Thursday, September 27, 2012

The iPod Touch as a story teller

Creating film in a classroom might fill some educators with nervous anticipation and in some cases fear and blind panic. But it does not need to be like that. All you need is the imagination that a class of children can provide and access to an app on one device - iMovie on the iPod Touch 4th Gen. 

I have recently started the study of film as part of a class topic in Literacy. Film is part of our lives and its effects are found throughout most stories children write. Using film as the inspiration for Literacy work therefore makes a lot of sense as it captivates even the youngest of ages and provides them a platform to unleash their own cinematic ideas onto paper. Well, in my case through the digital medium of the iPod Touch and the iMovie app. I have used iMovie on the iPod Touch before but this is the first occasion that I have decided to outline how I have used it and how my class have benefited from it. 

Films have magical opening sequences that can enthrall the viewer, wetting their appetite of what's to come. The opening sentences of a book are written in a similar manner. Get the reader/viewer hooked from the start. We used various short animated films and favourite films to look at and discuss the opening sequences. We found out why these worked, how they grabbed our attentions and why they made us want to continue watching. We also compared these to our favourite books and the opening lines from those using the very same questions. The results were very similar if not, in most cases, the same. We compared the use of setting, time, characters and story. We found how books require more effort to create what a film captures in seconds but also how more powerful a well crafted sentence can be compared to a similar shot of film. 

The advantages of using an iPod Touch device over any other similarly sized video capture tool are well explored with two standing out. It's very easy to use and it has the iMovie app. In an hour long session, I had introduced the iMovie app to my class, how it functioned, how to capture video and still images, how to move captured scenes around, how to add an opening title and add sound effects if required. This lasted all of 10 minutes and with the class itching to go I explained that the session was not an attempt to perfect a Hollywood movie but to tell a very short story in three scenes. 

I have used Movie Maker in the past (horrible), I have used Flip Cameras (good but very limiting) and I have even attempted digital cameras along with school bought movie editing software (never ever go there). The iPod Touch along with iMovie makes creating film an instantly gratifying, extremely user friendly and highly rewarding experience. The results are amazing, the reactions from the class will be even more so. I have used iMovie along with my iPhone for quite some time and knew just how brilliant an educational tool the partnership can make. The iPod Touch is a device every school should be looking at just because no other device at the same price matches it for the benefits it can bring to teaching and learning.