I volunteered to make several copies of some DVD’s of our teachers doing what they do best in White Oak ISD: teaching. Our primary campus principal had a great idea of videoing key segments of the day in her teachers’ lives. She then created a video to give to teachers who have been hired to join our school district next school year. What an awesome idea! I am glad I volunteered to do it because it gave me some insight into what the direction is on her campus with her teachers, and technology is definitely a big part of it.
Now this principal has been an early adopter for me already this year in a few separate instances. One, she asked for laptops for her teachers. The first thing she wanted was to get a few MacBooks and a few Windows based machines so her teachers could compare and decide. (as a side note: one of her teachers had over TWENTY enhanced podcasts up in less than a week and never owned a Mac!).
Her next tech integration involved interviews for new teachers. One (or more) of her teachers shot quite a few pictures of what the classrooms and areas of the building looked like while the kids were in it functioning during the school day. Then, text was added over portions of the pictures to label the event/area being viewed. It was all then compiled into a very nice looping video that each applicant was to watch after her interview prior to leaving the building. Yes, a slide show is considered fairly low tech, but when a campus decides to jump into the tech waters and finds a neat way to tie in even a slide show during staff interviews, I say good for them. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure they used Keynote and exported the file as an MOV file since it was looping in QuickTime. That is a pretty good skill to have for a primary teacher, I must say. I have been very proud of the work my elementary teachers have done this year. They have not backed down from the challenge to integrate more technology. As my Australian buddies on Twitter would say, “Good on them!”
So anyway, I was headed into the conversation of the video conversion. If you need to rip a file off a DVD (which is what the video camera recorded to as a VOR/VOB files) and convert it for podcast use, grab you a copy of the free program Handbrake. It converts to either AVI or M4V files. I had issues with the AVI, but the M4V worked flawlessly inside iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Converting to M4V allows me to put it right into our Virtual Roughneck podcast blogs without any editing if preferred. It is by far the best product I found to do the trick. It will also come in handy when I start moving DVD’s onto my iTouch.