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Classroom Technology Tools
Recently, I started sharing about a few of the smartphone accessories I’ve been playing with to create video for social media. The goal is to get more classroom technology tools in my students’ hands to help prepare them for working in a professional social media environment.
I’ve received a few questions about the tools I’ve been using to make videos recently. And so an idea for a blog post was born!
There are lots of great classroom technology tools that you can implement to teach your students to create social media content, such as how I‘m having my students create content this semester for IGTV.
With social media and digital communication becoming increasingly multimedia, here’s my list of smartphone accessories – microphones, ring lights, tripods, selfie sticks and more – to juice up your video and audio production.
Smartphone Classroom Technology Teaching Tools
I have only listed smartphone accessories that I have personally used. However, deals on Amazon often shift and you may find cheaper or more appropriate tools for your needs.
Gimbals, Selfie Sticks, and Smartphone Tripods
Who doesn’t need a good selfie stick? They are so versatile and can be used for vlogging and photo shoots.
There are basic selfie sticks and those with features like lights. Some selfie sticks even double as tripods. Rather than buying a tripod and a selfie stick, you can get an all-in-one. Hey, you never know when you’ll want to go hands free.
The above selfie stick comes with a small LED light that can be charged via USB. It extends into a 43” max height tripod. It contains a Bluetooth controlled shutter button.
Selfie sticks you’ve heard of. But gimbals? Gimbals are great for recording motion or recording while in motion. They offer greater stabilization than holding the phone or camera in your hand or on a selfie stick. They offer an ability to smoothly pivot the phone or camera and are particularly good for video. However, they can be used for stills as well. A gimbal is a pricier tool and it comes with a little bit of a learning curve. But it is a fun tool to have in the arsenal.
Smartphone Ring Lights and Tripods
Ring lights come in all shapes and sizes, from selfie ring lights that clip onto your phone to tripods with ring lights for vlogging. It’s good to have a few setups.
The 10” ring light comes with a sturdy tripod that extends to a max 50”. It’s useful for students to conduct interviews, letting just about any location be quickly turned into a studio. This particular ring light lets you adjust the brightness and choose between white light, natural light, and warm light. The light is powered through a USB cable (power adapter not included).
Smaller, battery-powered ring lights can be clipped onto smartphones or computer video cameras to lighten up the speaker when doing video lectures or selfie photos and videos.
This clip-on selfie ring light comes with a USB cable for charging and has a few different light settings.
The audio quality on many smartphone microphones isn’t great once the speaker gets a few feet from the microphone. But bad audio is a turnoff and can hurt video view completion.
Different situations demand different microphones.
Lapel mics are great for ‘studio’ interviews. Single lapel units are great if only one person will be speaking. However, if you want to do an interview style, two lapel mics can be used by connecting them to the smartphone via a splitter. I’ve found that the cost isn’t much more and having the option is nice.
The above set comes with 2 mics, a splitter, an extension cord, and an adapter for DSLR and PCs. [See the video I recorded with this lapel mic]
A shotgun mic enables audio recording in more fluid situations, such as when walking or if doing a ‘person on the street’ interview. Shotgun mics are highly focused so they ‘point’ in a direction and pick up the sound in that direction, and don’t pick up sound to either side or behind very well. [See the video I recorded with this shotgun mic. You’ll note in the video that when I’m in front of the mic, the sound is excellent but when I’m behind it, the sound barely picks up].
This mic comes with a small tripod and a wind guard. But there are other options, such as handheld mics. I sort of wish we had gotten the handheld version.
Smartphone Microphone Adapters
Keep in mind that most smartphones today require an adapter to connect a standard earphone wire to the phone. For example, iPhones require a lightning adapter. Another adapter that is needed for a lot of phones is the USB type C. So, you’ll need to have the proper adapters to use most external microphones.
Wide Angle Lenses and Macro Lenses
Smartphone cameras can be easily modified with clip-on lenses. These lenses can allow you to take wide-angle shots, which are great for making things look bigger such as in a small room. Macro lenses enable greater detail in close up shots.
The top photo was taken with the wide angle lens linked above. The bottom photo was taken from the exact same location using my smartphone’s normal camera lens. As you can see, the wide angle lens gives a much fuller picture. Pretty darn cool, huh?
Free Social Media Classroom Software
Okay. So you’ve go the classroom technology tools to enhance your multimedia content for social. You’ve shot some great content. But now you need to edit it.
Here’s my list of editing software tools for the classroom. I have focused on free tools because I know classroom budgets are tight.
Free Audio Editing Software
Use these tools to edit audio for class podcasts or for background music or speech for slideshows, such as through Adobe Spark.
Social Media Image and Video Dimensions Resources
- Evergreen Social Media Image Dimensions Guide
- Evergreen Social Media Video Specs Guide
Free Software for Making Social Media Graphics
- Canva (website and app) – https://www.canva.com/
- Stencil – https://getstencil.com/
- Sprout Social’s list of 39 free tools for creating unique images – https://sproutsocial.com/insights/free-image-creation-tools/#design
Free Video Editing Software
- Adobe Spark (web and app) – https://spark.adobe.com/
- Kapwing (web) – https://www.kapwing.com/
- iMovie (Mac) – https://www.apple.com/imovie/
- Movie Creator (Windows 10) – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/movie-creator-free-video-editor/
Free sources for Stock Photos
Social Media Ad Mockup Tools
- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest – http://admocks.adparlor.com/
Facebook Creative Hub – https://www.facebook.com/ads/creativehub
Teaching social media today means doing more with multimedia than ever before. The above smartphone accessories can help get your class started with shooting higher quality photo and video. The best thing is, they are all easy to learn to use.
The software, should help get those ideas off of your students’ smartphone and onto your class client’s social media channels.