Chicago, Chicago

I spent two days working with students and teachers in my hometown last week. A great way to cheer up cold, gray, rainy days for me. Come on spring!

img_2428.jpgI’m really not in the rhythm of the school year anymore, so it was a pleasant surprise when I was contacted by a school to come back and help the 8th grade class create their memory DVD. Just 7 weeks til graduation? Last year we broke into teams who gathered pictures of their pertinent event (a sport, the Springfield trip, etc.), tweaked and organized them in iPhoto, imported to iMovie, and added titles and transitions before exporting as a DV clip. I then just assembled the clips into one master iMovie and exported that to a DVD for everybody. With a class set of laptops this year, I figured we could add some interviews and I could have the students take over the entire final production. Just a few minutes into my initial presentation I found out they were also beginning the process of making movie trailers for stories they had just written. Did I have any advice on how to go about that? Talk about waving a red flag in front of a bull! Thankfully, the teacher of the following class was sympathetic to my zeal and the students’ enthusiasm and gave us an extra ten minutes to finish up our initial foray into memory movies and movie trailers. One obstacle though, half the laptops only had the newest version of iMovie. “A house divided…” There are some neat things that have been added in that iteration, but more that has been lost. Remember you can download the previous version from Apple and then have the best of both worlds with both programs.

img_2436.jpgOn Saturday I headed to a school just a few miles north of where I grew up and spent the day doing “Lights, Camera, Education!” with about ten teachers from our Chicago chapter of the Illinois Computing Educators. This was an eager group and their questions always seemed to be just ahead of the slide or the clip I was showing. Unfortunately, the computers in the lab we were in had no FireWire/1394 ports and the teams couldn’t import their videos for editing. We had to show their rough final door scenes on my computer and talk through their storyboards about what the finished product would have been. I then took one team’s clips and, under their direction, did a quick rough cut with a couple of special visual and sound effects. Fortunately, this gave us a little extra time to explore more deeply into ScreenNation and examine the clips that can support makin’ movies with their classes.

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