from Technology & Learning
System Requirements: DVD player; PC or MAC.
Price/Grade: $129/teacher tool or students 8-12.
Pros: Thousands of high-quality practice clips; excellent teacher materials; very good teaching clips on basic techniques; student-friendly themes; reasonable cost.
Cons: Time consuming; some expertise in movie-editing software necessary for best outcomes; a lack of representational diversity in practice clips.
More and more classrooms are being transformed into movie studios, while many teachers lack the training needed for the multi-tiered task of creating quality film. Enter, Start Editing Now! A product designed to fill the void with a substantial three-DVD set comprising both instructional content and video editing practice clips.
The introductory DVD plunges right into the craft of editing, with an engaging and accessible series of short clips that play on any DVD compatible device. Teachers who have lifelong-learning as a goal will appreciate the larger conceptual understanding of multimedia technology and communication presented in the introduction. As well, the multi-faceted, well-planned structure of the DVD is geared toward differentiating instruction, with presentations incorporating a range of learning styles and pacing options.
All the practice clips star teenagers in everyday activities such as talking on cell phones, working on laptops, and rollerblading at a skate park. Each scene is shot in multiple ways, creating a multi-track movie that students can drag and drop into any editing program. Clips are easy to sort and clearly labeled, and technical vocabulary such as "jump-cut" and "split-screen" is concisely defined.
Clear objectives are stated in the well-sequenced activities and plenty of support materials such as shot logs, movie maps, detailed scene outlines, and lesson plans are included.
Unfortunately, while thorough, Start Editing Now! also represents a fairly hefty time commitment that makes it best suited to classes focusing specifically on filmmaking.
Jeff Brain is a technology facilitator at Del Mar Middle School in Tiburon, CA.