I stumbled across a couple of really neat animation and presentation sites the other day. Have you heard of or used PowToon or Muvizu? PowToon.com is awesome! I love the effects and how easy it is to use! What a great website! Although it is not free, you might just think it is worth the $6.25 per month to have access to this great presentation and animation site! There is a free 30-day trial so you can see if it works for you. Anything you create in the 30 days is yours to keep (as long as you download it). Here is a brief video that probably took me 10 minutes to make just to give you an idea of what you can do.
The next site I found is called Muvizu.com. The software is free and downloadable. You can create 3-D animated videos with a variety of characters, backgrounds, and accessories. The website contains lots of great tutorials on how to use the program as well as sample videos created by others. Teachers can create a login for the site as a “gatekeeper,” which allows them to create accounts for students. Just take a look at this example of how an animation was created to re-tell the poem The Jabberwocky. Click HERE if the video does not appear below. There are TONS of educational uses for this. However, I have a feeling this software may be a bit more challenging to learn. I can see using it for a tech class or video production class. It really covers the stages of creating, directing, and producing videos very nicely!
Today I’m going to focus on technology for the holidays. There are some pretty cool gadgets and tech toys out there this year and I’ve made a short list of some of my favorites. As an educator, I have to say the newest, coolest, educational item I’ve seen in awhile is the first item on my list, littleBits. What a great concept! I’m hoping to get the starter set for my nephew, which is currently out of stock (hopefully more are being produced as I type!). Enjoy. Happy Holidays!
littleBits, called the Legos for the 21st Century, are electronic modules that snap together with magnets. According to the littleBits website, littleBits “consists of tiny circuit-boards with simple, unique functions engineered to snap together with magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming, just snap and play. Each bit has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. Just as LEGOs™ allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are small, simple, intuitive, blocks that make creating with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together.” If you have never heard or seen littleBits before, the below video is a must see!
The JaJa is an iPad stylus for the artistic user. It is a pressure-sensitive pen that can mimic an artist’s brush strokes. The device uses a single AAA battery that lasts for several full days of drawing on almost all smartphoes and tablet devices. Watch the video for more details.
The Soulra XL is a solar-powered audio player for your iPod. Going camping or somewhere else where you may not have a place to charge to iPod? The Soulra will keep your tunes playing even in the wilderness — just pop it in and let the sun power the device!
Stream music from your phone to the flexible little Ribbon. Using bluetooth technology, you can keep your phone free for calls, texting, or using apps while your stream your music to your earbuds or other audio device. Watch a brief video demonstration of how the Ribbon works.
Do you need to buy a gift for a game-lover this season? If so, consider a mobile controller that can be used with a cell phone or other mobile device. The MOGA is for use with Android devices. Have an iPhone? Consider the iCade, or the Duo Gamer for the iPad. If you are looking for a full gaming system, consider the new Nintendo Wii U (just released on 11/18/12). Take a look at the video to see the new features of this system.
This is a great little device that operates as both a mouse and a presentation device. Using bluetooth technology, this pocket-sized device will control the mouse as well as allow you to advance the slides in a presentation.
Christmas Tech Tip How to Improve the Battery Life of Digital Devices