True of false?
1. Kids learn best when content is fun and meaningful.
2. Adults never stop learning.
3. Video is a powerful media for learning and entertainment.
4. The term, “Epic,” is an adjective that describes an amazing, impressive accomplishment.
If you answered true for all four questions, wise reader, you are 100% correct and win a virtual cuppa of your choice!
Each of these points hit home for me as I participated in the Word of the Week (WOW), a literacy initiative by Muhlenberg School District Elementary Center (Pennsylvania, US) to develop vocabulary and literacy.
As its name implies, children's book authors and illustrators appear weekly in short videos, produced by the paw-some Stanley and Katrina, to introduce their word and demonstrate its meaning. My WOW experience was an epic journey of personal discovery as I learned how to create this video.
While I experimented with video for personal use and wrote scripts for others to produce, I never created anything to support my writing, especially a video that included voice-over and music. I had lots of ideas and could see how the content should flow, but I had no clue how to make everything come together.
Word of the Week was a great way to start because I worked with the talented folk at Stanley and Katrina. They did the hard part of editing, adding music and sandwiching my content with their intro and outro. All I had to do was come up with 60-seconds of ‘the meat.’
I used Apple’s Garage Band software to record my narration; i-Movie to synch with my voice-over to add visuals and insert transitions. I wanted a professional look I couldn't achieve through my rudimentary on-camera skills and production tools, so I didn’t appear live on camera. Instead, I used photographs and graphic images created on Canva, a free online graphic design tool. The Ken Burns effect of slowly panning images made still shots come alive.
I learned as I went along – hours of YouTube tutorials, a class at an Apple Store, lots of trial and error – so the video took twice as long to complete. But I’ve got the process down and am confident about tackling more.
You don't need complex software to produce a short video for home or school. Shadow Puppet for IOS and Adobe Voice for iPad are both free, easy-to-use apps that help parents, teachers, and kids create videos with clips, photographs and their narration.
The best part was imagining the impact of our effort on kids and learning. But you don't have to imagine WOW's power for engaging kids. You'll see the excitement in the outro as kids jumped up and down, chanting, "Word of the Week!"
Please join the conversation in the comment section.
How do use videos to help children learn?
What additional suggestions or video resources can you add?
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