When I was a kid, we made a poster or a written report to show we had learned something. It was usually a time we worked hard, while our teacher did his/her tax forms or summer travel plans. But, with today’s Teacher 2.0 types walking around, they won’t settle for those backdated things anymore. No, sir.

Today’s students create videos to show their learning and there are two great free choices to use in your classroom.

I use MovieMaker for my PreK3 to Grade 2 classes. My best results have been to start recording with Audacity, getting the child’s initial reaction (sometimes they are golden) and then prompting them along with what they see in the photo. Later I can edit out what I don’t want and keep all the great audio moments. At first, I was using the live microphone with Photostory and I had to go back and forth with live recordings and I was missing some great moments as a result. Using the Lame software with Audacity, you can convert your sound file to an mp3 file so it’s easier to use. Later, inserting the mp3 file into the moviemaker project.

I use PhotoStory for my Grades 3 to 5 students. Yes, it’s an easier program, but they are doing it independently now.

Comparing MovieMaker and PhotoStory

Now, if the class is doing something special like our fourth graders in Mrs. Merrill’s class. They will create many WMV files using Photostory and I will put them all together in one large movie using MovieMaker. Transition fades can be used to blend the various student WMV files together seamlessly, too. This even allows me the luxury of using an edited Audacity mp3 file in a spot they wanted a recorded audio clip from around Shanghai. Further, I can make quick opening and closing credits using MovieMaker.

Finally, if you want to make a dynamic movie in a few minutes, try animoto.com

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