Posts Tagged ‘tips and tricks’

So far in the series, Putting the YOU in YouTube, we’ve discussed personalizing your channel, uploading your videos, and trimming out the parts of your videos that you don’t want.  In this post, we’re going to look at using the tools within the YouTube Editor that will help you put your mark on your movies.

I’m not sure why YouTube has made it so hard to find the Editor, but they have.  You can find a link to the Editor under the Enhancements option in Video Manager, OR you can simply type in in your address bar after you’re logged in.  Once at the editor, this is what you’ll see:

Video Editor - YouTube 2013-10-02 13-48-11


In the Editor, you can bring videos together to make one longer video, you can apply filters to your video clips, add music, titles, and transitions, as well as insert still photos into your video.  The image below shows what each of the icons in your “Options Menu” represent.

editor tools


The Video Editor is very easy to use because it is a simple “Drag & Drop”.  You’ll start by dragging all of your video clips you want to include in your movie onto the row of the workspace for the videos.  To add additional video clips, drag the clips down to the workspace and “drop” it beside the clip you’ve already placed.  You can click the Creative Commons icon to access video clips that have been licensed under the Creative Commons that you’re free to use in your own videos.  If you have still images you’d like to incorporate into your video, you can click the camera icon.  You’ll then be prompted to either upload images from your computer, or you can import pictures from your Google+ account.  Once they’re displayed beside the preview pane, again, just drag and drop them where you want them to go in your video.

When you drag a video clip (or any of the other options) onto the workspace, you’ll be able to edit those clips or elements further.  Below is a screenshot of what your screen will look like when you drag a video clip onto the workspace.  Notice that you’ll have the ability to make some quick fixes which include zooming in and out, change the brightness, stabilize, rotate, etc. You can also add text to your video clips.  Be careful with this, however, because if you add text here, it will display the entire time your video clip is playing.  If you’d rather just add a title text or a “slide” of text between videos, you use the text icon from the original Editor menu.  Keep reading to learn more.  To get back to the original Editor menu, simply click in the gray area of the workspace, or click the x in the upper right-hand corner of the clip editor.

video clip options in editor

The music icon will allow you add Creative Commons music clips to your videos.  Although there is a volume bar where you can tell YouTube to favor either the sound from the original video clip or the music, the music always seems to be louder than the sound from the video.  add music in editorSo just be careful and consider which is more important, music or sound from your video.  At this point, there isn’t a way to assign music to only certain portions of your video either.  You’ll drag the music clip onto the workspace under the videos and images.  Also, there is currently no way to upload your own music files…more than likely copyright issues.

To add titles and/or transitions to your movie, you click and drag the type of title or transition you’d like onto the workspace where you want them to go.  When you drag the element down to the workspace, you’ll see a blue line appear to show you where the element will be added.  You’ll need to be careful with the titles because if the blue line highlights the entire video clip, that means that title will play the entire length of the clip.  If you only want it to show before or after the video clip or image, you’ll want the skinny blue line.  To get back to the original Editor menu, you’l usually click the x in the upper right corner.  However, for some reason, that “x” isn’t present on the transitions menu.  To get back to the Editor menu, you can click in the gray area of the workspace.

If you decide that you don’t want an element in your video after all, or any element for that matter, you can hover your mouse over that element.  A small x will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the gray bar.  Simply click the x and that element will be removed from your workspace.  You can also reorder an of the elements in your video by clicking and dragging it to where you want it to go.

Once you’re video is like you want it:  all of your video clips are in the correct order, you’ve added any desired still images, you have transitions between the elements to make it flow smoothly, and you have inserted all the necessary title slides, it’s time to publish.  Directly above the preview pane, you can rename your video, then on the right-hand side of the screen is a blue “Publish” button.  Depending on how long your video is, how many transitions you’ve included, and if you decided to include music clips, it may take your video a little while to publish.  The beauty of the Editor is that until you publish, all of your work is automatically saved.  So if you don’t have time to finish your video in one sitting, you can log out of YouTube, come back to it later, go to the editor, and all of your work is still there.  When you publish, you’ll then have a blank workspace again.

Next Steps:

Making your videos interactive (Coming soon!)

Publishing your videos on YouTube (Coming soon!)

Did you miss the first three post in the series Putting the YOU in YouTube?  Check them out!

