Sunday, March 6, 2011

Culminating Experiences: Tips on creating videos with your students

Considering a culminating experience in which your students can demonstrate what they have learned? How about involving your students in creating, directing and producing their own educational video or slide show? Sound overwhelming? It doesn't have to be. You can make your video using iMovie, Windows Movie Maker or other movie software such as Pinnacle Studio, as I used for the Habitat video above.
     If the task is still daunting, or you, like most teachers, are short on time, opt for my favorite: the quick, user friendly Animoto movie and slideshow creator. Just upload your video and still images, add in some text and let Animoto do the rest. Animoto will email you the completed movie in a matter of minutes.The best part is, educator accounts are free and teachers are given a special code for students to use. 
     You can see an example of how I used Animoto to create a book trailer on a previous post. This entire book trailer video took me less than 20 minutes to complete. And speaking of book trailers, consider having students create their own book trailers as a visual for a book report. The beauty of the video project is that it requires students to collaborate with each other as they apply what they have learned.  It can be used across all content areas with students of all ages. Here are a few tips to get you started:
  • Write down your curriculum goals for this project (to keep everyone on task) and collaborate!  
  • Use a combination of still images and short video segments. You can use your own images or select from available images on the web. Just be sure to check for copyrights on any images that aren't your own. Look for a creative commons license for free-use images.
  • Involve the students in planning the video. Ask questions like: What do we want our viewers to learn from our video? What are the most important parts and how can we capture that on film?
  • Assign students roles including videographers, photographers, keyboard operators, actors and narrators.
  • Keep the final product short -- less than one minute to five minutes max.
  • Have fun! Invite parents to an afternoon matinĂ©e viewing of the student created movies showcasing what they have learned. Don't forget the popcorn!

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