip the second chapter of a DVD
- Download Handbrake
- Link to Detailed Handbrake instructions
- Link to screencast
Professional:Trim the clip in QuickTime Player and insert it into a presentation or iMovie
All-Star: Build a library of clips for your class and catalog them using Miro.
- Download Miro.
- Miro lets you sync video with your phone or tablet. Detailed Instructions.