Digital Video Tools

October 30, 2007

At a recent HE Academy event I presented at I offered to provide a series of links relating to digital video and podcasting. Here are the digital video tools.

Windows Movie Maker

This is part of Windows XP (and Windows Vista) which allows simple video editing.

With Windows Movie Maker, you can use your computer to create and edit home movies with a few simple drag-and-drop moves. Then you can share your movies through the web, e-mail, your computer, or CD.

iMovie

Part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. It is a quick and easy video editing application.

I have not used the latest version (part of iLife ’08) however it should be noted that this new version has a very different workflow compared to previous versions.

iMovie ’08 makes viewing and working with video as intuitive as enjoying your photos. A built-in library automatically organises your video, so all the clips you’ve captured and movies you’ve created are just a click away. With its revolutionary interface, iMovie makes it quick and easy to browse your library and create new movies. And iMovie is built for sharing. In just a few steps, you can add movies to your website, publish them on YouTube, and create versions for iPod and Apple TV.

I also mentioned Keynote which is the Mac presentation software, presentations can be saved as movies or can even be sent direct to YouTube.

VisualHub

An excellent tool for converting video into various different formats, very useful if converting video for mobile devices and Windows PCs, note this is Mac software.

VisualHub bridges the gap between numerous complicated video formatting standards, and people that just want to get the job done.

Roxio Toast

Primarily a DVD burning application, it also have video conversion functionality.

Media-convert

Online video conversion tool that doesn’t require you to install anything. I have also been recommended zamzar.com, however due to the plethora of pop-ups and the fact you have to give an e-mail address means that I for one would not use it.

YouTube

The infamous video website that allows users to upload and share their video.

TeacherTube

Like YouTube but for teachers.


Skype on your 3 Mobile Phone

October 29, 2007

3 LogoThe mobile phone company “3” has launched a new handset that allows you to make free Skype calls to other Skype users.

The BBC is reporting that:

Mobile phone provider 3 has launched a new handset that will allow users to make free calls over the internet via telephony service Skype. Users will also be able to use Skype’s instant messaging service, 3 said.

However unlike Skype users who can make cheap calls globally, 3 customers won’t be able to do this.

But while people using Skype on their computers are able to make cheap global calls to any phone number, this will not be possible via the new 3 handset.

It’s quite a dramatic move for a mobile phone provider, who generally try and block Skype or VOIP as it is a direct competitor to their core business.

Wonder how others will respond.


Happy Birthday BBC News Website

October 29, 2007

The BBC News website is ten years old.

Happy Birthday.

BBC News

I have been using the site for that long now, so it’s nice to see that not only is it still around and still very popular, more importantly, all the stories I was reading and using for learning back in the late 1990s are still available as well. For example this story about Sainsburys from 1999 is still online and the links still work!

Too often on the web sites will rebrand or rename and all their old links die or change or become redundant. At least with the BBC News it is possible to link stories from nearly ten years ago.


Handheld Learning 2007

October 28, 2007

Unfortunately I couldn’t make Handheld Learning this year, it clashed with everything that week.

So it’s nice to know I can catch up online.

Well, the conference was incredibly busy and very exciting. Lots of new product announcements, major addresses by senior government ministers and policy makers and a who’s who of practitioners that are doing amazing and leading edge stuff with mobile and ubiquitous technologies. A couple of major themes emerged; the speed of change, need to involve more students and learners in the conference and I’m sure quite a few, yet to surface, while we sift through the materials.

You’ll now find a lot of media from the conference now online with much more to follow:

Handheld Learning TV is at:
http://handheldlearning.blip.tv

Podcasts are at:
http://tinyurl.com/39fzx4

Presentation slides at:
http://www.slideshare.net/HandheldLearning/slideshows

Pictures at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/handheldlearning/sets/

Tony Vincent provides a review at:
http://www.handheldlearning.co.uk/content/view/41/2/

And Bob Harrison at:
http://www.handheldlearning.co.uk/content/view/40/2/

A large list of other people’s reviews can be found at:
http://tinyurl.com/32u5xy

And to quote Graham, “isn’t the internet wonderful”.


Becta complains about Microsoft

October 26, 2007

Becta have been complaining to the Office of Fair Trading about Microsoft.

The BBC reports that:

The UK computer agency Becta is advising schools not to sign licensing agreements with Microsoft because of alleged anti-competitive practices. The government agency has complained to the Office of Fair Trading.

Becta is advising schools not to move to Microsoft’s subscription licensing model. They are also advising schools to look at open source solutions as well.


