Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Integrating Video with iPads, Juan Fernandez-Saines, Librarian, Pickard Elementary School

When technology is used for the first time it can be a little overwhelming.  The iPad has many capabilities, especially with the thousands of apps available for education.  There are numerous projects the teachers and students can create, narrowing it down to basic components is crucial.  At our Pickard School, teachers have been integrating literacy with software programs such as Publisher and PowerPoint since Windows was the dominant force in computing.  But times have changed dramatically.  With open source apps and mobile devices, there are other forms of learning we are transitioning to.  Having the iPads at our school is allowing our students to take advantage of newer technologies that have all but replaced the standard programs.

That is why our most recent lesson plan integrates research with video.  There was a time when video was done separately---a handheld camcorder which from there, the final video had to be exported onto a computer for editing.  The iPad is in all-in-one device.  Students can do their research and record video using the same device.  The first time I introduced the lesson I know my students were trying to make sense of the goal.  I could hear their thoughts.  Our iPad lesson integrating literacy and video actually began a few weeks prior when I taught them about biographies and how to use newspapers. 

For this lesson I asked the students to brainstorm several topics of their choice they would like to make a final presentation about.  They asked me, “Mr. Fernandez, are we going to do a PowerPoint presentation?”  To which I said, “No, we are not.”  Originally I was hoping to create a podcast.  But when I realized that podcasting was two to three steps above where we were at I felt the need to start with video recording.  From there we moved on to reading a short script sample.  Again, I did not want to overwhelm my library students.  I needed to have this project be manageable.

After we knew that we had to be brief, students were asked to create a narrative of their research using chart paper.  The chart paper would enable us to be able to read what they had learned and film it.  For this purpose I assigned roles to highlight their strengths.  I told my students that some of them are very good at writing, others maybe real good at facilitating, and yet others may not be so shy and would be willing to appear on camera.  It worked very well because immediately they decided among themselves who would do what role.

I can’t overemphasize how much fun the students had doing this project. Everything came full circle when I asked my students, if they had ever done this type of work before in their seven to eight years of schooling.  They told me “no, we have not.”  Every joyful minute spent working on this project became self-evident.

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