One area I have always struggled with is spatial reasoning. My family and friends have found it amusing over the years as I consistently get lost coming and going to even familiar places. I had a difficult time in the classroom because I would see a great design for desks that would greatly help facilitate collaboration, but when I tried to implement it, things would go horribly awry. It never failed - I always wound up with not enough room for way too many desks. Growing up, my Dad would pick me up from a youth group meeting and casually ask me how many people were there. I had no idea. It could have been 5 or 50. I had no way to estimate and was left with simply counting the people so that I knew I would have an answer.
With all that being said, I have really LOVED whiteboard animations. My fascination with them began when I first saw the RSA Animate of Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk on Changing Education Paradigms. The brilliant illustrations completely brought to life Robinson's conclusions on how education needs to evolve. I felt envy. True envy. Not only am I not spacial, I am also not gifted with an ability to draw anything. Even my attempts at stick figures are disappointing. I have accepted this inadequacy and made my peace with it. However, that has not stopped me from dreaming that I could do something like the whiteboard animations that RSA Animate does.
Enter VideoScribe. VideoScribe is a program by the United Kingdom company Sparkol that allows ANYONE to do whiteboard animations! They offer a free trial so that teachers can experiment with the animations. Included within that free trial are a large number of different animations that can be pulled into the video. Additionally, free music is available, and you can record your voice to explain the concepts to your students.
I decided to give it a shot. I took several hours and just played. I did not really have a purpose when I started, but as I played, an idea developed. I would create a video highlighting the amazing things happening in a school I was serving at the time. As I mentioned above, I struggle with spatial reasoning, so understanding that the board was not limited to my screen, and in reality, was infinite was difficult for me. However, the final product turned out great and has been used to promote the school.
If you have been curious as to how these whiteboard animations are developed, I would really encourage you to sign up for a free trial with VideoScribe. Playing with this program has been fun, and even my husband is using it this week for a project in his education class!
Happy teaching with tech, my friends!
Leah Kurtz, Ed.S.
I am a Technology Training/Integration Specialist for a public school district north of Atlanta, Georgia. I am passionate about supporting teachers and students in transforming their classrooms using technology. I am a firm believer that technology should not be a special occasion; rather, technology is at its best when it is a seamless part of our everyday actions.