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These school video products and services caught our eye at TCEA 2014

video-tools-schoolA free library of instructional videos that comes with a powerful search tool for finding just what you want, and a platform for editing video collaboratively in the cloud, were among the most notable school video tools on display at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) annual conference in Austin last week.

Here’s a description of the top video tools that caught our eye during TCEA 2014.

Mobento

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 10.52.12 AMCreated by 22-year-old Sumner Murphy, Mobento is a video learning platform that curates content from world-class instructors and institutions such as Stanford, Yale, Khan Academy, and TED.

The website includes more than 4,200 instructional videos arranged in 26 categories; most are about 10 minutes long. Free apps for iOS and Android devices allow users to search for, download, and watch videos on a mobile device, which works well for students with limited internet access at home.

The site’s main innovation is a search tool that lets you search for keywords mentioned in the videos. For example, if you search for “dinosaur” and “bones,” the search tool will show you a list of videos that mention these words. A color-coded bar graph under each search result tells you how frequently each keyword is mentioned within that particular clip. If you click on a search result, a timeline beneath the video shows exactly where in the clip each word is spoken, so you can skip immediately to the most relevant parts of the video.

Mobento’s library of video content is free for users to access, but the company also sells school accounts that let you create courses, assign videos to students, and monitor their progress.

Roland VR-3EX AV Mixer

vr3ex_right_diag2_galRoland Systems Group demonstrated its latest all-in-one audio-visual mixer, the Roland VR-3EX, which expands the company’s lineup of live video production, streaming, and recording solutions.

The Roland VR-3EX includes an audio mixer, video mixer, touch-screen monitor, and USB port for video streaming and recording. The device builds on the company’s popular entry-level AV mixer, the Roland VR-3, by adding four HDMI inputs/outputs, built-in scaling with resolutions up to 1080p and WUXGA, HDCP support, a full 18-channel digital audio mixer with effects, and more than 200 video transitions and effects.

The Roland VR-3EX’s expanded features and affordable cost make it an ideal AV mixer for education, and its compact design lends itself to portable applications—especially where size and space are considerations. The device will be available for sale in March.

Swivl

Swivl-Home-Page3Swivl is an innovative solution for capturing video that we first highlighted last year, but at TCEA 2014 the company demonstrated the next generation of its product—which enables users to capture lessons and other presentations easily using any tablet device.

The product consists of a robotic base station with a slot that you can set a camera-enabled smart phone or tablet into, and a remote transmitter that you wear. As you walk around the room, the base station automatically swivels to follow the transmitter, so the camera on your mobile device continues to focus on you. The transmitter doubles as a remote-control device for operating the base station manually as well.

Swivl’s first-generation product supported smaller iOS devices only, such as iPhones and iPad Minis. Its second-generation product, demonstrated at TCEA, features a sturdier base station designed to support full-size tablets (up to 8 pounds)—and it works with Android devices as well. It also includes software for combining a video clip with a slide presentation, without having to edit the video first—reducing the process of “flipping” your classroom down to just a tablet and the Swivl.

In addition, the company offers a cloud-based platform for storing and sharing video—including analytics to show who has watched each clip.

WeVideo

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 3.23.25 PMWeVideo makes video creation accessible to anyone, using cloud-based technologies. With WeVideo, students can create and edit their own videos online and can collaborate on group projects.

This browser-based video editing platform is platform agnostic, meaning it works across any device. Its goal is to “disrupt the process of working on video in the same way Google did for word processing,” said co-founder Bjorn Rustbergaard.

WeVideo includes two different interfaces to accommodate users of varying skill levels. The Storyboard interface is for basic users, while a more advanced interface called Timeline allows you to add transitions and graphics. For now, users must upload their own video clips, but WeVideo is working on adding a library of open content that students can use as well.

WeVideo is free for individual users, but the company sells school-based accounts that include a private, secure “walled garden” feature for sharing videos only among students and their teacher. School-based accounts start around $5 per student, per year, with volume discounts available.

Follow eSchool News Editor in Chief Dennis Pierce at @eSN_Dennis.

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