Celebrating December Holidays Digitally

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 12.57.59 AMPart of the Cool Sites series and Mobile Learning category

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Tis the season to be jolly, especially with multimedia web tools and apps. Children, adolescents, and teens can create very meaningful gifts for friends, peers, and family members or discover how others around the world celebrate. Below are recommended free apps, tools, and ideas for getting your learners to create digitally.  These tools integrate images, audio, text, video and more. Many of these apps have the ability for users to share their creations through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, on their blogs, or email! More ideas and resources are listed in my presentation, Celebrating December Holidays with Learners!

Host a Skype or HangOut Session

  • Connect with another class virtually and teach each other songs, carols, finger chants, or rhymes
  • Host how-to sessions about traditions or recipes
  • Interview experts
  • Have an author read a holiday story. Find available authors at Skype an Author
  • Find classes to connect with on Skype for Education

Make a Digital Book

Students have the opportunity to create digital books for their siblings, relatives, peers, or younger students. Consider having your students adopt a younger class and create books for them. Then, you could host a meet-up in which they get to read the books to the younger students. Try these free web tools for creating books, StoryBirdZooburst or Little Bird Tales or the free IOS app, BookCreator Lite. Students can create recipe books focused on favorite foods, traditional foods, foods safe for those with a certain allergy or diet. They can create a book of prayers or blessings for their parents, a book starring their siblings, or take the family scrapbook and make it digital so it lasts forever.

Create a Game

Students can create personalized learning games for peers or family members. They can even add their own images. Try these free tools, Zondle, Stencyl, Scratch, or Adventure Games or create a game easily on the iPad with these free apps, TinyTap and Game Press.

Celebrate with Music

Students can modernize the lyrics to the 12 days of Christmas or any holiday song, then create a music video. Try the free IOS app Video Star.

Send a Holiday Greeting

Students can send a special greeting either through video, with personalized pictures, or with a holiday e-card. Some are equipped with Christmas and Hanukkah backgrounds and extras!

  • Holiday Video by Vlix (I-friendly)- Students can create a personalized video greeting up to 60 seconds. Choose from 17 holiday video effects, 16 holiday music tracks, various fonts and color, upload your own photos, and share on Facebook, YouTube, email, or your vlix feed.
  • Buncee– Students can use this web tool and IOS app to create multimedia presentations, comics, and animated greetings. Buncee has a large library of stickers, backgrounds, audio, images, animation, and videos.
  • Animoto  (Android/I-friendly)- Upload up to 10 images, choose a soundtrack from the library (many nice holiday tunes to choose from, and click a button to make a 30-second video. Sync your videos with your Animoto.com account, download videos for offline viewing, and make longer ones with an All-Access Pass. Sign up for an educator account to create longer videos for free.
  • Fotobabble– Quickly create and easily share talking photos in 3 steps (Snap or select or a photo, speak into the microphone to record audio, share with friends via email, Facebook or Twitter). You do get various holiday themed backgrounds. Example– Here’s Rosco, my pug’s holiday card to you!

  • Disco Santa Video Card– This is only compatible with the iPad 2 but students create a video of themselves with friends dancing with a Christmas monster then email the video.
  • RedStamp (IOS/Android)- send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates in the spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas and upload your photos
  • A Card for That (Android)-send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates and the ability to personalize

Talking Holiday Apps

Students speak to these characters and they repeat the words back in a funny voice. You can have students send holiday greetings, come up with their gift wish lists, create a modern version of Christmas songs like the 12 days of Christmas, sing a holiday chant or song or record a Christmas poem, video, joke, or rhyme.

  • Talking Santa (Android version)– Students talk to Santa and he repeats their words. They can poke, swipe or tickle him and he reacts. They can also send video Christmas cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Santa 3D HD (iPad)– Students talk to Santa and he repeats their words. He does 10 different poses, dances ballet, plays snowball and gives special gifts like a Superman as well as candy. They can also send video Christmas cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Santa Meets Ginger (Android version)– Students talk to Santa and he repeats their words to Ginger the mischievous cat. Ginger tickles/kicks Santa, pulls off his beard, puts a finger up his nose, sets his hat on fire, and more. They can also send video cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Gremlin (I-friendly)– students talk to the Christmas  Gremlin and he repeats their words in a funny voice. They can also interact with him to make him do funny things and create/send video cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Gingerbread Man (I-friendly) students talk to the Gingerbread Man and he repeats their words in a funny voice. They can also interact with him to make him do funny things and create/send video cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.

Challenge:
Try any of these ideas with your students and blog about the experience!

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