Putting the YOU in YouTube

Uploading videos to YouTube

Trimming your videos


For my first Tech Tool Thursday, I’m sharing with you three tools that I share the most often with teachers in my district.  They are Educreations (tablet app), URL Shortener, and Lucid Chart.  Continue reading for screenshots, how-to’s, and implementation ideas!  By the way, these are all FREE!  If you need a reminder of how to add Chrome apps and extensions, be sure to revisit my initial Tech Tool Thursday post.

educreationsEducreations (iOS only)

Educreations is a simple whiteboard app that allows you to insert images, write or type text, and record your voice.  I love Educreations because you’re no limited to only one page, and as you record your voice and move to the next page, the app automatically pauses the recording.  You have the option to bring in pictures from your Camera Roll, to snap a picture within the app, import from your Dropbox account, or you can search the web from directly within the app.  Since each video generates a link and embed code, you can include them on your class website.  I have had teachers use this app to deliver spelling tests and flip lessons.   A fourth grade teacher gave her students a vocabulary list for an upcoming social studies unit.  The students used Educreations to find images online that showed the vocabulary words and bring them into the presentation.  The students then recorded themselves justifying why they chose the images they did.  This activity served as the first lesson of the unit, and it gave all the students the little bit of background knowledge they needed to be successful in the unit.  Another great feature of Educreations is the “Featured” tab.  This gives the user access to tons of free lessons/videos that have been created.  Here is a link to a video I created on triangulation:

2013-12-02 11.13.30  2013-12-03 10.48.29

google_url_shortener URL Shortener (Extension)

This is probably the Chrome Extension that I use the most.  I am constantly sharing websites with my teachers, and some of them can be very lengthy.  From any website, I can click on the shortener icon beside my Omni bar, and it generates a shortened link that looks like the link above for my triangulation video.  I can also choose to have the extension copy the link directly to my clipboard for easy sharing, or even better, it will generate a QR code!  But that’s not the best part.  If you’re signed into your Google account, each link you shorten gets saved for later reference, and you can see how many times your link has been clicked on.  Too cool!  Here’s a screenshot of what the site looks like for my account.


lucidchartLucid Chart (Chrome App, iOS)

Our district stresses the usage of Thinking Maps and other mind maps as a way to organize student thought, and as a way of making connections to thinking skills.  I have tried a lot of mind mapping apps and websites, and a lot of them area great.  The problem comes when you’re only allowed to create five maps before you have to begin paying for the site/app.  LucidChart is different because, not only is it FREE, but it also connects to your Google Drive!  If you are a K-12 teacher or professor, you can request the free upgrade and get all of the advanced features too. You can create a new mind map directly from your Drive…YAY!!  Although the software can get very complicated if you want it to, the basic functions are drag and drop and very intuitive.  Also, just like other Google Docs, you can add collaborators, and there is a chat feature so that multiple people can work on a document at the same time.  I have had teachers using LucidChart for planning collaborative projects, whole class KWL activities, and small group Thinking Map activities.  Teachers and students are only limited by their creativity!



Please let me know what you think about these tech tools by leaving a comment below.  Already use one of them?  Let us know how!

Lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from schools about clickers.  “Which brand should we invest in?”  “What are our options?”  To be completely honest, my favorite clickers are SMART Response Clickers…but that’s because those are the only ones I have a great deal of experience with.  I’ve used the basic clickers from E-Instruction, but you just have so many options with the SMART Response Clickers.  Clickers, however, can be very expensive.  For the month of Feburary, my posts will focus on some other options for you that may fit with the technology you already have at your school.  In this post, I’ll discuss options for those classrooms who have a SMART Boards, or uses SMART Notebook software.  In addition to the SMART Notebook software, your students will use any Internet-enabled devices (iPads, laptops, Chromebooks, etc.) to submit answers directly to the board or software.  


The beta for the tool I’m introducing below is expiring on March 31, 2014.  After that date, two versions will be available, a free version and a premium, paid version, and the name is changing from Extreme Collaboration to XC Collaboration.  For more information, visit XC Collaboration.

extreme_collaborationIn the Spring of 2013, an add-on to SMART Notebook was released called Extreme Collaboration Beta.  This add-on allows students to submit responses via the Internet and “shoot” them directly to the SMART Board.  If your students are lucky enough to have iPads or smart phones, they can submit images as well as text.  What is great about Extreme Collaboration is that once the answers are on the board, they become objects that can be moved and edited.  Extreme Collaboration has other great features such as QR code generation for student sign-on, removing students from the session, and multiple response and display options, just to name a few.  Wan to know more?  Watch the tutorial video below to learn how to set up and run an Extreme Collaboration session.  For more tutorial videos and the official Extreme Collaboration blog, visit

Here’s a screenshot of what the student sees when he/she is submitting responses.  Notice the drop down menu.  This activity was a “List by Category” activity, so the drop down menu featured the categories the student had to choose from.

2014-02-05 19.53.58

Want to download the Extreme Collaboration add-on?  Click HERE (this is for the new, non-beta version)!

Have you used Extreme Collaboration already?  Please share your experience below in the comments.  Haven’t used it, but have some awesome ideas how?  Please share!

Check out other posts from the “Alternatives to Clickers for Digital Assessments” series.



