iMovie Trailers in the Classroom by Cindy Sheets

Cindy Sheets, NAGC Computers and Technology Network Chair

Cindy Sheets, NAGC Computers and Technology Network Chair

 Who doesn’t want to be in a movie? OK, maybe you don’t want to be a movie star, but perhaps you want to be a writer, a director, or design the set or costumes? Maybe you just have information that you’d love to share.

Last spring, I shared a new way of creating videos with my elementary students. With the discovery of iMovie Trailers the classroom became a buzz of activity. With a little planning on a storyboard, they began to gather props and plot their actions.

With iMovie Trailers, very little writing is required: this eliminates a lot of time consuming script writing and memorizing of lines, but does demand that they use their words strategically to get the message across with a minimum of text and strategic use of visuals. Thinking about what the whole story might be, and selecting only the snippets that will give the audience the gist of the big picture requires them to apply higher-level thinking skills (analyze, evaluate, synthesize) in an engaging task.

With easy editing and flexible media use, iMovie Trailers are a great tool for the classroom. One of the first decisions is to select from a variety of templates that include opening graphics, transitions, and even music to fit the theme or mood. You don’t even HAVE to use video; photos will work and trailers automatically use the Ken Burns effect. So, with iPads in hand, groups of 3 – 5 students found the perfect theme, collected their props and costumes, found locations and began filming. Filming can be done on the spot with the iPad, so it’s easy to take a new shot for a recording that doesn’t quite work.

While I encouraged creativity in developing a story for this project, iMovie Trailers can also be used to illustrate a concept in a content area, to introduce a subject or unit to students, or to highlight your summer vacation. I’ve even noticed some recent Ford commercials that are designed like movie trailers. All in all, it’s a versatile tool.

Trailers are available as part of the free iMovie app on the iPad, or iMovie on the Mac. Similar effects could be developed through other tools, but it’s the easiest I’ve seen by far. I developed a LiveBinder that includes samples of already created iMovie Trailers, including some my own students created. You’ll also find some printable storyboards that others have shared and that will help students with planning their text and shots.

And finally, you don’t have to be an expert at iMovie or iMovie Trailers to open this up to your students. They’ll be able to teach YOU how in just a few minutes. I hope you’ll give it a try! And be sure to share your results with the rest of us on our NAGC Computers and Technology Facebook Page or Tweet with the #NAGCtech hashtag.

See you in the movies!

About Dallas Price

Dallas Price is a teacher in Anchorage, Alaska.
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