One of the great benefits of having technology in our classrooms is the potential for engagement it offers. As teachers, keeping students hooked through a whole year is one of our biggest challenges, especially when they have all sorts of distractions to take their attention away from school. My best advice has always been to use the distractions for our own educational purposes, and I’m pleased to share another way of doing that. It’s quick and fun, and could fit into any project or lab in your classroom.
Making a video for school has always been a fun type of project but the biggest problem is that the product is usually miserable due to the amount of time students need to put into actually organizing the shooting, editing, and scripting of the movie. With the advent of mobile cameras, this is no longer an issue. Every student has a potential movie in their hands, and over the past two years, great software has been released to create that movie. My two favorites are Vine and Cinemagram. Vine is a social networking type of site that allows users to create looping video (vines). They upload and share the videos using the Vine app and can embed these videos in a website or share them with whomever they please. Cinemagram is extremely similar except that it restricts video length to four seconds. This might seem like a bad thing, however the four second clip length actually forces a lot of thought out of video makers, since their content needs to fit into four seconds. My preference is Vine, because the app is beautiful, but both are great services.
Actually implementing these tools in your classroom is a synch. First, tell the students to download whichever app from their App Store. Second, provide them their video making assignment. Third, and this is the important part, make sure to develop some sort of routine of how these are submitted to you. I prefer that students just email me their links with their names, but for some it might be hard to keep track of. Last, make sure you give your kids enough time to complete the project. I suggest at least one class period to think about their movie, and then the normal amount of time you would give for a project. Easy and effective, my favorite type of technology.
Now that the setup is out of the way, let’s talk about the exciting part. Remember that the key part of video as an artistic medium is the inherent ability to share it with a lot of people. Give students video projects that they’ll want to share. Here are a few ideas:
- A video of students adhering to/breaking a lab safety rule
- A short comic about matter and one of its physical properties
- A video of any lab demonstration
- A video log of any family trip to a school related venue, like a museum
- A day in the life of any historical figure
- A video of a lab demonstration they could do at home
- A compilation of survey footage about a local town issue
- Reflect on a field trip in real time
- A silent movie demonstrating any topic or historical events
The list could go on and on! Remember to make it fun and something the kids will want to share, and their creativity and energy will do the rest. If you decide to make any Vines this year, we’d love to see them!
We’ll be going on a weeklong hiatus from the blog for summer break. When we get back, however, it’s going to be an exciting time for Slate & Tablets. We’ll be releasing Planner to Greenwich High School and putting it on sale for any school to order! See you soon.