Movies Made Simple

jengingmmsimple.jpg I’m really embarrassed I almost missed Jennifer Gingerich’s Makin’ Movies Made Simple webinar last night and doubly embarrassed that I hadn’t picked up on it in time to plug it here. So let me try to make amends with this post.
Jennifer shared some great project ideas with practical tips for keeping it simple, keeping everyone together, and making the most of your “techsperts.” She showed some very creative projects from poetry to riddles and shares the how-to’s on this page of her site.
A few things that were discussed and sites to go with them…

iMovie on the Mac (free)
PhotoStory and MovieMaker for PC’s (free). You’ll have to search and download PhotoStory from the Microsoft site – XP and above.
PowerPoint, KidSpiration, HyperStudio (coming soon!), etc. are also good for visual storytelling.
Adobe Premiere Elements (very affordable), ULead, Pinnacle Studio, Final Cut Pro or Express, etc. are big steps up in price and power.
M-Audio has bundled a PC software program called Session with some of their music peripherals. It seems a lot like Garage Band: with keyboard or as a separate package

You can do a lot with digital still pictures and the movies that they make.
FlipCam doesn’t use tape and is very affordable (~$100).

Use “kits” to save time and keeps students focused.
Library of Congress
National Archives (for teachers by teachers)
David Jakes has tutorials and solid color slides at
Find picture sets on Flickr and Picasa. Look/search for Creative Commons licensed pix that you can use freely.
“Free” music isn’t free outside the classroom (even at board meetings!):

Internet citations:
Come with Discovery streaming stills.
David Warlick’s

Use external and headset mics for the best sound when narrating. Usually in the $15-20 range. Mac users can’t just plug into the line in jack. Mics on a Mac need to go through USB to have enough power.

Keep it simple and focused – limit special effects and transitions

Preparation, research, writing, storyboards are key. The technology is secondary and can’t rescue a poor foundation.

Here is the DEN’s webinar schedule for the whole rest of the school year.


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  1. sharon said:

    I have tried using several other programs for editing our church videos. I found Adobe Premiere Elements 4 to be the easiest to work with, can’t wait to see what they add to it in version 5. I use a lot a video background animations where I lay text over them to give our presentions a more professional look. The animations are from Studio 1 Productions. I like them because they simply drag and drop right into Premiere without any problems. Here is there website

  2. Kevin Conner said:

    Joe – Some great guidance provided here – I’ll point you to a person who I think “gets it”: Sara Kajder, a professor at the University of Louisville who I heard speak at NECC. She has a great book and companion website. The book is “Bringing the Outside In,” 2006 Stenhouse Publishing Her site is

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