Saturday, June 1, 2013

7 Amazingly Easy Video Ideas for Capturing and Keeping Students' Attention

This is a blog By Kim Fortson I found on the Journal a website that is dedicated to transforming education through technology. The title is the link to the actual article. I have copied it below for your convenience.  I strongly suggest visiting the website for additional resources.

7 Amazingly Easy Video Ideas for Capturing and Keeping Students' Attention

Keeping students attentive in the 21st century classroom is no easy feat. Sure, there's the buzzword--"engagement"--that pervades education technology rhetoric, but what does engagement really look like, and how do teachers achieve it? For veteran educators Dotty Corbiere, a math specialist at Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts, and Rushton Hurley, founder of the non-profit organization Next Vista for Learning and a former high school Japanese language teacher and principal, the answer is video.
"[Video] captures attention and learning. You can't learn anything unless you're paying attention," Hurley said.
Hurley's organization, Next Vista for Learning, is an online resource for digital media that curates videos from "ordinary" students and teachers (providing they meet a specific set of guidelines), organizes them, and makes them available for free. Hurley believes that through watching videos created by their peers, students will be challenged to think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of each video and apply this knowledge to developing their own content, in addition to learning valuable subject matter.
Corbiere, whose students create Stop-Action Movies (SAM) Animation to depict everything from life cycles to math poetry videos, gives her classroom "total license" when it comes to putting together projects; as long as students map out their idea first, they can use any materials they like to make the content come to life.
"The kids love it … when they get going, they want to do their best. If that figure doesn't come out right or that scene wasn't quite perfect, they want to do it again," she said.
Starting a video project can be overwhelming, so THE Journal asked Corbiere and Hurley to share their favorite video ideas that capture students' attention--and keep it. Here's what they came up with:

1. The Digestive System with SAM Animation

"This is just a better way to teach the digestive system," Corbiere says of one of her favorite SAM Animation projects, conducted by fourth graders at Meadowbrook. For the project, students must learn the vocabulary and stages of the digestive system in order to convey the process through a series of animated scenes, which are filmed by snapping pictures in succession to elicit the effect of "a flipbook on steroids" and put together using the myCreate app from iCreate to Educate. The best results surface when students are allowed to unleash their imaginations--Corbiere cites one particular project where the group brought in real food and concluded their piece with a flushing toilet. She furthers the learning process by inviting the third graders to watch the final videos. "That was hysterical… they learned quite a bit just from watching them," she said.
Tools needed: Classroom materials (ie: model magic, pipe cleaners, stickers, Legos, construction paper), iPad, and myCreate app or document camera on Mac computer. 

2. Counting Poetry Videos with SAM Animation
In these wacky but clever videos, students script the characters in a "counting poem," a blend of math and verse that often twists the film's protagonist into a sticky situation. Like all SAM Animation projects, Corbiere appreciates the invaluable combination of technological and problem-solving skills with the learning of required curriculum students. She also praises the "collaboration and cooperation with others" and team work that goes into each SAM Animation project.
Tools needed: Classroom materials (ie: model magic, pipe cleaners, stickers, Legos, construction paper), iPad and myCreate app or document camera on Mac computer.

3. Have students discuss how they would explain their community to their peers.

Hurley believes one of the best ways to implement video in the classroom is to simply add it as on option for a project. "If you build it into the assignment, everyone will see what everyone else does. After a couple of iterations, everyone is doing a video because it can be so cool. It takes away the socio-dynamics of actually physically presenting in front of your peers," he said. He emphasizes that teachers need not necessarily know how to create their own content, but simply be open to exploring and sparking conversation. For this project he suggests asking students, "Beyond what might be tourist attractions, what makes the community a special place for them? What are the businesses where their parents work? What challenges does the community face? If making a video, what kind of visuals (images, footage), would they use to help someone from somewhere far away get to know the community?"
Tools needed: Any technology that comes with your device, from Microsoft Photo Story to the iPad to online video editing tools like, and

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