|The Media Center|
of a Curriculum:
Yes, You Can Manage iMovie Projects with 170 Kids!
|by Mary Alice Anderson • Lead Media Specialist, Winona Middle School, Winona, Minnesota|
|MultiMedia Schools • September 2002|
Kim Penrod, a former German
teacher with an interest and expertise in technology, was recruited to
teach the class. I was excited about working with Kim; we were Library
of Congress American Memory fellows in 1999; I knew we'd make a good team
as she implemented the revamped curriculum.
Planning Curricular Updates
The 12-week course has three
major units: digital photo editing, video production using Apple's iMovie,
and completing a multimedia portfolio. Clay Animation, Inspiration, and
PowerPoint are used for two smaller projects. We reserved equipment and
spaces months ahead to ensure availability. Careful scheduling was critical,
as 170 students are enrolled in each of two trimesters. Our school operates
on a modified block schedule; students meet every other day for 80 minutes
and have ample time for intensive hands-on experience. We purchased more
hardware, software, and assorted computer and audiovisual supplies, including
memory for our 128K iMacs. We set up workstations in our media center's
labs, instructional classroom, and video production area.
Ready, Set, Go with Hands-On Projects
Digital Photo Editing
The digital photography project combines a mix of fun, information literacy, and a correlation with the geography curriculum. Students take pictures of each other with a still digital camera, import the picture into Adobe Photo Deluxe, cut away the background, and finally superimpose their own picture on a picture of a scene from Asia. Their edited picture becomes the front of a postcard they create with ClarisWorks or Appleworks. They create a postcard stamp with ClarisWorks, draw and write a note home to Mom and Dad about the sites they saw on their trip to Asia. Students find the information to write to Mom and Dad, as well as pictures found in World Book Online Encyclopedia. They are required to use note-taking forms, turn in their notes, and cite the source for both the notes and the pictures. Student creativity comes through in the projects; my favorites were a student who placed herself walking with Afghan refuges and another who rode Japan's bullet train James Bond style.
The Capstone Portfolio
Starting in sixth grade, all middle-school students are required to save specific projects in their personal server space for eventual incorporation into a multimedia portfolio showcasing their work. Compiled with HyperStudio, the portfolio includes samples of word processing, spreadsheets and graphs, a database, a sixth grade HyperStudio project, their digital postcard, samples of other technology projects of their choice, and a reflection on their work with technology. Most are appreciative of the opportunities they have to use technology and recognize its value as a life skill.
The portfolio project, their final project in the class, is technically easy for most students, whose skills are considerably more advanced than we anticipated when we developed the project 4 years ago. The challenge is to produce a consistent, mature-looking portfolio and write a thoughtful reflection about experiences with technology. Those who complete the requirements have opportunities to work with more advanced special effects.
The most exciting component of the class is learning to use iMovie. First-trimester students filmed and edited scenes of life at Winona Middle School; the final edit is the orientation video for this fall's new students. Second-trimester students worked on topics supplied by Apple's iMovie Film Festival: Teach Me Something, Make Me Laugh, Tell Me a Story, plus the Yearbook Trailer, which was modified to become an eighth grade farewell, and broadcast building-wide the last day of school.
Kim required the proper
steps of planning, storyboarding, script writing, and, finally, viewing
the iMovie tutorial. Sounds logical, but too often those essential ingredients
are ignored by both teachers and students. Atomic Learning's Video Storytelling
Guide was a helpful resource. Chris, the "video guy" with a local television
company, was a guest speaker and provided guidance. It was nice for the
kids to hear from a professional. Kim found planning to be the easiest
part of the class, saying, "They do all the work; I just supervise and
guide." Students read from children's books and do mock interviews as part
of their screen test. After they watch themselves they decide if they'd
like to be talent, a director, or camera operator.
The Most Fun? The Most Difficult?
Collaboration in Action
The revised curriculum was undoubtedly an exciting challenge for all of us. The students benefited from exposure to more digital possibilities and insight into future careers. This year we hope to do more broadcasting throughout the school; the local television company would like more student-produced and school-produced video to show on the air. We'd like to add more work with digital photos and have students use Apple's iPhoto. The Capstone portfolio requirements need to be more challenging and stringent. We also need to increase the correlation with career education to meet the tech education requirements of the course and to strengthen copyright awareness.
It's rewarding to see a
curricular desire become reality and to know our media/technology program
has an ongoing role in curricular changes.
Mary Alice Anderson is a frequent contributor to professional journals, a conference presenter, and an adjunct instructor in the College of Education at Winona State University. The Winona Middle School Media/Technology Program has received both state and national recognition and awards. She is also the lead media specialist for the Winona Area Public Schools and was a Library of Congress American Memory Fellow in 1999. The Winona Middle School Web site can be accessed at http://winona.k12.mn.us/wms/index.html. Communications to the author may be addressed to Mary Alice Anderson, Media Specialist, Winona Middle School, 1570 Homer Road, Winona, MN 55987; e-mail: email@example.com.
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