Digital Video Production
What is a quick and easy way to learn how to make videos?
Prepare for Video Integration
Before you start planning a lesson you might want to review some videos or lesson plans that have been created to see how digital video has been, or could be, used. In addition, the Springfield Illinois school district has a very comprehensive website detailing their integration of digital video into all facets of the curriculum.

You will also want to take time to learn how to use the specific camera(s) and editing software at your school. There are several tutorials for iMovie (Apple, Kent State) and Apple also offers a comprehensive guide to shooting video. Microsoft has a basic online guide for using Windows Movie Maker as well. Any piece of hardware or software you purchase should have some form of documented or online support. Make good use of these tools and help your students become familiar with them as well so they can begin to troubleshoot without your assistance.

Organizing and Facilitating a Digital Video Project

Step 1: Choose the Curricular Goals
When you start to plan your lesson consider whether:
  1. the activity is tied directly to one or more curricular goals (ideally you want to meet some subject specific goal(s) as well as addressing the various technology content standards established by the NETS ofISTE.)
  2. the activity could not be accomplished at all or as well using more traditional teaching/learning methods
Make sure that the core of your planning is the curricular goals and not the technology. In addition, don’t use digital video or any other technology for that matter, because you think it will be fun and engaging for your students. Use it because it truly enhances the learning experience and allows your students to understand concepts more fully.

Step 2: Establish the Criteria for the Project
Students need to have a clear understanding of what the final product should include and the purpose of the assignment. Therefore, it is important to include them in the creation of any rubrics that may be used in assessment. Information on creating rubrics can be found in the assessment.

Step 3: Determine the Specific Activity
This will most likely come about as a result of your planning in step 2 and could also be decided upon with the help of your students. Possible activities might include: 
  1. Data collection: students gather video generated data during field trips, lab experiments, interviews and more
  2. Digital Storytelling: students use video footage, still images, graphics, music and narration to tell a story about the past, present or future
  3. Problem Solving: students design, carry-out and videotape experiments to solve a problem or demonstrate a known phenomenon such as gravity
  4. Bridging the Gap: use a student or teacher produced video to bring the outside world into the classroom (see the Construction Site visit)
These are just a few of the ways digital video could be incorporated into a lesson. You can see more ideas in the lesson plan section.

Step 4: Work out the Logistics
You will want to answer the following questions as part of your planning.
  1. Will students work individually or in pairs?
  2. How will students become trained in camera operation and video editing? (utilize older students, coordinate with computer teacher, train class experts to help others, parent volunteers)
  3. Do you have enough equipment for students to work simultaneously?
  4. What medium will students output their final projects to? (video tape, cd, network storage)

Once you have determined how to logistically facilitate your first lesson with digital video, all future lessons will likely follow a similar pattern.