Keeping Teens Challenged and Engaged with Video Presentations

Many teens dread giving a speech in front of their peers. They have difficulty capturing – and keeping – the attention of their audience. They struggle to structure and communicate their ideas successfully.

Integrating a variety of technology into your courses – whether it’s history, science, language arts, or a foreign language – will provide teens with a range of  multimedia and design tools. In doing so, teens are more engaged and thereby develop a range of skills related to production and video presentations. Best of all, they learn to communicate more clearly and more compellingly with their audience.

mysimpleshow video presentations

I was compensated for my time writing this review. All opinions expressed are true and completely our own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Tips For Keeping Teens Engaged

Teens get bored easily – especially when instruction is delivered the same way or when asked to give yet another speech to demonstrate what they have learned. Keep teens engaged by designing lessons that include novelty, variety, and fun.

When teens use short and friendly video, they can awake interest for almost any topic. Creating explainer videos with mysimpleshow, for example, is easy and exciting, and it also trains users regarding the application of creative technology resources.

Focus student attention by incorporating demonstrations, role playing, hands-on activities, storytelling, and multimedia presentations to enhance instruction. Requesting students create explainer videos with mysimpleshow is a great means to structure content, provide guidance, and give an overview.

Did you know?

The great Roman orator, Cicero, recommended the use of images as part of memory training. He also used visuals, in the form of props, in his speeches. For this reason, he is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.

Many teens love to socialize and do projects with their peers. Cooperative learning opportunities are highly effective in keeping students engaged and participating in lessons. With mysimpleshow, students can work in teams (either in small groups or with a partner) on video scripts and visualizations to aid in their collaboration skills.

Our Favorite Resource for Video Presentations

While there are many interactive presentation and slide show apps, mysimpleshow is our favorite resource for video presentations. It is the perfect medium your students need to make their project fun, engaging, and interesting.

mysimpleshow is an online tool that enables anyone to create concise and engaging explainer videos in just a few minutes. It is also a great option for teachers to create lessons and presentations with multimedia and interactive elements such as video, audio, and embedded assessments.

Writing the video script native to the mysimpleshow platform, enhances writing skills, as students need to use transition phrases and must only include the most relevant information to align with the storyline template’s character limits.

mysimpleshow video presentations

The screenshot visible above is excerpted from a video I put together for our Scout troop detailing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. On the left side, you can see two highlighted words – these are the words that are illustrated with graphics from the available gallery or images the user can upload.

I love that the user has the freedom to select the words to animate. As the slideshow plays, the selected image will appear as the narrator reads the highlighted word. The user will thereby need to make small adjustments to their script to assure the graphics appear in a timely manner – a great problem solving opportunity.

My daughter used mysimpleshow to create a fabulous explainer video for Ranger requirement #2g, “Make a presentation for your crew on communications equipment used in the outdoors with emphasis on how this equipment would help in a wilderness survival situation.”

 

She loved the flexibility of the program and looks forward to making another video to teach her Venturing Crew about Leave No Trace principles.

In the Path of Totality: The 2017 Eclipse

We had been planning to be in the path of totality for over a year, purchasing tickets to OMSI’s eclipse party at the state fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon in July of 2016. As the date approached, the media was inundated with warnings about traffic congestion, fuel shortages, and other issues related to the eclipse.

path of totality - solar eclipse Preparing for Totality

As we prepared for the event and stressed about logistics – wondering if we should change plans and camp in the Cascades [we would need to pick Geneva up on Friday evening after National Youth Leadership Training – (NYLT)], crash at my brother’s in Eugene, or return home and then drive up to Salem the morning of – we spent time learning more about eclipses.

We had previously seen an annular eclipse and the kids were curious how they differed. Best of all, their interest tied into the requirements necessary to earn the coveted BSA Eclipse patch:

  • Boy Scouts: Draw a diagram of the positions of the moon, earth, and sun to show how the solar eclipse occurs.
  • Venturers: Research Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment and discuss how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

We had recently discovered mysimpleshow and it seemed like the perfect tool for this project. We thereby collaborated (learning how to use the program together) on an explainer video for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

As

As this was our first multimedia presentation with mysimpleshow, we struggled with a few things (I can’t figure out why a few of the images appear in blue hues) but otherwise we LOVE it! We will definitely be using it again – I’ll be posting a complete review in September so check back. :)

Experiencing Totality

After learning more about the location of Geneva’s NYLT camp, we opted to return home Friday evening – we didn’t get home until nearly 1 a.m. She needed the time to decompress after camp however, so it was a wise decision.

We decided to drive up Sunday afternoon and thereby made arrangements to pitch our tent in a friend’s backyard (Thank you, Hannah!). Traffic was not bad on the way up and we arrived rested and excited for the next day.

path of totality - solar eclipse We grabbed a quick breakfast and made our way over the fairgrounds where the vibe was picking up as our morning coffees began to work their magic. We met up with friends who drove down from Portland and the festivities began.

