You may be thinking this article is about the ins and outs of living at college in a dorm. Or you may be thinking it has something to do with snowboarding.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), this article is actually about a teaching tool called StoryboardThat.

StoryboardThat storyboarding website

StoryboardThat is a free (freemium version allows you to create two storyboards per week), quick, and easy way to create storyboards.  What is a storyboard?  Well, according to, a storyboard is “a panel or panels on which a sequence of sketches depict the significant changes of action and scene in a planned film, as for a movie, television show, or advertisement.”  A storyboard can be very useful when trying to engage students in thinking through the flow of a story or a great way for students to be creative with their stories.  And, it can help to communicate an idea via a story enabling students to visualize it themselves.

StoryboardThat even provides a resource of curated storyboards on a wide range of topics that is easily searched by tags.  You can find storyboards that range from Shakespeare to the Hunger Games (you can also scroll to the bottom of the homepage and find a listing of categories of storyboards).  So, if you are wanting to present a topic in a new and different way to engage your students, then just go to their curated storyboards and see if someone has already created a storyboard so you won’t have to.

You can communicate your storyboard by printing it, exporting it as an image, exporting it directly into PowerPoint, embedding it into a webpage, or sharing it with others through email, Facebook, or Twitter.

The next time you are looking for another way of helping your students visualize a topic, then you might want to just StoryboardThat.


Making it easy to create video

There’s a growing need for faculty to create video content quickly and easily. There are a lot of potential use cases.

  • Flipping your class by having students watch a video before coming class
  • Answering student questions in a visual medium to enhance understanding
  • Creating content for distance education
  • Making training videos

Unfortunately right now this is a pretty complex process. It requires studio space, a videographer, complex editing tools, specialized lighting, etc. Additionally the turn around times can be lengthy. Right now there’s no good solution and no good system in place to help us provide this service to faculty. So we built our beta lightboard back in March with the hopes that people would see it and get excited about it. We Love Bright Ideas! It had the desired effect. The College of Science was all over it. We’re in the process of helping them build a full scale version and we hope to have it operational by July 1. Unfortunately that may not meet the needs of everyone. It’s also not currently the most user friendly setup and will require some handholding for users.

Enter the Penn State One Button Studio!

  • You plug in a flash drive and the system turns on.
  • You hit a button and the system starts recording.
  • You give your presentation.
  • You hit the button when you’re done.
  • The file is automatically saved to the flash drive as an mp4 which you can upload to Sakai, YouTube, Kaltura, etc.

We’re starting to take a look at this now because we feel it meets most of the requirements for video creation. It’s one of those 98% solutions. It may not be perfect for everyone but if it’s good for you, it’s really easy and really good. Look for more later this summer!

Got Brain Activity Update

We ran an experiment yesterday with the Neurosky Mindwave Mobile Headset and used the Puzzlebox Orbit helicopter for a portion of the experiment.  Our goal was to better understand how the headset worked with live participants in an experiment situation.  We are still gathering the data at this time, but will publish the unscientific results on this blog in the near future.

Our experiment consisted of 3 separate tasks set to test whether certain activities would enhance the attention/focus of the participants.  Each task involved a memory test (the word test) and two of the tasks had brainwave information recorded for the participants using NeuroSky’s Recorder app.  We used the iPad for each task — two of those tasks were for recording brainwave data and the other for operating the Orbit helicopter.

We found five willing participants who had never used the Neurosky headset nor the Orbit helicopter.  So, for our N=5, we won’t be able to derive too much from the results, but we will be able to learn how to set up experiments for the headset and helicopter in the future which will be invaluable.

So, stay tuned for our unscientific results!

3D Camcorder

Movies, television and even video games are actively pursuing 3D capabilities. How could a 3D camcorder change field research like archeology and architecture?

Sixth Sense

“‘SixthSense‘ is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.”


Light Blue Optics Light Touch

Light Touch™ is an interactive projector that instantly transforms any flat surface into a touch screen. It frees multimedia content from the confines of the small screen, allowing users to interact with that content just as they do on their hand held devices – using multi-touch technology.”