Google Forms, Conditional Formatting, and Flubaroo

Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, wikis, and the list goes on and on.  In a previous post, I talked about how easy it is in our digital world to get totally overloaded and overwhelmed with the constant barrage of information coming at us from all directions.  Especially those I just mentioned, which seem to be favorites of connected educators everywhere.  Being able to locate information that is pertinent to you and access it when it is convenient is a very important skill for both you and your students.  The process of locating and organizing information is called “content curation“.

If it were up to me, I’d classify content curation as the fifth C.  I feel that with easy access to more information than has ever been available before, finding and organizing all of it is just as important as creating, thinking critically, collaborating, and communicating.  In fact, reflecting on  the original 4 Cs, being able to curate content is a skill necessary for each of them.

The two tools that I am currently using to help me curate the ginormous amount of information that catches my eye each day are Evernote and HootSuite.  Let’s start with Hootsuite.

I love HootSuite because I can have access to all of the Twitter hashtags I follow, all of the blogs I follow, and my Google+ connections all in one place.  Plus it’s FREE!  HootSuite looks a lot like a browser within a browser because, like Chrome, you create tabs.  Each tab can be labeled with a different topic you’re interested in, a different social media platform, etc.  On the tabs, you add columns with hashtags, lists, blogs, etc.  You can organize your tabs and columns in a way that makes sense to you, and everything is in one place!  You can tweet or post directly to your Google+ page or profile from HootSuite, as well as use the favoriting option in Twitter (this will come in handy in a moment).  Here is a screen shot of my HootSuite dashboard.

Screenshot of Hootsuite dashboard.

Screenshot of Hootsuite dashboard.


Evernote Evernote is probably my favorite tool of all time!  I love it because I can have it on all of my devices, no matter what the operating system (Apple vs. Android), and when I update on one device, my account updates on all of them.  In Evernote, you set up notebooks, and then add notes into those notebooks.  Notes can be text, images, and if you upgrade, voice memos.  All notes are searchable, even images of handwritten notes!  How cool!  Within my Chrome browser, I’ve added the Evernote Web Clipper extension, so when I find a website or blog article that I want to save for later, I just clip it from the web straight into whatever notebook I designate.  I have set up an IfThisThenThat recipe so that when I favorite a tweet from Twitter that I want to read later, it sends it straight into my Evernote.  I can then read those articles off-line on my phone or iPad at my convenience.

Please give these two tool a try, and let me know what you think.  If you need help getting things set up, please email me at or connect with me on Twitter: @BoucherLauren.  Let me know what you think of these tools below in the comments section!

Image retrieved from

What does “interactive” look like in the classroom?  At a recent workshop I conducted,I asked this question to university faculty.  Some of the responses I received were, “children engaged with one another, the teacher, the lesson, and the materials,” and “hands-on learning experiences through large and small groups.”  When interactive whiteboards began finding their ways into schools across the world, educational leaders and teachers believed they would be able to instantly change the culture of learning within their classrooms by making their teaching interactive.  It’s been seven or eight years since IWBs were widely deployed in school, and I’m not sure we’ve really changed that learning culture yet.

A SMART Board was installed in my third grade classroom in 2009, and I was stoked!  I began making these really “interactive” lessons using SMART’s Notebook software and I started a wiki site for teachers to share resources and websites that are good for IWBs.  As I began using the board and these great lessons I had created, I noticed something.  Even though I had objects on the screen the students could touch and manipulate, I was still the one delivering all the instruction, and for the most part, running the lessons.  The students, although definitely more engaged, were still being passive recipients of information.  As I have been observing in more and more classrooms across my district, it’s becoming obvious that many, if not most, teachers are simply using their IWBs as large whiteboards and overhead projectors.

Retrieved from

It is important to remember that there are many types of interactive.  In the classroom, students can interactive with each other, with lesson materials, and with ideas.  In order for IWBs to be truly interactive, we have to make sure that we provide opportunities for all of these types of interactivity within the course of a lesson.  Below I have listed some strategies and activities that will help you get the most out of the your IWB.

1.) Have a designated “Operator” who runs the lesson.

2.) Include Hide and Reveal activities within your lesson, and provide your students with handouts to record these activities.

3.) Use clickers to monitor student comprehension before, during, and after a lesson.

4.) Provide students with the opportunity to discuss in small groups multiple times during a lesson.

5.) Provide students with the opportunity to monitor their own understanding during a lesson.

*Are you using SMART Boards? Notebook software is free as long as your school has a board.  I loaded the software on all the lab computers, and have the students creating lessons.  Talk about interactive!  They loved working with all of the tools and techniques, it gave them the opportunity to show what they know, and allowed them to practice their presentation skills when it came time to deliver their lessons.

Want to learn more about how to get the most out of your SMART Board and Notebook software?  Check out my SMART Notebook Tutorials playlist on my YouTube Channel!

Please leave a comment and share how you are creatively using your SMART Board to increase engagement and interactivity with your students!

Clustr Map