Adding Audio in YouTube Editor

In February I attended my second Google Apps for Education Summit (GAFE), two years after my initial one, and having already published heaps of student/teacher content on YouTube, I was looking for a few new ways to use Google Apps with my students. The presenters gave me several  ideas, like teaching visual text with Google Drawing, or using Annotations to create interactive videos, which we immediately starting doing (part one and part two). One of my favorite takeaways, however, had been sitting in front of me for years, and I never took advantage of it: the audio feature of YouTube video editor.

It’s simple to use and can quickly enhance any video you publish. This screen shot gives you a glimpse of what you’ll see when you open the audio feature. The powerful part is in the bottom right corner…more than 150,000 songs to choose from (especially nice for those who are tired of the same dozen iMovie jingles).


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After choosing a track, you can adjust the volume level and position when you want the music to start. Here is a four minute tutorial I made for my students on how it works:



You can see some examples in the homophone game we’ve made (more on that later) and the digital story my after-school class is creating (wait until the ends of the videos).



If you’ve been publishing teacher/student videos for a while, or even if you’re getting started, I would recommend experimenting with this feature. There are a couple of drawbacks: for example, you can only choose music after publishing (not while creating the videos), and you can’t finely tweak the volume level (I’m afraid the music might drown out some of my students’ voices). But it’s a low time-cost, it’s fun, and adding music really takes the videos to another level of quality.

Digital Choose Your Own Adventure Story (update)

It’s been a couple of months since I first wrote about the idea of having students use YouTube annotations to create a Choose Your Own Adventure Story. The group working on this only meets for an hour a week, so the progress is coming gradually, but before we publish I can discuss the process. We are in “bells and whistles” mode, so hopefully the final story will be done soon.

Writing Process

Story Board and Illustrations

The first thing we did was discuss story ideas. We brainstormed and chose a beginning, but a branching story has room for almost every idea. Spoiler alert: our final story will have bears, yetis, wobbly bridges, piranhas, mountain climbing, cliff jumping, fighting, trespassing, fairies, prison, and more things I can’t remember. We didn’t map out the entire thing, but we decided that our story would start with a girl entering the forest to pick berries. She comes to a fork in the road and chooses which way to go. Adventure ensues.

Each segment of the story is less than a minute, so we used a simple graphic organizer to plan the words and pictures. When the scripts were finished, the students created small color pictures and then got out the technology.

A Rough Plan of our Branching Story

iMovie (ipads)

The movies were created on iPad minis. The mobile version of iMovie is simple and easy to use compared to the desktop version, which is a bonus when working with younger students (these were 3rd and 4th graders, but I think K-2 could pull it off with help). The students snapped photos of their drawn pictures, and then they recorded the story. Simple.

Doodlecast Pro

This is my favorite iPad app and what we used for vocabulary videos and math tutorials. For the digital stories, we used the screencast so we could have at least one digital picture and to use the cursor to direct the viewer where to click. Check the end of any video for an example.

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When the Doodlecasts were finished, we saved them to the iPad camera roll and then imported them into iMovie (a 10 second process).

YouTube Annotations

The videos were published from iMovie to YouTube, where the students linked videos together using annotations. I’ve written about YouTube Annotations before, but the interesting thing is that YouTube released “cards” in the last two weeks, which we may add to the videos soon. I need to research a little more, but basically, annotations don’t work on mobile devices, and cards are YouTube’s solution to this problem. I’ll write about it after experimenting a little more, but it was simple to add a card to our latest math video.

Adding Music

This is our first time to use the “audio” feature of YouTube video editor. This warrants a post of its own, coming soon, but I will quickly say that my students were able to effectively add music to their videos in a short amount of time. Watch this video until the 23 second mark to see how it sounds:

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Finishing Up

So that’s where we are now. I hope that we’ll be done after a couple more classes. I’m looking forward to sharing their finished product soon.