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 connection
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 another culture
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 independent-reading assignments. “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 reading them.
10 Promote environmental awareness
“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.
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Mini Video Camera