For the last couple of weeks I have been playing with a free video editor for Windows 10 called Animotica. It’s available from the Windows Store. As you might expect, the free version does come with an optional in-app purchase and that means if you want to take full advantage of all the available features, you need to upgrade to the Full Pro account. However, the Full Pro plan is just $16 for a lifetime license and there are no monthly subscription fees. Better still, schools can get a Full Pro license for free.Read More »
The ability to record your screen and share it with others is one of those skills that I think we should all have in our back pocket. It’s a great way to share knowledge with others or demonstrate mastery of a concept. Today, there are all kinds of apps that let you do this. Many are free, others are not. It just depends on how polished you want the final product to be. In this post, I am going to take a look at a hidden feature in Windows 10 that allows anyone to record and share their screen for free.Read More »
When a screencast is overkill and a GIF is just too much trouble, the humble screenshot is exactly what you need. Whether you are reporting bugs, capturing evidence, or creating tutorials, the ability to take screenshots is a valuable skill to have. In this post, I am going to show you five ways to take screenshots in Windows 10.Read More »
Microsoft’s latest attempt at a return to browser supremacy is finally here. The new Chromium version of Edge, (Microsoft’s default web browser for Windows computers), is now available for Windows and MacOS. Chromium was developed by Google and is used as the foundation for the Chrome web browser. However, because it is an open source project, other developers are free to adopt it for their own uses. Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave are just a few of the third-party browsers that currently use Chromium to power their products, and now Microsoft have joined their ranks. This means you can now install Chrome extensions in Edge. Here’s what you need to know.
A recent update to Apple’s publishing standards has allowed more flexibility in the creation and sharing of eBooks on the Apple Books Store. Previously, all books had to be submitted to the store via the iBooks Author app for MacOS. However, you can now use Pages on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or online at iCloud.com. Here’s how it works.
Earlier this week I saw a tool going around Twitter called Remove Image Background. It’s a clever, web-based tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify a person in a photo and remove the background behind them. It’s free, it works on all devices, it doesn’t require a login, and it removes backgrounds surprisingly well. I am sure that it could be used for all kinds of graphic design projects, but like many things, it made me think about green screen.Read More »
Screenshots are important to anyone who is involved in education. They form the backbone of many step-by-step tutorials and are useful for creating better explanations for students. However, they are useful for other scenarios too. They are great for capturing some design inspiration, saving ideas from the web, or recording bugs to send to developers. This Fall, Microsoft introduced a new screenshot tool for Windows 10. It’s called Snip & Sketch. Here’s how it works. Read More »
I’ve used a lot of note taking apps over the years. I was an Evernote user for a while, I took a look at Google Keep, I jumped in and out of Notability (and still do), and finally settled on OneNote. It’s free, works on all devices, and has the features I need for organizing and searching through my notes. I’ve been very happy with OneNote, but if I’m honest, it has more features than I will ever use. I know I can just not use those features, but it made me wonder what it would be like to use an app that had less bells and whistles. What if the app was more…simple?
This year has not been a great year for multimedia software. Google ended support for YouTube’s free online video editor, and Microsoft did the same with the popular Windows Live Movie Maker. Although there are plenty of other options for both sets of users, people did get kind of attached to these video editors and not everyone is ready to pay for an alternative, (or switch to a Mac). While Google has yet to make any real attempt to replace the YouTube Editor, Microsoft has just added video editing features to the latest version of the Windows 10 Photos app. So, is this the Windows Movie Maker replacement you have been waiting for? It depends.
In a recent post, I looked at some of the best ways to record a podcast on an iPad. This time, I am going to switch platforms and look at the options you have for recording podcasts on a Windows computer. So, whether you have desktops, laptops or Surface tablets, this is the guide for you. It includes free and low cost options for teachers (or anyone else) who wants to record, edit and share podcasts from a Windows device.
Audio Recording Options for PC Users
If you use Windows 7 or Windows 8 you can take advantage of a free, built-in app called Sound Recorder. This comes pre-installed with these versions of Windows and is perfectly capable of recording good, clear audio. Windows 10 users have a very similar app called Voice Recorder that works in much the same way. You can also use free software like Audacity to record your podcasts, but more on that in a minute. The last thing you need to know for recording audio podcasts on a Windows PC is how to make sure external microphones are set as the default device. Why? Plugging in a USB microphone won’t always mean that device is selected when you want to record audio, so use this handy guide to switch input devices in the Control Panel.
Edit Podcast Audio for Free on Windows Computers
Editing is optional, depending on your needs, but sometimes it is nice to be able to add some royalty-free music to the beginning and/or end of your podcast, or to edit out some mistakes. Although you can do some very basic trims on the Sound Recorder or Voice Recorder apps, more serious edits are best left to a dedicated audio editor. Audacity is a free, open source recording and editing program that will do just that. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux computers and can be downloaded here.
If you have never used it before, the interface will take a little getting used to, but it is easy to learn from the myriad of YouTube tutorials that are dedicated to editing audio in Audacity. With Audacity you can trim, split and combine multiple audio tracks, as well as remove background noise, adjust volume levels, and more. It really isn’t as hard to use as it might look and it’s okay if you don’t need or use half of the features it offers.
If your school happens to have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, then Adobe Audition would be well worth a look for editing podcasts. It is not free, but if you already have the subscription, it won’t cost you anything to try it out. This is professional level software that is used by audio engineers in radio, film and television broadcasts, but like Audacity, it is easy to learn some basics on YouTube. Middle and High School students could pick this up pretty quickly and Mike Russell has a great playlist to get you started.
Uploading & Sharing Student Podcasts Online
There are a number of online audio hosting sites that you can use to share your student podcasts. However, the free accounts, as you might expect, often come with some restrictions. SoundCloud, for instance, gives you 3 hours of audio uploads for free. AudioBoom will let you upload as many files as you like, as long as none of them exceed 10 minutes in length.
A less conventional option might be to use tunestotube.com. This website lets you upload an MP3 file, attach an image, and then send the whole thing to YouTube as a video. It essentially creates a one picture slideshow with your podcast audio as the music track, but because it is on YouTube it is highly discoverable and easy to share.
Are You Podcasting With Windows Devices?
Do your students record and edit podcasts on Windows computers? If so, what do you use as part of your podcasting workflow? Feel free to leave a note in the comments below. You can also check out, and contribute to, my growing list of podcasts for K-12 students to listen to and learn from by following this link. Also, be sure to listen to the EdTech Take Out podcast that I co-host with Mindy Cairney by subscribing in iTunes or in a podcast player app of your choice.