Did You Know 4.0

Many of you will be familiar with the video Did You Know 3.0, (see below) watched by millions of people since it was released in October 2008. This video was a remake of the original “Shift Happens” videos (see the Shift Happens wiki)



How will we be reaching students in 2020?

The new Did You Know 4.0 video was created in September 2009, and predicts that the next big wave of advertising and social networking will be via mobile phones. 

Will schools be ready for this challenge when we ban phones in classrooms today? Sometimes not just in the classroom, but students are banned from bringing them to school at all.  Over the next few years we will need to get our heads around another big paradigm shift in education – and this while we are still struggling with elearning via one-to-one laptop programs.

However, doesn’t this create an ideal way for Teacher Librarians to lead the way with researching how mobile phones can be used in the classroom, and implementing some strategies themselves? For example, book reservations and RSS feeds on new items via text messaging, chapters of novels sent out via SMS (copyright free books), useful websites added to the Library webpages and sent to teachers and students via SMS etc.  Others are already exploring the potential – author Marieke Hardy earlier this year was commissioned by The Age newspaper to write a novel specifically for mobile phones: The Age Text Tales with Marieke Hardy.

We need to think carefully about Alvin Toffler’s comment:  “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”  Teacher Librarians must make sure that they are not only literate, but also leaders.

Have a look at  10 Ideas for Engaging Learners with Cell Phones, Even in Districts that Ban Them by Lisa Neilsen, also Mobile Phones, Mobile Minds: “a look at the world of young people with mobile phones, and the impact on schools and education”

Owning a mobile is becoming an indispensable element of young people’s lives, for both teenagers and increasingly primary age children, all around the world.

Are mobile phones a force for good, or an example of technology gone awry? Is it sensible to ban their use in schools or should this device be given a place in lessons and learning?” (teachers.tv)


Downloading and Converting Videos

Have you ever done a presentation where you have an embedded link in a PPT to a YouTube video, you click to play the video, then you have trouble getting back to your PPT?  Or have you found the perfect video to show for a lesson, only to find that the network can’t connect when you want to show it, or the video won’t play?

 What you need is to actually download the video, then embed it into your PPT.  This is not all that straightforward however, especially when some videos are particularly large in size, so you need to compress the video or reduce its size before using it.  Click here for Mashable’s list of 23  different ways to download YouTube videos – just check first the copyright details on the videos before you download them.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found for downloading videos is to use ZAMZAR, an online file conversion site, free for files up to 100MB. Not only will it convert video files for you, but also music files, images and documents.   Watch a video from the Zamzar website showing some of their great features.  I usually choose to convert  videos to avi format, but all of the following formats are avaialbale:

Output formats: 3gp, 3g2, avi, gvi, iphone, ipod, wmv,  flv, mov, m4v, mp4, mpg,  ogg, rm, rmvb, vob


If, on the other hand, you don’t want to use an online conversion site, you can download Any Video Converter, a free open source software program, and convert your videos using that instead:

“Any Video Converter Freeware- the Free Video Converter – is the most renowned free video converter for converting video files between various formats, with fast converting speed and excellent video quality. This powerful free video converter application makes video conversion quick and easy.

This FREE video converter software can clip any segments and optionally merge and sort them to make a creative movie. And even more, Any Video Converter Freeware can crop frame size to remove any unwanted area in the frame just like a pair of smart scissors.” (from the website)

Input formats:  avi, asf, mov, rm, rmvb, flv, mkv, mpg, 3gp, m4v, vob, YouTube videos


Output formats:  avi, mp4, wmv, swf, flv, mkv, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, mpg (PAL or NTSC), mp3, wma, ogg, aac, wave, m4a

Main screen of Any Video Converter Freeware




On March 26 Google launched YouTube-EDU, a website which features videos from over 100 different colleges and universities. Unfortunately, at this stage Australian content is distinctly lacking, but this is likely to change very quickly as universities from around the world realise the potential of the site.

According to Andrew LaVallee “YouTube Edu lets viewers sort clips by school or number of views, and the schools offer content ranging from complete courses to campus events to information for prospective students.”   Michael Arrington of TechCrunch says  “The site is aggregating videos from dozens of colleges and universities, ranging from lectures to student films to athletic events. Some of this stuff is solid gold (the Stanford and MIT lectures are really good). Other content, not so interesting.”

Despite its limitations, the site is a good option for students to search when looking for video clips to further their knowledge and enhance their presentations. The clip below is from UCTV, the television channel of the University of California.

Cooliris (PicLens)

Cooliris is a plugin that you can download to view images as a fantastic moving 3D  ‘picture wall’, rather than viewing them one page at a time as you would with Google Images, or Flickr. Once you have seen and used it, you will never want to search for images or videos in any other way!

” Cooliris, formerly known as PicLens, is a web browser plugin that provides interactive full-screen slideshows of online images. The plugin is available for Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. At present, the software is compatible with Google Images, Yahoo Images, Ask.com Images, deviantART, Flickr, Facebook, Live Image Search, Photobucket, SmugMug, Fotki, YouTube (for videos), and any web site that implements mediaRSS <link> tags in their HTML pages. The software places a small icon in the corner of an image thumbnail when the mouse moves over it, which launches into a full-screen photo viewer when clicked, but without giving an option to save any of the pictures shown.” (Wikipedia)

View a movie of the picture wall here:  http://www.cooliris.com/demo/?view=movie


Animoto – www.animoto.com – is a great little site for uploading photos to create short or long videos (depending on the length of the music you choose and the number of photos you upload).  The program automatically creates transitions and effects, depending on how fast or slow your music is, and which photos you want to highlight.


You can upload your own music, or you can choose from music on the Animoto site. It costs about $30 / year, but for that price you can make unlimited videos and download them to your own computer. In order to speed up the process of uploading photos, it’s best to re-size them and Animoto suggest using VSO Image Resizer, a free program available for download from their site.

These statistics have come from the Animoto blog: “Since Animoto launched in August of 2007…

– 4 million videos have been made on the Animoto platform
– more than 250,000 users in 200-some countries have registered on Animoto.com
– Animoto vids have been watched over 50 million times on Animoto.com, blogs, social networks, video sharing sites and web sites around the world!”   (http://blog.animoto.com/)

I love the potential for using these videos in a school setting: either to use as an activity with students, to showcase important events in your school, to introduce a topic, or to show an audience what your students have been doing.

Click this link to see what some teachers have been doing:  http://education.animoto.com/casestudies.html#top

Click this link to see a combination of images and text: http://au.youtube.com/user/cloudrecruiting

Click these links to see what we’ve been doing at Redlands College:  Bayside Readers Cup Competitions 2003-2007  and  Redlands College Library 

If you register for Animoto in Education, you can allow your students to create their own videos, simply by creating dummy email addresses for them where you can monitor activity on each of their addresses. (http://education.animoto.com/learnmore.html)  

“All videos are completely private. The only way someone can watch a video is if they are directed to that video’s specific URL, or if that video is posted to another website. Also, no one will be able to contact your students via Animoto”