Wednesday, February 25, 2009

iRiddles at TeachMeet

At TeachMeetBorders I did a presentation on iRiddles that didn't go exactly to plan! Here then are some links and some resources that will show what I was trying to do.

The first iRiddle I saw was on TeacherTube and was posted by Jennifer Gingerich. It is titled Landform Riddle and I thought it was a brilliant idea. They are simple to create but are a really powerful way of engaging learners. Ms. Gingerich even posted three videos showing you how to create your own iRiddles (part 1, part 2 and part 3). I created a handout and started using the idea with my classes but to be honest, the idea is so simple that after a demonstration, students are able to create their own - usually without having to refer to the handout or ask for help.

Despite evidence to the contrary at TeachMeet, I can show students how to create an iRiddle in less than ten minutes and after this brief demonstration, the students usually manage to create their own within half an hour. (See for example my Geography iRiddle and a BEd student's Animal iRiddle.)

I made a screencast of how I created the iRiddle using Jing. I am stunningly impressed with Jing but as a first time user, I have a few issues and would value advice/help from other Jing users. The first issue is that the video ends abruptly because I ran into the 5 minute limit on the free version. Not really Jing's fault. I just have to learn to talk faster or waffle less! The second issue you will have noticed if you watched the screencast - it's massive! Is there any way to make Jing reduce the size of the movie, either while recording or after it is saved? Thirdly, I saved it as an swf file but YouTube couldn't cope with that format. Any suggestions on a free video conversion program that will let me save it in a YouTube friendly format (and ideally change the size at the same time)?

Finally - credit where credit's due. I got the corrie picture from a Creative Commons search on Flickr. I mentioned Freeplay as a fantastic source of legally downloadable music. It is perfect for iRiddles because it offers music, in a variety of styles, that is exactly 30 seconds long. The only problem, as someone mentioned on the FlashMeeting is the Freeplay licence does not allow you to use the music on projects that you post on the Internet. For this reason, the example I've embedded above has fairly duff soundtrack that I created myself in Garageband. However, they have a form where you can detail what you intend to do and can ask how much it woud cost to buy a licence... one day I might get around to asking how much it would cost to post class projects to YouTube and/or put them on CD ROMs to send home with students.

So what do you think? An idea with potential? If you have a go yourself, or with a class, let me know how you get on.


John Connell said...

It was a very brave performance, David - not many would take on live video editing in a 7 minute slot, or any slot - but it did work. A really nice idea!

David said...

Thanks John. I had practised and thought I could do it... but hadn't anticipated the low resolution of the projector. Ah well. Glad you thought it was a good idea anyway.