Here’s a fun STEM activity using Tinkercad, Autodesk’s free web-based 3D modeling program. Tinkercad is an amazingly easy-to-use, powerful program for creating 3D digital designs that are ready to be 3D printed, incorporated into projects, or solve design challenges. This FREE collection of online software tools help people all over the world think, create, make, and Tinker! For teachers, it integrates easily with Google/Tinkercad Classroom and is 100% cloud-based, meaning it will operate on any device that can run a web browser, including Chromebooks and iPads.
For teachers interested in a Tinkercad class for continuing education credits, take a look at STEM-910, Teaching With Tinkercad. https://ce.fresno.edu/educator-courses/stem-910
Actual software applications usually cannot be installed on a Chromebook, which usually means that editing video has to be done in the cloud, like at wevideo.com, which was neither free nor convenient for schools and students.
With the advent of being able to install some Linux apps on Chromebooks, developers have bundled together some Linux open-source applications that can easily be installed (You don’t need to know Linux) via Flatpak.
There are several choices, but my favorite is OpenShot. It is a typical non-linear video editor that students can learn easily. It even comes with a nice library of transitions and effects.
You are not going to be able to edit the next Star Wars movie with it on a Chromebook, but for presentations, science experiments, debates, book reports – you name it – it provides the best option for editing video on a Chromebook.
This is the video that I mentioned earlier on improving your videos by stepping-up your audio. It is impossible for me to provide a one-step-fits-all solution, so consider this a start and if you have questions or want a recommendation, please let me know.
BTW, here are some links to some of the gear I mentioned. I don’t make any money off them, it’s just what I use myself. With tariffs, COVID and so many people looking to improve their audio for online meetings, prices have been higher this last year, but they are getting better slowly. Some products are also back-ordered.
Sony Lavalier Mic. Some mics require power, others don’t. To avoid getting the wrong mic, choose one with free returns. If your computer supports a mic 3.5mm input, this may be all that you need.
Blue Yeti USB Mic. I used one of these for 2-3 years and loved it until it stopped working. Maybe I just got a bad one, but I replaced it with an AT2020 condenser mic and use a USB interface to connect it to my computer.
iMovie is Apple’s free video editing program for Macs, iPads and iPhones. It is very easy to learn and integrates very well with all Apple devices, yet also has many advanced features for easily creating captivating video content for educational and personal use.
No previous experience is required for this course. Students will intuitively proceed through each lesson, creating appealing and engaging video content that can be used in their instruction the same day. Methods for sharing videos in almost any forum/format will also be discussed.
Students will need a Macintosh computer for the course so we can explore iMovie’s features, but we will also cover how you can use iMovie on iOS devices such as iPads.
Sample Lesson From The Course
Discover how you can use the Apple hardware you already use daily to create, educate, communicate and inform, all while having fun and maximizing your creativity.
Three graduate-level semester credits from Fresno Pacific University.
Neither previous academic coursework nor work experience is required.
The textbook is inexpensive, especially used copies.
Up until recently, editing RAW camera images on a Chromebook has not been possible. However, two RAW editors are now available – Raw Therapee and Darktable. Both are very powerful and can now be installed on a Chromebook. Of the two, both can do everything I could ever want to do, but I prefer Raw Therapee simply because it is easier to use, at least for me.
Here is how to add RawTherapee to your Chromebook.
At first, it may look intimidating to use, which is understandable as it can do so much, but the basics are easy to access. These two YouTube guides will convince you in less than 15 minutes that if your students are using Chromebooks, RawTherapee is something you will want to include in your lessons.
Loom is an online screen recording program from Google. While the online version does a nice job, if you have a Mac or PC, you can install an application that will give you more features.
Loom does a nice job recording your screen and narration and then stores your screencasts in the cloud for easy sharing. It comes with a basic editor, but if you want to spruce up your project, you can download the file as a .mp4 and edit it in your favorite free editor like HitFilm Express.
There are several good options for capturing screenshots and recording video screencasts. Techsmith sells two fantastic programs, Snagit and Camtasia. I have purchased both of them, but for those that don’t need that level of horsepower, Techsmith Capture is a great choice, which borrows some seasoned basic elements from Snagit and Camtasia. It can be mastered in minutes, captures both images and video (even your webcam), and then easily shares them to your free screencast.com account.
Highly recommended! Here’s a brief diddy on how to use it.
For 99% of the image editing tasks, GIMP and Photoshop can do the same thing. Of course, GIMP is much-lesser known as it is a free open-source program that does not have Adobe’s multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, but nevertheless, it gets the job done and more!
Now with many schools adopting Chromebooks, full-featured image editing has been limited. No more, as you can now easily install GIMP on most Chromebooks. I managed to install it on my 3-year old $225 Costco Chromebook and it runs great. This is the full version of GIMP, not some watered-down web version.