Thursday, March 06, 2008

Using YouTube

I have started to use YouTube as a resource in some of my classes - I regularly search YouTube, TeacherTube, and Google Video for ideas and short videos to play in class. Hopefully they can be both informative and entertaining - eg, I play the Monty Python Spam sketch when explaining where the term "spam" came from in relation to unwanted emails. They also give me, and my students, a break from my voice!

I also have an interest in podcasting lecture notes for students that they can add to iPods. I discovered a way of creating videos from my PowerPoint presentations using PowerPoint, Windows Movie Maker, and free software from Jodix.

The process is quite simple:

  • Create a PowerPoint presentation as normal
  • Save slides as JPEG format
  • Import JPEGs into Windows Movie Maker (WMM) as a slide show
  • Record voice over in WMM while playing slides
  • Save everything as a Windows Movie Video (.WMV format)
  • .WMV format doesn't work on an iPod (it will play in Windows Media Player), so it needs to be converted to an MP4
  • Use Jodix's Free iPod Video Converter tool (available here) to convert .WMV file to .MP4
  • Add MP4 file to iTunes and sync with iPod
I have made a video which shows how to do above step-by-step and uploaded it to YouTube. I also have it embedded here – click the play button to activate video.

As I write this I note that the video is quite popular with over 260 views. It has also been linked to by eight other sites.

I create podcasts for one class where I record a short (15 mins approx) video podcast which summarizes my weekly lectures with that class. In addition to the MP4 movie, I provide an audio-only version (MP3) recorded using a free audio recording tool from Audacity in the College’s Learning Content Management System - Moodle. I also make the WMV version available for those who choose to play the video on their computer or if they do not have an iPod.

This is also an (action) piece of research on my part – I intend to survey the students about this before the end of the semester. Who knows, I may even get an academic publication out of it!

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