We often think of a tablet as a device for consuming content. Something that lets you watch a movie, read a book, or play a game. One of the most engaging tasks you can give a student is to become a creator. This might mean that they design an experiment, write a book or even make a movie. All of these tasks require higher order thinking and give you a chance to assess student understanding.

There are lots of ways that teens can create their own videos but a handful of iPad apps make this process manageable for both teachers and students. With these dynamic tools, teens have the power to tell a story. Whether they are recounting historical events, filming a public service announcement, or publishing a video tutorial for solving a math problem, the iPad is a wonderful tool for student learning.

iMovie

One of the most powerful apps in the iWork suite is iMovie. This creation app is perfect for teens and teachers who want to create their own videos. It gives users the option to work off of templates to drag and drop their own content. Students can place music and audio tracks over pictures and add titles and effects to each clip. iMovie also has the option to create trailers which can be a fun option for students looking to demonstrate their understanding of a topic by using a familiar video format. Although iMovie has plenty of high quality features it won’t be overwhelming for new users who can follow along with the instructions on the screen to create a simple or complex final product.

ChatterPix Kids

This user-friendly iPad app might look a little elementary but it’s a great choice for middle school and high school students. Teens can grab a picture from the Internet and save it to their camera roll or snap a photograph of a primary source document. With ChatterPix Kids, students will slice a mouth on an image of a person and record their voice speaking through them. The video they create with this app can be used by students to explore a historical figure’s perspective or give a voice to a character in a book.

Stop Motion Studio

If you want to give students a few options when completing a research project on a topic, you might want to include Stop Motion Studio on their list.  This app lets teens create stop motion videos and is perfect for storytelling.  Your students can recreate an event from world history or show how two historical figures interacted with one another. This app gives teens the power to demonstrate their understanding of a topic while they move figurines across a tabletop.

The iPad is a wonderful creation tool that can be used throughout the content areas.  Your students can use video apps to show off what they have learned about a topic as opposed to writing traditional reports.  With these engaging apps you’ll transform how students interact with content and how you assess student understanding.

Have you used video creation apps with students?  Share your experiences below!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

ChannelOne.com has lots of resources that can help students with their homework. Have you looked through the Video Library? It is full of videos that teens can use as they tackle after-school assignments. The Video Library organizes clips by “newest first” so it’s easy to find reports on important world events and hot topics. Kids can locate videos on a wide range of topics and access content related to their work in school. It’s also a great place to send students to gather information on a topic or answer questions they have about current events.

Everyday Assignments

The Video Library on ChannelOne.com can give students an overview of topics so they are better informed and ready to complete their homework. For example, if they have to write about Syria as part of a current events assignment, a quick search of the Video Library will give them a few clips to watch. Students will build their background knowledge on the subject and be ready to answer questions about chemical warfare and the political climate of the country.

Research Projects

For teens working on research projects the Video Library on ChannelOne.com can help them locate information. Students can type in a keyword in the search function or look through different categories or tags to learn more about a subject. Watching a news program that combines high quality reporting with video is a great way to help students stay informed on a subject. It will keep them interested in the topic while they make sense of the information they’ve gathered from other sources. When assigning a research report to students you can require them to include video clips in their bibliography to show that they were able to use a variety of sources. EasyBib.com has a guide for citing video clips like the ones featured on ChannelOne.com.

Flipped Learning

Many teachers are exploring the idea of the flipped classroom and the Video Library at ChannelOne.com can help educators choose the right clips to assign to students. In the flipped classroom model, teachers assign videos for students to watch at home so when they come to class they are prepared to talk about the subject. These clips can include lectures, tutorials or any media that presents content. Teachers can assign ChannelOne.com news clips for kids to watch at home or during a free period as part of their homework. If this happens outside of the classroom, teachers can use their face-to-face time with students for whole group discussions, group work and partner activities.

Video Transcripts

Each clip in the ChannelOne.com Video Library includes a full transcript from that segment. Videos offer a unique way to learn about a subject and the transcript will help teens follow along and learn new vocabulary words by reviewing them in context. The ability to pause a clip to take notes or refer to the transcript included with each video post will help students as they get ready to write and report about a topic.

Have you asked students to watch videos at home? How has the Video Library fit into your student’s afterschool routine? Share your story in the comments section.

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — How does a bighorn sheep say “cheese?”

Some charismatic critters caught by motion-detecting wildlife cameras seem to know how to strike a pose. But it’s not just show business. As these devices get ever smaller, cheaper and more reliable, scientists across the U.S. are using them to document elusive creatures like never before.

“There’s no doubt — it is an incredible tool to acquire data on wildlife,” said Grant Harris, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Remote cameras have photographed everything from small desert cats called ocelots to snow-loving lynx high in the Northern Rockies.

Harris cited images of javelinas, pig-like desert mammals, and coatimundi, members of the raccoon family, captured at higher latitudes in recent years. That could mean global warming is expanding their range northward, he said.

