Paul Salopek and Ahmed Kabil
Writing will always be important, but weaving text, images, sound, and presentation together can give students more and different ways to express themselves. Easy-to-use online tools allow students the opportunity to create multimedia projects that demonstrate knowledge and develop useful skills. Check out these new three tools on the scene.
Launched less than a year ago, Meograph lets users create professional-looking multimedia presentations using video, audio, images, text, timelines, maps, and links.
Users create Meograph "moments" by uploading photos, videos, text and add voice narration to accompany the visuals. The moments can also be tagged with location, date, and time. Once all the moments have been collected, they can be shared through social media sites or embedded into websites.
First used by news outlets to tell stories using multimedia, Meograph is now being leveraged by teachers and students, too. The company is now offering tools specifically requested by teachers, with paid license fees. The one-year licenses, which cost $19.99, $29.99 and $39.99, are offered at three levels with different features, including the ability to add sub-accounts under the teacher’s name to protect student privacy. With the sub-account feature, students under the age of 13 can sign up.
The new licenses also provide more subtlety in the privacy of publishing. For example, in the most basic version, a project is either private or public. In the licensed version, a student can publish a project so only a teacher can see it. Meograph has also made it possible for groups to store work in the same place.
Here's an example of a Meograph that students produced on the water cycle.
Zeega allows users to create an interactive web-based story, pulling content from online sources, including photos, music, animated GIFs, and videos. Once a project is completed, viewers click their way through each story, one webpage leading to another, whether it's a series of GIFs, or captioned photos, or just plain text.
Jesse Shapins, the company's CEO, teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, so word is getting out in higher education circles, but it’s slowly reaching K-12 educators too.
The tool is free to individual users and will stay that way, according to Shapins. Zeega is still considering whether to charge larger scale publishers -- like media organizations -- a licensing fee.
WeVideo is primarily a video tool, allowing users to upload media clips, move them around easily, and edit them. What makes this tool unique is the ability for several people to collaborate at the same time. Users can choose from themes that give videos different moods, similar to settings on Instagram. One very handy feature is WeVidoeo’s Google Drive App, which allows users to store projects in Google Drive.
While there is a free version of WeVideo, the prices rise steeply for licenses that let users do more. The free version only allows for five gigabytes of storage and fifteen minutes of exported video. Also, the company’s watermark appears on the video. For $49.99 a year the watermark goes away and users get more of everything. And for $99.99 per year a user can make bigger and better projects, with more collaborators and better image resolution.