Rosie’s Short Animation

Rosie is one of my grade 12th Digital Moviemaking students. She is highly creative and forward thinking. For one of her projects she wanted to do an animation sequence, so I introduced her to the open-source software program Pencil installed in one of the iMacs in the computer lab. She took to it in less than 5 minutes. Together with a Wacom tablet, she produced the following short animation in less than three weeks. Enjoy!


Paula’s The othe side of the glass video

This is Paula’s video. She is one of my grade 12 Digital Moviemaking students. She set out to make a piece about the possibilities and chance of life. One may end up being on top of the world or struggling to make it day-by-day. Her video was created with the help of two other students in the class.

I am greatful for students like Paula, and quite frankly for all students I’ve worked with thus far. She is highly organized, articulate, and eager to learn more. Right after I asked all of them to put together a project she came to me with her idea, and shortly after she showed up with set/location photos for her shoot. She’s beyond organized and detail-oriented.

I hope you like this piece as much as I have enjoyed watching it multiple times already.


Student Perspective of Barcelona by Jackson

This is a video created by one of my Digital Moviemaking students last year while he was in 11th grade. He took off a few afternoons and took a ton of video in all sorts of places. Being a perfectionist he always had to go out one more time to get that missing pieces. It was a joy to see this project come together. I use to share out to incoming faculty to give them a sense of what Barcelona is like. They all love it!


Giving parents evidence of progress

I propose all teachers in the lower grades of Elementary School should have a video camera at the ready in their classrooms. Not so much to take random videos of classroom events such as b-day parties or the occasional parade for some reason or other. Rather I propose video cameras so that providing families with video-evidence of their child’s progress becomes an end-of-year process of the school.

After all, it is in the lower grades where most visible change in children happens. There’s nothing stopping this practice from happening at all grade levels in matters such as language acquisition, art, music, public speaking, etc., but in the lower grades a child’s development in recognizing their body, manipulating things with their hands, coordination, language, speaking, reading, dancing, and even group participation and collaboration is most evident.

Every two-to-three weeks the classroom teacher, or associate teacher, will take a 1-5 video snippet of a child. Over time an e-portfolio showcasing particular abilities of that child will build. At the end of the year the family will get their expected report/grade card and will also receive a DVD with their child in the classroom as evidence of their progress – or lack thereof. I see this as a win-win for parents and the school. Parents get a magic time-lapse-window into the classroom and their child’s development while the teachers have evidence of their effectiveness in the classroom. Also, it is an additional tool to justify not inviting a family back the following year if need-be.

This should not serve as an evaluation tool for the administration with the teacher, but rather help the teacher observe and learn from their own practice. Having good video evidence of one’s teaching serves as much purpose as a viewfinder does for photography/video or headphones in audio recording; if you can’t see/hear what you’re recording you can’t tell how good/bad you are at it.

It would be a simple process to put into place. Each classroom should be equipped with a laptop with an integrated video camera and microphone. Teachers would get ongoing professional development to ensure they know what to do with the video generated, though initially there would be a part-time person available to walk them through the entire process of taking video, storing it, editing, and producing a final DVD. A mobile phone or a tablet would do just as well as any laptop in the classroom.

Of course, we must be aware of the legal framework around this practice. I know for sure in Spain we can do this as long as the video is not displayed in public without the family’s consent. I am sure as long as the video is safeguarded and stays within the classroom and only one to see it at the end of the year are parents that there may not be huge legal hurdles to overcome in other places.