Easy(-ish) Video Embedding

Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 I covered the easy stuff. Working with audio is trivial compared with working with video. Not only do you have many more file types and codecs, but now you’ve got to worry about aspect ratio for HD and compression quality. Given two video files with the exact same file extension, one might work in one situation, but the other may not. It can be maddening.

The easiest thing to do is to upload your files to a video sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo. However, sites like that are usually blocked by school districts. There is SchoolTube and TeacherTube, but sometimes those can be problematic, too.

Less likely to be blocked are sites built on the Ning.com platform. A Ning site is free, and will support up to 30 videos as long as each is no larger than 100 MB. That’s fairly generous, and will support most classroom needs. Videos that are uploaded to the site are provided embed codes for blogs and social networking sites. Here’s a sample video I recorded in Space Mountain on a trip to Disney World… Continue reading “Easy(-ish) Video Embedding”

Easy Audio Embedding

This is part 1 of a 2-part series…

I’m a BIG fan of embedding. The ability to take media files from one location and use them in another context creates learning environments that are rich and appealing to students. I like it even better when the process is simple. Embedding is now a standard feature for most social networking sites. YouTube was one of the first, and now most media file hosts have followed suit. On just about any media site now days you can find something like the image below which allows you to copy the code and paste it into another site.

doodle.png  on Aviary

Bottom line – most teachers are uncomfortable with coding of any kind, so it’s got to be easy. Most can do the copy and paste, but if you have to manipulate codes, it can be a problem. Unfortunately, there are times when a simple cut and paste is not available. A resource (such as YouTube) may be blocked by a district, or you may have an original file that you would prefer not to upload to a social networking site. That’s where these tutorials come in. I’ll show you how to create your own embed codes so that you don’t have to worry about blocked resources. Continue reading “Easy Audio Embedding”

Exploring an Aviary

UPDATE: Sadly, Aviary has discontinued this wonderful series of products. The links below are no longer available.

Today I got word that Aviary.com has released a new online audio editing tool called Myna. This joins Aviary’s growing collection of online tools with bird names, including Phoenix, the image editing program, and Raven, a vector graphics program. Myna is a loop-based editor, and has many of the same functions as Garage Band or Acid Music.

I’ve only had a few minutes to play with the program, but so far I’m impressed. There is an extensive library of existing audio files. These are categorized not only by style by also by keyword. The samples are further broken down into files that would make good intros, files for loops, and ending files. You can also record samples directly into the program with your computer’s microphone, or upload your own files. Continue reading “Exploring an Aviary”

Digital Disconnect

Monday evening was the first rehearsal of the season for the Greenville Chorale. This fall we’re doing some of my absolute favorite music – Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil. We’re doing it in Russian, which has caused me no small amount of headaches – not because of the difficulty in singing, but because of inability to say no.

Musica Russica is a company dedicated to making Russian choral music available for performance. They have also produced an audio pronunciation guide for the Church Slavonic in the vigil. We have a license to provide the audio guide to the group, and Bing Vick asked if I could find some way to distribute it. Continue reading “Digital Disconnect”

The Not-So-Free Web

I was wondering when this would happen. Many of the “free” online applications that we’ve come to take for granted are now coming with strings attached. I guess they have to make money some way, but this week two tales of monetization have really taken the Web 2.0 world by storm. Here’s the scoop… First, … Continue reading The Not-So-Free Web

Google Squared

Google has released two cool new products this week. First, there is a major update to the user interface for Street View.  The transitions between scenes are much smoother, and it reminds me of Microsoft’s Photosynth technology.  One gets the feeling of looking around corners, and actually being immersed in the environment.  For a good example, take a look at Times Square in New York.

As cool as this is, I’m even more excited about the public release of Google Squared, a new search product that creates tables for search results.   I had mourned the demise of Google Notebook, and haven’t really played around with Search Wiki, which is supposed to replace it. This new product is an excellent tool for research and comparison. Continue reading “Google Squared”

Google Web Elements

Google has made it easy to add cool stuff to your website with the release of Web Elements.  Each of these elements have been available for some time now, most with embed codes or API’s readily available.  Web Elements is a collection of eight tools in one easy-to-find place, each with a simple interface and … Continue reading Google Web Elements