Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Celebrating Learning With Collaborative Video Making

For several years now I've been designing intensive summer institutes that model instructional strategies and give educators  a chance to learn and practice new tech skills and  create projects that will use those  new skills to support teaching and learning in the upcoming school year.  

This year we decided to end our intensive week together at Google Tools for Schools Summer Institute in Vergennes, Vermont  creating a collaborative movie that celebrated our learning.

After watching the video K-12 Vision of Today's Students,  I gave the group a little pep talk thanking them for taking a week of their summer to get ready for the new set of students about to walk through their door in a few weeks and told them that it was important for them to take the time to celebrate their own learning.

 We asked each participant to find a partner to celebrate something they were proud of in their own learning this week and share it with a partner.   It was hard to interrupt the enthusiasm that filled the room as the conversation grew louder and more animated.  

As I passed out colored markers and construction paper,  I invited each educator to be part of a collaborative movie.   I asked each of them to create a sign that was easy to read that would highlight one of the  things they were proud of about their learning journey this week that they would hold up for a few seconds in front of a Green Screen we had set up.

It didn't take long for each of the participants to walk in front of the green screen and hold their sign up for 5 seconds, while one of us used a tablet to record their cameo appearance in our movie.   Note to self:  Don't  use Green paper or Green markers when working with ChromaKey!

It was our goal to use the ChromaKey feature of WeVideo to produce our movie.  Unfortunately we ran into some difficulty in that the combination of  green cloth and lighting did not produce the results we were hoping for.  After some problem solving, we did find that if we had used the darker green cloth in my toolkit, the masking would have worked well in We Video (Note to self:  test a sample video directly in WeVideo before filming the whole video).

Fortunately,  the iPad we used to film had the  DOINK which was much more forgiving and we were able to do some of the production work using the DoINK app directly on the tablet.
We quickly found  and downloaded some public domain  images of balloons and fireworks from Pixabay  to use as a celebration background and added them to our  unedited 7 minute video using the DoINK app.  Happy with the results, we saved the video from the DoINK app to the camera roll of our device.

After moving the new version of our 7 minute video from our tablet to our Google Drive,  we were now able to import it directly into WeVideo for some additional editing. It didn't take long to split the clips and remove unwanted parts of our video so we had a quick 5 second clip of everyone's learning.
We added a title and ending image to our video and played around until we found one of WeVideo's themes that gave us the effect we wanted.

The final step before saving was muting the original sound on the video clips so we only had theme music and not our 'stage directions" in our final movie.  This required clicking on every clip and hitting the mute button.  Note to self:  Next time MUTE the CLIP before you SPLIT the Clips if you don't want the original audio.  Would have saved us from having to mute each clip individually.

After previewing the collaborative movie,  we decided that even though it was not perfect, we felt it accomplished the goal of giving us the opportunity to reflect on  and celebrate our learning. Click FINISH!   Publish to Google Drive  and YOU TUBE!  And VOILA!  A nice artifact to celebrate our learning, along with the 28 fabulous projects we created this week using Google tools - which we plan to share at the end of the month.

Goals for next time

1)  Test the lighting and green screen combination directly in WeVideo  before filming the whole movie.

2)  Use the Collaborative Feature of WeVideo to give everyone a chance to tweak their own  part of the movie.

But for now... Celebrate with us... as we share our Collaborative Movie of our learning journey during August 2015 in Vergennes Vermont.

For those who are ready to give WeVideo ChromaKey a try,  check out the following resources.

1)  WeVideo Tutorial Video from
2)  We Video PRINT directions