Some earlier posts here made mention of the work I was doing during my sabbatical about 18 months ago. My intention was to create a website based around resources for learning (or teaching) German grammar. It may have taken rather longer than anticipated, but a website of sorts has finally seen the light of day at www.tenthingsgerman.com.
It may not be quite the imaginative, exciting site I had in my head, but sometimes ambitions have to be compromised to fit the realities of available time. That said, I like to think that at least some of the explanations of various aspects of German grammar have at least a flicker of originality about them and may fill a little gap somewhere out there in the big wide world of language learning.
I recently downloaded the beta version of Office 2010, which is available as a free download which will expire on 31st October. There are a few new things in PowerPoint, one of which is the ability to save your PPT as a Windows Media file (.wmv). The result is a largish file playable on Windows Media Player as a seamless video; animations stay intact and transitions are done automatically. This is potentially the only real problem with the conversion, as any lingering at the end of a slide is eliminated. It might be more of an issue with slideshows containing lots of click-to-advance animations; the ones I converted were all done on timings apart from slide transitions.
The conversions I made were of the German grammar slideshows I was creating during my ‘sabbatical’ periods and which I originally converted to Flash. I still think this is the preferred output. However, an interesting benefit of converting to .wmv is that you can then upload your videos to sites like YouTube. I’ve not done quite that, probably because YouTube is owned by Google, but have instead uploaded them to blip.tv where the .wmv file is converted to Flash video (.flv), although you can watch in either format. I have embedded a couple of examples above and below which will play if clicked.
Apart from the issue with panicky slide transitions, there is some loss of quality, though not anything too bad. It soon becomes clear that certain colour combinations for text and background which might work in PPT don’t necessarily work outside that format. But this new development is an interesting one and opens up exciting new possibilities for all those old PowerPoints you have filed away somewhere! I think the two important factors are (1) opening up formats more widely useful than the original PPT one, and (2) by holding the videos centrally on YouTube, blip.tv or wherever, you can avoid having to upload them to any VLE course you want them attached to. A simple link will suffice.
Anyway, the rest of the PPT conversions are available here. Unfortunately the drag and drop facility for organising the files stopped working today, so you may find them in rather random order (or not, if it’s been fixed by the time you read this!). There are 23 videos so there are 2 pages (you will arrive on page one of two).
I thought I’d just post something to prove that, in what sabbatical time I seem to be able to get in amongst all the School-related work I’m still tied to, I haven’t been completely idle. So here are links to 3 items of the ones I’ve pretty much completed. They are just little slideshows, the actual webpages I intend to author once I’ve got the resources sorted out.
The first is one about adjectival endings in German, one of four items I’ve done on this point. This, and the second item, are really cheats, as I wrote them in PowerPoint (which shows) and then converted them to Flash. It’s all done with timings, so the only clicks needed are to advance a slide or when otherwise indicated.
The second one is an introduction to gender in German. I got a bit carried away with my balloons, but here it is.
The third one was actually done in Flash, or sort of, using Adobe Captivate, which is kind of Flash Lite for Dummies. It’s not much in itself, but I include it because it shows an example of including hover-over pop-ups, which are quite useful. With one slight exception, in that you won’t see the speech bubble in the version linked to this site. A technical glitch which will be overcome …..
I’m going to have to speed up a bit to have done by Christmas what I set out to do! That much is obvious …..