Other scientists deploying remote cameras include researchers with the Wyoming Migration Initiative, who use global positioning to map the movements of elk, mule deer and antelope in and around Yellowstone National Park. They only have so many collars to track animals, meaning there’s a limit to the GPS data they can gather, said Matthew Kauffman, a University of Wyoming associate professor and initiative director.

“You see one animal migrating, you don’t know if it’s migrating by itself, if it’s migrating with a calf, or if it’s migrating with 40 other animals,” Kauffman said.

Remote cameras — which can be left in the backcountry for days, weeks or even months — help fill in blanks by showing how many animals are on the move over a given period, he said.

Where to position them requires careful forethought. Clustering several around a watering hole, for instance, might produce many images but not a thorough profile of a population.

“There’s this tension between subjectivity in where you put your camera and where it’s statistically sound,” Harris said.

Sometimes smart-alecky humans turn up among the images. “I’ve seen people moon cameras, and that’s always funny,” he said.

Remote video can also reveal details about animal behavior, including the mewling sounds of migrating mule deer. And live-streaming cameras for everything from bison in Saskatchewan, Canada, to the underwater kelp forest off California’s Channel Islands are always popular.

As with all human intrusion into nature, remote cameras have downsides. Animals such as wolverines and bears have been known to attack them, though whether out of curiosity or aggression is hard to say.

Also, the devices have become popular tools to help hunters scout for game, prompting a debate over fair-chase ethics. Then there’s the whole subjective thing about going into nature to get away from it all, including surveillance cameras.

Anyway, to answer the question: A bighorn sheep that looks like it’s smiling probably isn’t saying “cheese” but sniffing pheromones and other scents in what’s called a flehmen response, said Harris.

In other words … bleats us.

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Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia’s new parliament on Wednesday elected a pro-secession speaker, virtually guaranteeing that the push for independence for Spain’s northeastern region will continue as its lawmakers prepare to elect a new government.

The opening session of the new Catalan assembly came amid looming questions about the role that fugitive and jailed politicians will play within the chamber’s separatist majority and the future regional government.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium in October dodging a Spanish judicial probe over a foiled secession attempt, wants to be reinstated to his old job. But he faces arrest if he returns to Spain and legal hurdles if he wants to be voted in from abroad by the regional assembly.

Puigdemont’s and other empty seats in the parliament were adorned with a yellow ribbon Wednesday. Four ex-Cabinet members sought by Spain’s Supreme Court are also in Brussels and three more elected lawmakers — including former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras— are jailed on provisional charges of rebellion or sedition.

Other former Cabinet members and parliamentary officials have been released from jail but remain under investigation.

Spanish central authorities took direct control of Catalonia following the unilateral declaration of independence by separatist lawmakers on Oct. 27.

Under special powers, Spain fired Puigdemont’s government, dissolved parliament and forced a new regional election on Dec. 21 in the hope of halting the secession drive.

But contrary to Madrid’s hopes, separatists regained their slim parliamentary majority despite receiving less than half of the votes, although Ciutadans (Citizens) —a party that fiercely opposes independence— gained the most seats.

Several hundred people rallied near the parliament in central Barcelona, waving separatist flags as they watched the new house speaker’s election on a large outdoor screen.

Roger Torrent, a lawmaker with the left-republican ERC party, was elected to head the assembly’s governing committee that plays a key role in deciding what issues are debated and voted on in parliament.

“I want democracy and coexistence to be the foundations of this term,” Torrent told fellow lawmakers from the speaker’s podium, vowing at the same time to restore the self-government of Catalonia that is now in the hands of Madrid. He also said that, as speaker, he would defend the right of “all 135 voices in the chamber,” including those fugitive or in jail.

But Ciutadans leader Ines Arrimadas criticized the inaugural session, saying, “We start the legislature as we finished the last one, with a parliament speaker who is going to work only for independence.”

However, she pointed out that things had changed in the parliament because the secessionist bloc now had fewer seats and votes and the independence stance had no international support.

“No matter what happens, we are going to be the guarantors for Catalonia not to make any independence declaration,” she said.

Although Arrimadas’ party won the most seats —36 — unlike the secessionist bloc, she lacks enough support to form a government.

Torrent is tasked with choosing a candidate to try to form a government by the end of the month. The two secessionist parties back the candidacy of Puigdemont, but the former president would first have to get approval from Torrent’s committee to vote and be elected from abroad.

Elsa Artadi, spokeswoman for Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia), said the separatists are “working to explore all the tools in the parliament’s rules to see what will be the formula.”

Parliamentary legal advisers said in a report this week that Puigdemont can’t be sworn in via video link or by having a proxy candidate as he must debate his candidacy in person in parliament.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has also vowed to maintain direct rule over Catalonia if the fugitive separatist politician tries to resume office from Brussels.

The parties that promote Catalan independence jointly hold 66 seats in Catalonia’s parliament and also have support from four pro-independence, anti-establishment lawmakers.

Polls consistently show that most Catalans want the right to decide the region’s future, but are evenly divided over splitting from Spain.

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Parra reported from Madrid. Associated Press writer Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed to this report.