10 Great Ways to Use Digital Video Cameras in the Classroom
1 Conduct interviews
Throughout the year, the seniors
in Bob Wood’s current-issues class at
Oakridge High School in Muskegon,
Michigan, ask friends and family to interview
them. They hand their interviews in
with an essay in which they elaborate on
what they said in them. Interview topics,
chosen by the students, range from
“Should I vote?” to “Gay or straight:
Does it matter?” to “Where do I go from
here?” At the end of the year, Wood
burns the interviews onto CD s.
2 Produce PSAs, skits, and more
The broadcasting crew at Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville,
Georgia, records public-service announcements for the school’s live morning
show. Sometimes they perform short skits that focus on vocabulary, wordplay,
and idioms, says technology teacher Karen Hartung.
3 Improve the school-to-home
A third-grade teacher at Village School
in Pacific Palisades, California, recorded
his students explaining to their
parents how to play a math game.
Now their parents can play the same
game at home. A music teacher at the
school captures snippets of students
to include in a video he sends to parents
in lieu of a printed newsletter.
4 Create slide shows
Mary Williams’s chemistry students
at St. Mary’s High School in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, use
Animoto (www.animoto.com), a free
site that produces video pieces from
phones, video clips, and music, to make
90-second (or longer) slide shows
about the elements in the periodic table.
5 Immerse your class in
Christine Berg’s French 4 class at
Rondout Valley High School in Accord,
New York, connected with a school
for young artists in Haiti. Berg sent
the Haitian students a digital video
camera that she obtained through
grant money, and the classes began
exchanging videos. “My students
wrote scripts in French and practiced
reading and listening skills through
email and video exchanges with the students from Haiti,” Berg says. At the
same time, Berg’s students studied
the geography, climate, politics, and
history of Haiti.
6 Enter a contest
Last year, Elizabeth Askine’s fourth-grade class at Norwood Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland, entered the Disney
Planet Challenge. For this project-based competition, students had to work together to try to solve an environmental problem
in their community. Askine’s class wrote and performed a script about how littering affects the environment and then used
Flipshare software (www.theflip.com) to create the 15-minute video.
7 Record students
Becky Goerend, a sixth-grade
teacher at Earlham Elementary in Iowa,
records student responses to their
“In the past they would write their
thoughts in a notebook. Now they can
share them verbally,” says Goerend.
“It’s a simple thing, but
technology motivates. I
have a closet in my classroom
that I use as the recording booth.”
8 Figure out how to tell time
Tamara Walker’s students at
Central Elementary School in Suffield,
Ohio, made a video of themselves
teaching other students to tell time.
The video, which has helped four other
classrooms, gave Walker’s students the
chance to be interactive.
9 Learn to read
This year, Elizabeth Askine’s
first-grade classes are watching videos
of themselves reading in order to find
and correct their mistakes. They also
write poems and record themselves
10 Promote environmental
“Last year, to accompany our schoolwide
theme of ‘growing up green,’ our
kindergarten teachers created greentips
videos with students,” says Jayme
Johnson, director of academic technology
at Village School. The kindergartners
planned their videos on a storyboard
and then recorded their tips.
Digital Video Cameras
Here are a few of the latest low-cost digital video
cameras for your classrooms.
¦ Cisco’s Flip
Mini Video Camera