What Is It?

The increasing quality and prevalence of digital video/pictures has made it an extremely useful tool for teachers to include their less

ons. Allowing students the option to present a group assignment through a video was not difficult for the teacher in the past but the student would need VHS editing equipment which, at its cheapest, was hundreds of dollars. This would often force students to complete an assignment in a way less suited for their success or try to complete the video anyway, and receive a lower grade because of the quality of the presentation. Digital video has taken all of these roadblocks away as video can be taken directly from the camera to the computer, and from the computer onto a DVD. Most computers come with some kind of video authoring programs and if not, there are many free or very reasonably priced software suites available. The reason I see this as such an important addition to some school projects is the versatility it allows the students. There are many students who do not perform well in a classroom presentation setting but will create true works of art when given the option of creating a video. It can also work on more levels then simply the end product. Students must take the time to schedule meetings to create the plot, script, shoot the material, edit the video, and finally put the finished product to disk. This scheduling and planning is also time they are discussing the subject of the lesson. Many students who choose to attempt video assignments do so because they have some love of the process. As teachers we need to use all of the tools we can to engage our students and draw them into our lesson. One of these tools must be work that the students enjoy. By combining our lesson with projects that the students enjoy to participate in we are more likely to achieve great student participation, and better student retention of the material.


There are a variety of reasons to include digital video/picture projects into your lesson plans but the most important is student involvement. Student's lives are becoming more and more saturated with technology. Cell phones, Facebook, Skype, iTunes, Zune, and WebApps are just a few of the different devices and programs that you will hear your students talking about everyday. Although this has become something of a hot topic it can also become an important tool for teachers to use when trying to engage students in a lesson. We have these technological tools that are already completely ingrained in our student's lives that engage them completely for multiple hours throughout the day and these same tools can have the same effects, if used correctly, in a lesson plan. Reports and class presentations used to be boring ordeals as students would often do their best with presentation board and transparencies but in the end a grade was the only thing they were looking for. With the innovations made with digital media students have the capabilities to make audio and video material that can rival professionally made radio and television. This can help the project become more than a grade and more of a sense of accomplishment, and that is what we want to achieve in the classroom. By giving our students the freedom to use the information we give to them to create something that is completely personal allows us to assess their knowledge of the subject, and them the pride of reaching a goal they have set for themselves.

Physical Science:

Video can be shot of a physical situation, such as basketball flying through the air. This footage can then be loaded into LoggerPro, Videopoint or other software which can allow students to track the motion of the basketball frame-to-frame. Physical variables such as the position, velocity and acceleration of the ball can be measured in these programs, and mathematical equations developed and discussed.

Even if students do not shoot their own video there is a series of video clips and labs suitable for high school students available publicly from Texas A & M University

Some Software Choices:

There are a lot of choices when your looking for video editing software. Here are a few that you may want to consider.

Microsoft Movie Maker:
This software is free and very accessible for someone new to video editing.
Apple iMovie:
If your school uses Macs instead of PCs iMovie is a nice replacement for Movie Maker.
WAX is a free video editing software that offers many of the advanced options more expensive software packages do but in a less polished form. I wouldn't recommend this software for video editing beginners but it may be useful for students who are on their third or fourth project and want to attempt something more challenging.
Nero Vision:
Nero Vision is a multimedia suite that will take you from downloading the video off of your camera to burning it to a DVD all in the same software. It offers some advanced fuctionality but is most useful in its codec flexability, and its extremely user friendly UI. This functionality comes with a cost and Nero will cost you $50.00 or up depending on the suite you choose. There are trial versions available.
Adobe Creative Suite 5:
Adobe has a line of video editing software that is considered some of the best available. Its Creative Suite 5: Production Premium contains all of this software and some others that students may find useful in other projects. This software has a very high learning curve and should only be used by students who have worked with video editing before or show an interest in video and want to focus on something more advanced.


There are a number of resources available for video editing students. The following are some that I have found helpful.

Movie Maker:
Here is a very nice series of videos:

Apple iMovie:



- This article discusses studies done with middle school students on the use of digital video
technologies in the classroom. Although the scope the the technologies used goes slightly beyond
what I talk about in this wiki it gives a good representation of what these tools can achieve when used
correctly in a classroom setting. The organizers of this study used a tool called WebDIVER for most
of their projects but this could be easily replaced by Microsoft MovieMaker, NeroVision, and other
video editing programs. I've included the abstract of the article below:

"Abstract: This paper presents empirical evidence concerning the application of digital videotechnologies for creating design-based learning environments for middle school students. In three studies we show how the affordances and constraints of digital video technology can support for students their (a) cognitive (b) action related and (c) socio-cognitive learning processes in the domain of history. We present both quantitative and qualitative data. We also present initial evidence for the role of complementary support by explicit instructional guidance. Results are discussed with regard to practical implications."