Tools to Promote Learning (#6 Adobe Spark)

If you haven’t come across Adobe Spark yet (or have, but haven’t had the time to really play around with it) it’s a great tool for creating short videos or infographics to get across an idea in an engaging way.

The mobile app is straightforward to use and there’s a lot you can do with it in a fairly short space of time. Like with any story,  it’s only as good as the effort you put into the telling of the story beforehand, so it’s worth thinking about what you want to say, creating quality images and video clips to include, your audience, and so on before you even start with the app. However, for the purposes of a simple demonstration, I’ve created a short Spark of one of my favourite past times – fell walking.

Fell walking in the Lake District

And in the time-honoured fashion of “here’s one I made earlier” here’s the Spark I (quickly!) put together to tell the story of my trek up Helvellyn:

It’s a first attempt and isn’t about to take Hollywood by storm any time soon, granted, but it does give you a flavour of some of the key things you can do with Adobe Spark.

I love the way it allows you to build a narrative around a particular idea or story. There’s also a range of templates you can make use of that provides your story with a structure and gives you some tips on the kinds of images and video clips you might like to include in order to make the overall project more engaging. That’s not to say you have to follow a set template – you can tailor the project to include any combination of images, video, text, music and voice narration you please.

As well as using your own images (which is what I did above) you can also make use of a preset bank of images through Spark that searches Flickr for Creative Commons images and Pixabay for images tagged as public domain.

Here are my initial reflections on the pros and cons:-

Pros:

1) The applications are limitless.
2) Ideal for creative storytelling.
3) The app is free to download.
4) Templates provide a clear structure to your idea.
5) The music library has plenty of variety.
6) Sharing options and the HTML embed code is included.
7) Images included in Spark are Creative Commons or public domain.

Cons:

1) Lacks the functionality of something like the iMovie app (see my earlier post here).
2) The text editing is practically non-existent in the video option.
3) Spark video slides containing video or voice narration can be no longer than 30 seconds (slides containing just images can be no longer than 10 seconds).
4) All videos published with Spark are public – anyone with the URL can access them (so consider carefully what you include).

Further support on using Adobe Spark is available here.

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Ten Top Tips for maintaining a positive digital footprint

Recently I was asked if I had anything to use with academic staff and/or students to give them some basic pointers on how to be a little more savvy with their social media use.

Image by geralt, available on Pixabay under a Creative Commons licence.

Continue reading Ten Top Tips for maintaining a positive digital footprint

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Tools to Promote Learning (#5 Socrative)

I’ve often heard the phrase “We don’t have time!” during staff development sessions where staff are encouraged to embed technology into their practice. Without wanting to get into the argument of whether this is a perfectly justified response or whether it hides a range of other issues that are not technology related per se (like anything else, it will depend on context), I wanted to flag one tool in particular that can save time.

Finding time Continue reading Tools to Promote Learning (#5 Socrative)

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Tools to Promote Learning (#3 Screencast-O-Matic)

As free screencasting tools go, Screencast-O-Matic is my favourite. It features as number 27 in the Top 100 Tools for Learning poll of 2015 and is an easy way to create fairly short screencasts (15 minutes or less) to help reinforce key topics with learners. Continue reading Tools to Promote Learning (#3 Screencast-O-Matic)

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Being on the Ball with your Digital Identity

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting one of my childhood heroes: Johnny Ball, the star of many a Childrens TV show from the late 70s right through to the 90s (remember Think Again or Johnny Ball Reveals All anyone?). For the younger readers who may not be familiar with his work Johnny Ball is perhaps best known for popularising Mathematics with his inimtable approach and style. Continue reading Being on the Ball with your Digital Identity

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Looking to revamp your image?

Right, now I’ve hooked your attention with an ambiguous title, allow me to clarify: in this post I want to explore how you can revamp your image (or indeed images) to create dynamic learning objects. How? By taking a closer look at ThingLink and, more importantly, how you could use it creatively to embed meaningful activities into lessons. Continue reading Looking to revamp your image?

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What is your favourite collaboration tool for learning?

I know, it’s a ridiculously facile question on the surface. With so many options out there it’s difficult to single out just one. Besides, the key consideration has to be what you are trying to achieve with your learners, but that isn’t the only consideration: context is everything. Continue reading What is your favourite collaboration tool for learning?

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Observations on Moderating a Facebook Group

Facebook often provokes mixed opinions from teachers when exploring its educational applications and, as a fellow sceptic myself, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my own experiences of moderating a Facebook group. Continue reading Observations on Moderating a Facebook Group

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