I'm sitting in the car as we drive back home after a couple of days break in Fujairah (one of the lesser known Emirates of the UAE) for half term. Whilst there we were able to arrange some snorkeling around a little island known as Snoopy Island (so called as it looks like Snoopy lying down on top of his kennel.) This island is well know. In the UAE as one of the best places to snorkel as the marine life here is quite special... and sea turtles are regular visitors.
My wife and I actually swam with a turtle in the Maldives during our honeymoon six years ago. Back then I purchased a special diving mask with a camera built in and a micro SD card to record images and video clips on. Bear in mind back in 2010, this was pretty new tech at a consumer level as the Go Pro explosion hadn't begun.
Back in the present, I no longer had that mask and didn't want to drop a huge amount of money on something too elaborate in order to try and capture some shots of the watery world around Snoopy Island. The answer was actually already in my pocket - my iPhone! All I needed was a special waterproof case on a lanyard. There are many types of these available but the one I got was by DICAPAC and came recommended by the dive team. It was relatively inexpensive and safe to use to a depth of 10m.
The phone (or indeed iPod) slips into the case and it is then s and using a Velcro system. The buttons still work through the plastic above water but once you dive below the surface, the water pressure across the phone surface means that you can only use the physical buttons. As such the fact that the volume buttons can be used to take images or start recordings is perfect. I found that the images taken with the iPhone underwater were a little blurry and it was hard to get a good focus. The videos though were generally very clear and impressively clear.
And boy was I glad that I had my phone with me -there were around 8 turtles grazing on the plants around the back of the island! The experience was quite simply breath-taking and I managed to capture some great clips.
Flash forward to the car ride home (Fujairah is about 2 hours from Dubai) and I wanted to edit some of the clips together to share with friends and family. The first step in this process was transferring the clips from my phone to my iPad for access to more apps and a bigger screen to edit on. To do this quickly and easily (and without wifi access) I used AirDrop. If you are yet to experience the tiny miracle that is Apple's AirDrop function for sending files between devices like lightning, you're missing out. Luke and I both picked up on it after the Apple Institute in Amsterdam last year and have been using it like mad ever since. Just swipe up on your iOS device to access the. Control center and make sure AirDrop is turned on, you can then export this way directly from the camera roll.
Now I had the clips on my iPad, I had to pick an app to edit them together with. I couldn't choose though so ended up doing it three ways...
QUIK The first app I went to was Quik from Go Pro. This has become my five year olds go-to video app as it does all the heavy lifting and lets you produce very slick little videos in no time at all. Choose a theme and see you clips come to life in real-time then switch and customize to your heart's content.
It can be a little trigger-happy with the editing of longer clips though which produces a choppy effect. By selecting each clip and then clicking trim you can elect to play the clips without cuts though. Quik is a dream to use, has a stack of great themes and tones of cool background music choices.
SHADOW PUPPET EDU Shadow Puppet has long been a favourite app of ,one for narrated slideshows and has been featured here on iPad Educators a few times. I'd never used it without narration though and since my daughters were blasting out Ariana Grande tunes, narration was out of the question this time.
Another quick and easy app, Shadow Puppet lets you insert your media, sequence it and then ass titles and music. The choices here are more limited but enough to allow me to produce a simple but effective little video:
iMOVIE It had to end up here really didn't it? iMovie is always the natural choice for mobile film editing and allowed me to perform some simple edits to the footage to cull the less well framed elements and streamline the whole montage.
I do wish that they would add more backing track options yak iMovie but the logic is that you can produce your own tracks in GarageBand and import them. With the aforementioned pop music blasting me though, this wasn't going to happen this time.
Now I would imagine,any of you don't work in schools that have sea turtles in the vicinity and are possibly unclear on the educational angle of this post . The reason I shared this little holiday story was twofold-
Firstly I wanted to highlight the potential for the waterproof iPhone/iPod covers to film in water.They could be used in a school swimming pool to film water safety clips or to demonstrate swimming techniques. Another curriculum area where they could come into their own is science - filming water-based science experiments. The ability to then AirDrop to multiple student iPads has heaps of potential as it means that only one iPhone/iPod is needed!
Secondly I wanted to highlight a couple of ways that students can VERY quickly edit a simple video on an iPad using free apps. Anyone who has followed my posts around the theme of App Autonomy will know how important I think it is to give students choice and all three of these apps are wonderful vehicles for digital storytelling.
Ok that's me. 2% left on the battery and 10 minutes left til we get home. Job done