Friday, March 19, 2010

Movie Makers for ANYONE

I am surely one of the most avid movie watchers among my my personal or professional acquaintances. I remember being mesmerized by the animations and sound of Disney's The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I was awestruck when I went to see James Cameron's Titanic on my 18th Birthday. Who wasn't, right? This year the animation techniques on the big screen kicked it up yet another notch. A big notch with Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen and again with James Cameron's Avatar. I thought the Harry Potter series was pretty impressive, but I have been continually astounded. I am new to learning about computer apps ( or apps we LIS folk call them) and I have no interest in downloading them to my non-touch phone. Not until however, I found out a friend of mine from high school developed an app. He actually developed several apps for the Apple IPhone. Pretty impressive I think. What I then began to think about was how can I use apps to make a movie or movies for my students? I am a social studies teacher (licensed, but not working full-time) and an aspiring librarian, and I have a good feeling that certain computer animation applications can really be life changing for me and my students. For my LIS 565 class, I attended an Online Conference at the K12 Online 2009 Educators' site. . Part of this online conference included dynamic ways to introduce your students to movie making. These movies can part of class projects, portfolios, teacher instruction, book trailers, anything that may help the students connect with a certain topic or concept. In Joyce Valenza's presentation "The Wizard of Apps", I learned about two great sites: and Voice Thread . Both sites are free and offer unique ways to produce movies and pod casts using different production techniques. For someone like me who is not yet able to create an animated movie, these sites provide tutorials, templates, troubleshooting, and examples as to how to create a movie or podcast. As an educator, I know the best way to engage a student, help them learn, and assess their skills is to have them teach another person what they have learn. AHA! Why not have them put their skills and knowledge to use and have them teach the whole class what they have learned by creating a short movie? At the xtranormal site, they offer you a wide variety of formats and character options that would allow you to story tell or teach about anything! I actually used this site to make a book trailer about the book, "The Shack" by William Paul Young. If these sites can take the technical work out of the project for me, think of how we can use these tools in our classrooms and libraries. Sometimes teaching skills about library, technology, and information can really eat into instructional time. A format like this would allow students a greater degree of flexibility for managing their time and talent. I will continue to explore these incredible applications to make my future classroom and dynamic learning environment.

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