Sunday, March 15, 2009

Film on the Fly

At ITSC this year, and in talking with Dennis Grice and Wesley Fryer, I learned about a cell phone movie-making competition called Film on the Fly.

I arranged with some of my middle school students to meet me at the school on Saturday morning, and we worked through lunch to edit a little video. First of all we spent some time fooling around with our cell phones, getting bluetooth working, trying out and K7 as methods for getting audio from the phones, etc.

All the photos were taken with our cell phones!

Here is our end-product:

Cell Phone to MP3

Like many of my peers, I have used Gabcast as a tool to generate mp3 files from phone calls. It's been a great resource, to have a toll-free number that students can call from any phone, and then their voice becomes an mp3 file that is ready to become a podcast episode or a component in a classroom video, or whatever. With so many high-quality microphones (in the form of cell phones and land lines) around, why not use them?!

But as of March 1st, Gabcast is no longer most-favored for classroom use:
Purchase minutes? Wha? When free services become for-cost services, most educators look for the "exit" sign. And I'm no exception.

So I found two good options for capturing voice: K7 and

This is the answering machine I've been using for some time--I've just never used it for students to call. It's really, really easy to set up, and the results are pretty cool: You get a phone number with a Seattle area code that people can send faxes to or leave messages on. If they send a fax, it comes to my email. If they leave a voice message, it comes to my email as a WAV file.
My students were doing the Film on the Fly competition this weekend, and we had success getting voice files from cell phone to computer this way.

I love my boxes! There's a post about in this blog from a while back, but I wasn't specific about what it can do with cell phones. Students can call a phone number and leave a message, and it becomes an mp3 available to everyone with access to the drop (which can be completely public or hidden behind a password). A cell phone can MMS (texting with pics or vids) to my email address, and the pics and vids show up instantly in the drop. From there they can be linked to, embedded, or downloaded. Gotta love it!