Assessment, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Video

Lumen 5 – Great tool to recommend to your students for their video projects

I love video projects.  I think they are one of the best ways to get students to let loose their creativity and focus on delivering information in a succinct manner.  In addition, creating a video forces the students to plan and to spend more time with the material than writing a paper.  Lastly, communicating via video is a digital literacy skill that all students should have.  My favorite video projects require the students to deliver information in a short amount of time (1-4 min) as most people don’t want to watch a video much longer than that.  These projects can be public service announcements, commercials, video infographics, presentations, etc.

However, I know that many of you aren’t comfortable assigning a project like this because you don’t want to put the students in a position where they have to learn a complicated program to create these.  This is where Lumen5 comes in!

I wish I could remember which faculty member told me about this tool but I want to thank them.  Lumen5 is a semi-free video creation tool that is perfect for video projects or asynchronous presentations.

What’s the Cost?

Let’s get this out of the way first.  From what I can tell, it’s free, as long as you don’t need more than 3 videos a month.  If students are using this for a project then this probably won’t be an issue.
Screenshot of the pricing from the Lumen website

How Does It Work?

It’s so easy.

  1. Create a free login
  2. Click Create
  3. Choose how you want to create your video.  Either Start with a URL, a script, or your own material OR scroll down and use one of the templates
    screenshot of start page
    screenshot of the templates pageOR  Choose via the format you wantscreenshot of the Sizes page OR  Choose the theme you want
    screenshot of the theme page

Next, Start Creating!

Screenshot of the initial screen with the storyboard to the right and the tools to the left
Lumens5 provides free layouts, videos, images and music.  You can also change your layout and theme at any time.

In addition, you can upload your own videos or images and do voiceovers.

When finished, click Publish and your video will download to your computer.


I made a quick video from a blog post and couldn’t believe how easy it was!  I just added the blog post url and it did the rest.


Check out Lumen5 Today and Share it With Your Students!


Adobe Voice
instructional technology, iPad, Mobile, Presentation, Share, Video

Make Professional Looking Voice Stories with Adobe Voice

“Adobe Voice is a free iPad app that helps you create stunning animated videos in minutes.”  Just “pick from over 25,000 beautiful iconic images to show your ideas (or choose from photos on your tablet).” Record your voice over the images, one image at a time.  “Set the mood with a musical soundtrack and choose the perfect look with just one tap. Watch your story automatically come alive with cinema-quality animation and share it with anyone online.”

As I started exploring Adobe Voice I was impressed by how easy it was to use but I wasn’t sure what I would use it for.  However, the more I played with it the more I realized that it has an enormous number of uses.  Adobe Voice allows you to create a slideshow of sorts with icons, Creative Commons images, and text.  You then add your voice to each “slide” as narration.  Finally you embellish your project using themes that control the font, color, and transitions of your slides and background music to set the tone of the project.  When your project is complete you share it by clicking on the Publish button and can easily publish it to the Adobe Cloud as well as social media, email and text.

Student Uses Faculty Uses
Create a biography/autobiography
Create how-to videos
Recount a story
Create an oral history
Promote an event
Create a public service announcement
Promote an idea
Tell what happened
Teach a lesson
Record a lecture
Create a personal introduction
Recount a story
Introduce a new subject
Summarize a chapter


What I liked was how easy it was to use.  I also like that it uses Creative Commons images and free music so copyright is not a problem.  The sharing is super easy and the fact that you can share them privately is also very important when working with student projects.

What some may like less is that you can’t add any video.  This isn’t a deal breaker for me and I know that it’s kind of outside the intended purpose of this app.  The fact that you can’t use it without an Adobe ID is a bit of a drag for K12 (esp. K8) students.  Not everyone wants their students to get these types of accounts. There may be a workaround for this but I didn’t investigate it further.  The think that bothered me the most was the lack of ability to make basic changes to the project such as placement and font.  I know for many this could be seen as a positive because it makes it easier to use and a bit more universal but if you are pretty tech savvy and like to control a lot of items in a project this isn’t the app for you.  You can’t control the placement of the image or text boxes nor can you control font or alignment within the boxes.  Again, not a deal breaker, just something to be aware of.

All in all I think this is a great, FREE, app to use as both a student or a teacher.  Unfortunately, at this time it is only for iOS devices and I’m not sure if there is an Android version on the horizon.

Price:  Free
Platform:  iOS only

App Location:

Dr. Kelley Mayer White
1-1-1, Assessment, Collaboration, Faculty Technology Institute, instructional technology, Mobile, Presentation, TLT, Video

Guest Post: Comparison of two video projects in an undergrad and a grad class

Today our guest blogger is Dr. Kelley White, Assistant Professor in Teacher Education.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the summer 2013 FTI (Faculty Technology Institute).  It was a great experience for many reasons.  I met and collaborated with new colleagues and learned about several new tools that could enhance my teaching and research.  Based on what we learned about video projects, I decided to require students in two different courses to create videos as part of their final projects in the course.  In both classes, students were required to choose a topic of interest, read research on the topic and write an annotated bibliography.  Then, they were to choose an audience (parents, children, elementary school teachers, or community members) and create a video to share what they learned about the topic in a meaningful way.  I used a similar assignment in the past, but often simply required students to present their work using PowerPoint for the final presentation.  After seeing what other colleagues had done with video, I thought using video might challenge my students to present their work in a more creative way. I was particularly interested in how they would create the video with specific consideration of the audience they selected. A majority chose to make videos for parents or teachers, but I had one create a video for young children.

As far as tools go, I gave the students the choice of using iMovie, MovieMaker, VoiceThread or Splice, but a majority of the students chose to use iMovie. Honestly, I did not provide a whole lot of support to them in class in regards to use of technology or in creating the videos beyond providing them with a rubric. I did make myself available for individual meetings if needed, but very few requested them.  The majority of the rubric focused on evaluation of video content, implications and consideration of audience, but I also evaluated creativity, editing and video construction. Looking back though, the rubric needed to be much more specific in differentiating levels of quality in regards to “good editing” and “smooth transitions.” It’s also important to note that this criteria was worth only 15% of the grade on the project so it may have needed to become a more significant portion of the grade in order for students to better understand its importance.

As mentioned previously, I used different versions of this project in both a freshman class and a graduate course. In the freshman course, students worked collaboratively to create the videos.  In the graduate course, it was an individual assignment and the requirements for topic selection, length of video, annotated bibliography and sources were more rigorous.  As you might expect, the projects were fairly different in quality. The freshmen did not seem to be as concerned with quality of the video.  Several had major problems with audio and transitions. Whereas it was obvious that most of the graduate students spent a good deal of time editing and polishing their work.  The graduate students were also much more thoughtful in their consideration of audience and in how they integrated research and theory.

If I were to do this again, I would provide more support across the semester to the freshmen in particular.  I would require them to check in with me at least once prior to the end of the semester with a detailed plan for the video. Perhaps, requiring them to plan their video using a storyboard and incorporate it into their grade. I also would take more time to better review my expectations for quality of the video (beyond what I included on the rubric), show more examples, and spend more time in class teaching them how to appropriately edit.  Finally, I would also consider requiring use of a specific tool (Splice, for example) so we could troubleshoot and discuss video construction and quality together as a class.  Overall, it was a good experience for me and for the students and I would definitely try it again.

Rubric available upon request