Online Video Conversion Tools

October 26, 2007

I have mentioned video media conversion tools before, but most of them have been applications. These are fine for example if you have the right computer (you need a Mac for VisualHub) or you have administrative rights to install the software on your Windows computer (which in institutions is generally not the case).

So if you can’t install a conversion tool on your computer, how do you convert video files, well I have been looking at online video conversion tools for a while now.

The one I have used and found the results work well on mobile devices is Media-Convert.

Media Convert

It’s quite simple, you upload a media file from your computer, and an online conversion converts into the file format of your choice. It can handle a large number of file types including text and audio as well as video, and has a range of possible output file types.

It can be used to create PDF files which is handy.

The user interface could be better, it is covered in Google ads, but it is free and they need to make money somehow.

I was impressed with the quality, I took a large Quicktime movie and converted it into an MP4 file that could be used on my Nokia N73, and the conversion was done very well.

I was recently told about another online media conversion tool, Zamzar, however the site is populated with pop-ups and you also need to enter an e-mail address which smacks to me that my e-mail might be harvested and passed onto third parties.


Sidekick Slide

October 25, 2007

The Register reports that T-Mobile is launching the Sidekick Side in the UK.

T-Mobile last night unveiled the Sidekick Slide, the first handset in the consumer-friendly email gadget range to appear since T-Mobile cut its ties with Sharp and signed up Motorola as a manufacturer.

Sidekicks (sometimes referred to as Blackberrys for kids) is a quad-band GSM/GPRS/Edge phone aimed at the younger social end of the market.

Sidekick Slide

With a 2.5″ screen and a 1.3MP camera, it allows users to browse the web, send e-mail and use Yahoo Instant Messaging. It also comes with a slide-out qwerty keyboard for text entry.

If this is the sort of device that some of our learners are using, we need to ensure that they can access learning content via it. It  looks like an interesting device for mobile learning.

Read more 


Helpdesk

October 25, 2007

I suspect most people have seen this amusing video about an early helpdesk call.

Of course if YouTube is blocked in your institution you may have a little trouble.

What most people don’t realise is that when this Norwegian comedy skit (not Dutch as was written in the Guardian today) was first uploaded, it was obviously in breach of copyright. The owners, NRK, had not given permission for the clip to be uploaded to YouTube and a take down order was requested.

However how come you can see the clip above, most people who know me will know that I do know a fair bit about copyright.

Well this is the official NRK version, who have their own channel now on YouTube, so NRK uploaded the video and legally I can embed it into my blog above.

Excellent.

NRK are not the only broadcaster who have their own YouTube channel, so do the BBC.  YouTube is becoming more and more useful and less and less problematic as it use to be.


Is your college e-enabled?

October 24, 2007

There was an interesting article in yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) Guardian about how un-e-enabled a lot of FE colleges are in the UK.

While not unimpressed with these statistics, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) puts a different slant on the overall state of ICT in FE. By its reckoning, barely a quarter of colleges are “e-enabled”, to use the quango’s unlovely jargon. A further quarter, by contrast, are either not convinced about the need to sharpen up their ICT or are late-comers to it.

So where would you put your college?

Are you working in an e-enabled college?


Podcasting Tools and Resources

October 23, 2007

At a recent HE Academy event I presented at I offered to provide a series of links relating to resources and tools for digital video and podcasting. Here are some podcasting tools and resources.

microphone

Here are my podcasting resources.

Garageband

Apple’s Garageband is part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. Though initially designed as a music recording (and creation) application, it can also be used to record (and publish) podcasts. Watch a tutorial on creating a podcast, Quicktime required.

With GarageBand, you can create your own virtual on-stage band and play along on your favourite instrument. You can record, edit and mix a song exactly as you want it, in pristine CD quality. It’s the perfect place to get your act together.

Audacity

This open source software which is available for a range of platforms allows you to both and edit audio. Quite a complicated piece of software it certainly is very powerful.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more!

Wire Tap Studio

Recently released this audio application makes it not only much easier to capture and record audio on your Mac, it also makes it much easier to strike that balance between quality and file size when sharing your podcast.

Using WireTap Studio, you can record the discrete audio output of any application, as well as all system audio, or record audio input from any microphone, line-in, or audio input hardware. If you can hear it, WireTap Studio can record it. Once you have recorded your audio, you can easily organize your recordings in the convenient Recording Library, and edit them with WireTap Studio’s integrated lossless audio editor. WireTap Studio also boasts full Audio Unit effects support, for adding professional quality effects to your audio.

One of the key issues when recording podcasts is the microphone. Cheap microphones have not been calibrated (it is the calibrating which costs that is what makes a good microphone expensive), you can get good cheap microphones, but you just have to be lucky!

Photo source