Sunday, September 5, 2010

Google Search Stories Video Creator

Hyper. Linked.

Imagine thoughts exploding in all directions.

Like my lunch.

I put an egg in the microwave for one minute. An impressive boom sounded and I ended up with a crater in my egg, (a mess to clean), and a lead for my blog. I love the speed of the microwave and Internet.

I used Google Search Stories Video Creator with two 5th grade classes that came to the library for 45 minutes. I showed them three videos: Toy Story, Monster Cookie, and Zombie Apocalypse. The students had a blast with this lesson and didn’t want to stop. There were a few bumps along the way but we sure had fun!

The lesson involved creating a video based on the books we had discussed in the previous library lesson. Students chose groups of two or three and used one computer per group. A couple of times the students lost their Internet connection and the story disappeared. Not good. Most remembered what they typed so the frustration level remained low. Another glitch in the lesson was that we couldn’t publish the stories to YouTube. I was hoping students could use their Google Apps account but that didn’t work. I tried a generic account on Gmail and that didn’t work either. I had a hunch that the school filter or Norton’s was interfering with the download. I grabbed a video camera and taped their stories. That seemed to satisfy everyone. Luckily I get to teach the same lesson five times so I went home and was able to link a YouTube account to the generic Google Account.  I posted an example on YouTube and showed it to the second 5th grade class. Everything was going well with no Internet connections lost and we posted 3 videos.

Or so I thought.

Google Story Creator said it was successful but when we looked on YouTube they weren’t there. I quickly told students to upload their videos and then leave the computers. I took their videos and used an online converter program saving them to a flash drive from their computers. I imported one of the videos to Corel Video Studio and there was no sound. I copied the file to my hard drive but still no sound. Perhaps it’s the MPEG extension that Corel doesn’t like? I’m starting to think that maybe I don’t want my egg to explode but will go back to cooking it on the stove in a format I know. Next, I went back to the online converter and converted the MPEG to an .avi file. That worked, but the quality was reduced.

Here’s a video of lesson.

With the first class I grabbed a video camera and it looks a little bit like an earthquake is happening but it’s my shaky hands. The second class is a downloaded and converted video. I produced it in an .flv. Is that the best format for a web page? Or is an .mp4 format better?


I really wanted students to tell something about the story. I didn’t always get that. Instead I got a list of characters in the story like on the Pokemon section of the video. I verbally told students that they need to have the title of the book, setting, main character, and tension, but I need to slow down this part of my lesson and write it on the whiteboard.  We did do one together but I must have gone too fast. I'll have to check more for understanding. I'll let you know how it goes.

P.S. I was putting in my hyperlinks and went to YouTube typing in TASlslibrary (the generic email account). Guess what! The videos were there. There must be a delay in the posting. Yeah! No more converting.


  1. Hi Barb,
    I came upon your blog post while searching for "students using Google Search Story." I'm considering using it with 8th graders, as a culminating activity related to a research assignment. It sounds like you encountered some tech glitches. Did everything work out in the end & would you recommend this application?
    East Woods School

  2. Yes, everything worked out in the end and I would recommend doing it. The students really enjoyed it and it works well as a review. Good luck!