This is technology week on EducationCloset!

We’re going to take a look at the variety of ways that technology can play a part in the arts integrated classroom.  I’m super excited about this week because a.) I LOVE technology – I grew up with it, I use it, I find that it helps me be the most efficient I can be and b.) my STUDENTS love technology!  Anything that engages my students and provides a work environment that allows them to truly learn is a must in my book.  As I’ve said before, it’s time to embrace the tools that our students love to use.

Not only that, but I just received and reviewed the new info coming out about Race to the Top.  A whole thick packet of info is all about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).  Personally, I think it should be called STEAM (add the Arts in there), but regardless – technology and arts integration can go hand in hand.

So today, I wanted to share why I heart iMovie.

iMovie is a software package found on Macs, but it’s equivalent for Windows machines is either Animoto or Movie Edit.  Personally, I’m a Mac girl all the way – I used to hate them, but have found in the last 5 years that they are super user friendly.  However, if you/your school prefer to use Windows machines, then Animoto or Movie Edit offer comparable movie editing software (just substitute this for iMovie within this post).  The point, however, is to USE it!

I find that iMovie helps me to truly engage my students by offering them the ability to manufacture their own learning.  By this I mean that when students create and produce a video on a topic, a performance, or as a lesson for another class, they are using both areas of the brain simultaneously and creating deeply embedded connections within their neural pathways.  Thus, as the teacher, I simply become the facilitator.  I guide them through the process of learning, therein allowing the students to engage in the act the learning. This is huge towards creating 21st century learners.  When students arrive in the workforce, they will no longer be given a list of tasks to create.  They will need to manufacture their own tasks to solve the problems that we have yet to know.

So….how do I use iMovie to do all of that??  Here’s a few quick ways that I’ve used iMovie to help my students become independent learners/thinkers:

1.) Film my students during a performance/class and then have them watch it back, unedited.

This provides students with the necessary reflection time to process what they actually did.  Often, students have a way of just remembering one or two special moments (usually positive) that happened within the performance or the class.  Instead, by watching themselves and their classmates, they get a better idea of the overall picture, evaluate their role within the team and have a better idea of an honest assessment of their own work.  This is a very passive way to use the technology, but a great tool nonetheless!

2.) By having the students create and edit a movie about a topic.

This does a multitude of things: engages students in researching topics for accuracy and to communicate information effectively, teaches social skills (don’t pick your nose in front of the camera!), encourages collaboration, enhances reflection and critical assessment skills, works on summative and formative learning and assessment, and culminates as a product within a project-based learning lesson.  These movies are usually much more in-depth and connective than a paper or report and more engaging for the students (and myself!) to watch.

3.) Letting students teach a lesson.

We want our students to become independent learners and to develop leadership skills within a safe environment.  This provides them opportunities for both of these skills.  Students will learn more deeply and with richer cross-connections by teaching others than by simply sitting and allowing us to fill up their minds.  iMovies grant them the opportunity to learn a topic well enough that they can then teach it to their peers.

I usually allow students to get into peer groups and assign them a topic to research and create a lesson using iMovie.  These are on-going throughout the year.  Students can come in during recess/study hall to record their lessons and work on editing.  Then, rather than teach another class the same lesson I just taught an hour ago, I pop in the DVD of their peers teaching the lesson topic instead.  This immediately grabs my class’ attention and they learn so much more.  It’s a win-win for everyone!

I hope these ideas spurred some of your own to use movie-recording software in your teaching!

The school year is quickly coming to a close – why not try one of these ideas and see if it’s something you’d like to explore further next year?  Do you already have ways that you use movie editing in your classroom?  Please share with us!  And, if you’re looking for even more ideas like these, consider taking the online arts integration class this summer – we’ll be covering this in more depth week 2!  Happy movie-making!