10 fun ways to use video creation in the classroom

Why not celebrate Digital Learning Day by instigating a video creation project in your classroom? Students enjoy working on video projects—they inspire creativity, allow for teamwork, and produce a final product the students can be proud of. Incorporating video projects in the classroom is one way to provide a rich blended learning experience for students.

  1. Divide students into groups to make a movie of a book they have read, retelling the elements of a plot. Or, ask students to create a video project about their favorite character or chapter instead of writing a book report.
  2. Create a song or rap video to help students remember math strategies, spelling words, or grammar rules.
  3. Turn student-written poems into artistically visual videos.
  4. Play charades by asking students to create a 30-second video. They can act out vocabulary words and have the rest of the class guess which word they represent.
  5. Design a movie about the history of your school or community. Have the children act it out.
  6. Produce a news segment of a special event, such as a guest speaker, a school 5K fun run, a beautification project, or a fund raiser.
  7. Ask students to highlight themselves in a one-minute get-to-know-you video.
  8. Invent a music video, using a song the students are learning in music class.
  9. Build a short documentary to explain a science project. Video is great to show time-lapse changes for experiments.
  10. Allow students to re-teach a unit using video. Students can create props and visuals to summarize what they learned about a given topic.


Useful Video Apps

Many students now have access to iPods, phones, and tablets which are equipped with great, portable cameras for taking video. The following movie-making apps are useful, inexpensive (most are under $2), and can take your student-created videos to the next level: ScriptWrite, iMovie, Game Your Video, Action Movie FX, Time Lapse Camera HD, Movie Looks HD, Avid Studio, SloPro, FiLMiC Pro, TiltShift Video, and Scrolling Credits.

Helpful Online Tools

Masher is a fun, free, tool for creating video mash-ups. Masher offers large collection of video clips, music, and effects from their gallery. You can also add your own images, video clips, and music clips through the Masher uploader. Masher allows you to insert text throughout your video. Using Masher is simple: just drag elements from the media gallery into the timeline editor. From there, you can arrange the sequence of elements, and when you are ready, you can publish and share your production.

Animoto is great for quickly making simple videos by using still images, music, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto’s free service limits you to 30-second videos. By applying for an educational account, you can create longer videos.

Stupeflix is a service that allows users to create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into a desired sequence. You will want to upload your own audio clips as Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack. But an advantage of Stupeflix is that it allows you to use more than one audio clip within the same video.

Photo Peach is a new service that allows you to easily create an audio slideshow, with captions, from images in your Flickr, Picassa, or Facebook account. You can also use images saved on your local hard drive to create a slideshow. Adding captions is easy: simply type the text into the caption box. Also, changing the order of images is a simple drag and drop procedure.

Xtra Normal is a unique service that enables students to create animated, narrated movies just by typing the dialogue then dragging and dropping characters and set elements into the movies. There are free and paid plans for using Xtra Normal, but the standard plan should be more than adequate for most academic uses.

If your class uses these ideas or resources for making video, we would love to hear about it. What ideas do you have about incorporating video in the classroom?


New Action Areas tool allows for immediate intervention

Imagine Learning version 13 includes the new Action Areas tool—giving teachers the intervention resources they have been asking for. The new tool assists teachers by identifying which students need help and pinpointing the skills that are giving them trouble.

Instant Data Equals Instant Intervention

The Action Areas tool allows for immediate intervention by grouping students together according to their needs. The tool provides a wealth of supporting content that can be used for guided practice. And teachers can instantly launch Imagine Learning activities and printouts directly from the tool itself. Read more »


Imagine Learning all-new for iPad

Imagine Learning has released an all-new iPad app designed to teach early literacy skills, and features new activities specifically optimized for touchscreen use.

Putting early literacy right at your students’ fingertips

Imagine Learning is placing early literacy into the hands of students with the all-new app, Imagine Learning for iPad. The new app from Imagine Learning features rich media content and rigorous activities that have been specifically designed to help emergent readers. Imagine Learning for iPad takes core literacy components of Imagine Learning that schools have already used successfully, and puts them into the new format teachers have been asking for. Read more »


YouTube for teachers: Too little, too late?

YouTube recently announced the launch of YouTube Teachers, a portion of the website dedicated to helping teachers use videos to keep students engaged and learning. At YouTube.com/Teachers, educators can get practical tips for using videos in class, learn how to create their own YouTube channels and playlists, and even see real-life examples of teachers who are using YouTube videos to enhance student learning.

The site is just the first of two YouTube initiatives designed to help educators feel more comfortable with the site. And rumor has it that YouTube will also be making a big announcement about updates that will address the concerns educators often raise about using YouTube videos at school. But will that be enough to get teachers on board? And more importantly, will it be enough to convince administrators to unblock YouTube URLs on school computers?

Read more »


Tips to help your students get the most from Imagine Learning English

I recently asked Imagine Learning‘s director of training to share some of the challenges educators encounter that prevent their students from getting as much from Imagine Learning English as they could. I thought it would be instructive to share some of her observations and offer some tips that can help you overcome these roadblocks if you’re experiencing them too.

The most common issue she hears is that scheduling frequently makes it difficult to give students enough time in the lab. Often it’s a tough decision of limiting the student’s exposure to another subject in favor of increasing their literacy or second language acquisition time. While it may be obvious to a student’s classroom teacher that more time spent using the program would be beneficial, if your school has specials teachers, more coordination between instructors may be needed to determine what will best serve the child.

So how have other teachers addressed this challenge? Let me share two suggestions that have worked for many schools using Imagine Learning English. Read more »