Since switching over our domain to Google Apps Education Edition in March of this year, the transition has been very smooth. Gmail and Chat provide seamless day to day communication and while the only PD has focused on Gmail, Docs is taking off on its own accord as staff see the benefits and ease at which they can share documents for a more collaborative approach to school admin and planning. For example, the notion of one staff member being solely in charge of the duty roster is gone as the ownership of this is shared and staff can edit and negotiate independently. Can’t wait to see how the next step of rolling out school wide use of Calendars is received.
However another bonus of the App package is having our very own Google Video site. At this stage the Education Edition allows for us to have 10GB of storage for videos. While that does not sound like heaps, the average size of our students’ podcasts or short movies is between 2-3MB once exported, so that’s about 3300 videos we can store, for free. Not only free, but in a completely secure, safe and add free environment.
For our portfolios we have been using Teacher Tube to host and store our video content which has been proving reasonably successful. I have blogged about this before here. But TeacherTube has just completely revamped their site and now includes storage for photos, audio and documents. While this is a good improvement, the site revamp changed all the embed codes for the video content in my students’ portfolios. Grrrrrrrr. Should I just accept this as the changing nature of Web 2.0 environments? Grrrrrr. Regardless, after this happened, TeacherTube ceased to be my preferred option. The good news is that Google rolled out their Video hosting service to their Apps Education Edition.
So what are the other features, pretty much the usual video storage stuff…
- You can upload all native Apple video formats such as .mov and .m4v
- You can embed into your blog or wiki
- You can restrict which users within your domain can upload video content. Google specify that it should only be staff
- Your domain admins can edit/delete any uploaded video
- Videos can be shared with individuals, with groups, anyone within or out of your domain with just viewing rights or collaborative privileges, just like a Google doc.
So does it work well? Sure does. Here’s an example thanks to my new entrant students from 9 years ago!
CORE Education has a newly developed web portal, EDTalks, a growing collection of videos featuring New Zealand and International educators talking about learning.
Of interest is Ewan McIntosh speaking on eportfolios and the tools that can capture the learning journey.
He talks about off-the-shelf eportfolio products and how they generally only capture the final product of learning and forget about the process that was involved. Free Web 2.0 tools are discussed and offered as solutions that will allow the eportfolio to ‘move’ with students throughout their life time.
Well worth a watch. Don’t forget the other growing collection of EDTalk videos including, thinking, inquiry, new curriculum, games, Internet safety and assessment.
Common Craft have released a new explanatory video to add to their stack of excellent ‘explained in plain English’ videos, this one on Google Reader. Where would we be without them!
My earlier praises of divShare have lost their shine due to the ongoing frustration of pop-up adds. Simple enough to block, especially using a browser like Firefox, but no user should have to worry about them, especially students focused on their learning. So instead I have begun using Vimeo, a fast and sleek video sharing site with a little social networking thrown in for good luck.
I can upload mov and m4v files which is perfect for a Mac user and upload up to 500MB per week including HD movies. The quality and speed is excellent and the interface user friendly. Additionally I can embed movies in any ePortfolio using the excellent Video Embedder plug-in.
At this stage, highly recommended.
Dr Helen Barrett has been discussing different options for online storage on her E-Portfolios for Learning blog. Online space and storage capacity is crucial for the success of web-based ePortfolios. With media rich content disk space can quickly build up. In fact last year our students portfolios were averaging at 100MB for each user. When you are not hosting the sites yourself, the cost of your web space is difficult to meet (thankfully the great team at InSPire Net have helped us out for this project!).
This of course is where the online storage becomes the ideal solution to the problem. Storing all of your content on another web host and either streaming video, displaying image galleries or audio to your own blog solves the issue.
One service that looks extremely promising is divShare where a free account gives you 5GB of online storage for your video, audio, images and documents. Once uploaded you can embed or link to any of this content from your ePortfolio. 5GB for free! That’s ample for a whole class of students.
Another great advantage of this is that your content is completely private until you share it with others. Unlike You Tube, which does not allow you to embed private videos, you can with divShare.
One minor disadvantage is that currently the service only allows the conversion of AVI, WMV, MOV, MPG and ASF files for converting to FLV for embedding into sites. With 100% of our content being created on Macs the default formats for sharing content (m4a and m4v) don’t seem to be made embeddable. More time need for playing perhaps…
divShare is only the tip of the iceberg, there are many more options out there. Check out Dr Helen Barrett’s blog for a full breakdown.