We meandered the vendor booths and enjoyed the speakers in the amphitheater. The best part of the morning was simply catching up with our friends and taking in each moment – Geneva sketching and Jeffrey cubing.

I loved watching the crowd as the moon eclipsed the sun. Taiko drummers beat out a rhythm as totality approached and were silent during the 1 minute 53 seconds of duration. The crowd was awed and everyone mesmerized by the beauty of the natural event.

path of totality - solar eclipse

It was so fun to experience it with a large crowd – to stop even ever so briefly and not worry about politics or personal strife. Though many people began to depart after totality, we opted to stay.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant as we contemplated which route to take to return home. As I5 south was already congested with traffic (our GPS map showed it red for the entire length of the state), we chose to drive slightly westward and then proceed south on highway 99 through Monmouth and Corvallis. This turned out to be a wise choice. Though traffic was heavier than usual, we encountered congestion for only a short stretch between Corvallis and Monroe.

It has been several days now since the eclipse and we are still in awe. It was really incredible and we are so thankful we had the opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse in totality. The next eclipse visible in the United States will be 2024. We may consider making plans for this one as well.

 

 

Teen Internet Rising Stars: A Profile of Creative Homeschool Kids

In today’s technologically saturated environment, more and more businesses and people are going online. Teens have grown up with social media as a daily part of their lives. As their interests and passions begin to take form, these internet rising stars are using social media and Web2.0 platforms to their benefit. In doing so, they develop strategy and community management skills that rival many adults.

Today, I would like to celebrate several creative homeschool kids who are striving to make a name for themselves online. Bloggers, magazine publishers, and YouTubers – these kids know where they want to go and together with their parents, are molding their schoolwork around their passions.

internet rising stars

Homeschool Bloggers & Rising Stars

Blogging benefits students in ways that you may not even realize. Blogging has students writing regularly, so it’s a no-brainer that they’ll become proficient at it over time. Blogging also helps students learn to manage their time – finding a balance between schoolwork, family, writing, scheduling posts, and formatting their blog template and images. Perhaps the most important, students gain experience with social media strategy and community management.

Missions and Music and More, Oh My! – Rachel’s tagline says it all, “It’s all about missions, music, baking, graphic design and other geekery.”

Geneva Varga – An online portfolio created as documentation of her life work as an artist and naturalist. I love how she showcases her many passions.

Troop 156 – As his Boy Scout troop’s Webmaster, Jeffrey has begun to put together a website for his troop. Best of all, his efforts also meet one of the project requirements for the Programming merit badge.

Minetech – Jeffrey has also created a website to support his Minecraft server. Complete with forums and tutorials – he is able to connect with his players and collaborate on the development of mini-games and animation videos.

Piqued for PC Gaming – Rydro (as he is known online) has a lot of experience playing video games and it shows. Check out his new website to learn more about PC games.

The Perler Post – Eleven year old Grayson is passionate about Perler bead art. I can’t wait to see the elaborate projects he will share in the future.

Do you blog? Do your teens? What stories and passions would you all share with the world?

Homeschool Magazines & Rising Stars

Similar to blogging, the process of creating the content for their own magazine, students learn about the writing process as well as refine their skills in formatting and communicating their ideas with an audience.

THEM Magazines – Published by Nate Spell, THEM Magazines is a culmination of all his interests: gaming, coding, and movies. I love that he has multiple issues! Clearly he is passionate about his craft.

 

This past school year, my kids worked through the lessons in Cover Story Writing. They really enjoyed the creative process. My daughter’s magazine, The Otaku Habit, celebrates her love of Japanese anime. Hers impressed me the most because she spent many hours on artistic layout, design, and formatting.

Do your tweens and teens have a blog or YouTube channel of their own? Share a link in the comments.

Homeschool YouTubers & Rising Stars

The most coveted of internet stars are the YouTubers. If you haven’t heard of Joey Graceffa, Boy in a Band, ExplodingTNT, or Jelly, just ask your kids who their favorite YouTubers are. Creating videos for YouTube teaches kids a variety of production skills including story development, visual design, framing, lighting and sound techniques that will help them make magic.

Luci Hodges – Luci shares insight into your teen life. My kids are envious that she has met their favorite YouTubers, Dan and Phil.

Joel Ross – If you like Chopin, you’ll love Joel’s channel. This 17 year old pianist is fabulous!

Jeffrey Varga – At 11 years, Jeffrey is just beginning to come into his own. I encouraged him to create a channel to showcase his love of piano. Like many, however, he struggles with balance. He spends more time on his gaming channel, BudderSticks. I made a bet with him that his piano channel would gain subscribers at a faster rate than his gaming channel. Sadly, I am losing.

Geneva Varga – Geneva’s vision for Werifesteria (from Old English meaning ‘to wander longingly in the forest in search of mystery’) is to share compilations of our family hikes.