Friday, March 5, 2010
Flip Video Cameras in an English Classroom
by Tara Seale
My 9th grade English students recently used Flip Ultras to create heroic journey videos. First, students read Edith Hamilton's Mythology and then analyzed the "Monomyth" chapter from Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Students used Google Spreadsheets to create their own heroic journey chart with explanations and examples. We also read excerpts from The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler to discuss archetypal characters and watched a great YouTube clip called the Matrix Monomyth. Students worked in groups to combine all of this information into a script to illustrate how a modern day character follows the same heroic journey path established in many of the Greek myths. Students also included explanations of archetypal characters that the hero meets along the way.
Click on the link to view my Students Working on Scripts. You will need QuickTime to view the video (probably already installed on your computer, but if not, it is a free download).
Several students featured video game characters. Apparently, many X-Box and Playstation games have heroes on a quest who meet archetypal characters along the way. I guess a good story is still a good story, even in a video game. Students were highly engaged in this lesson, and the insight they gained about how stories are created and how patterns and common elements are repeated has added to their analytical abilities. I created a Mash-Up of Clips from the Heroic Journey Projects as a sample from all of the final projects. You can also watch each group's video on my student podcast page.
If you are interested, this is a link to the Directions for the Heroic Journey Video Assignment and the Rubric for the Assignment.
I was lucky enough to win some grant money through Ann Taylor Loft's Kids in Need Grant to purchase flip video cameras, and also to find a great deal at Digital Wish --Flip Ultras 2 for the price of 1. Ultras seemed to be the better choice because Ultra HDs create larger file sizes, and we were not trying to make picture perfect videos. Our camera angles were not great, and students did very little editing because that was not the focus of the lesson. The objective was to use technology to collaborate, to communicate, and to create an effective explanation of the heroic journey; students did not have time to add the "Wow" factor with fancy editing or effects.
The engagement and learning that I witnessed made me realize the usefulness of using Flips in the classroom. I hope to use the Flips again while we read Romeo and Juliet.
Some Technical Tips for using Flips on a PC or Mac:
The Flip Ultra will allow you to edit film in iMovie on a Mac and Windows Movie Maker on a PC. Just follow the simple directions below:
On a Mac, open iMovie. Select File>Import from Camera. Wait for the thumbnail clips to load. To import all clips, select Import All. If you do not want to import all clips, select Manual and Uncheck All. Then click on the small box under each clip you want to import and click on Import Checked.
On a PC, you need to install the Flipshare software that comes already loaded on the camera. Next, select the clips that you want to use. While in the Flipshare software, select Share>Online>Others. Then you will click on Other again and select Next. Name your folder and click Go. The folder will appear on the desk top. From Windows Movie Maker, you will need to go to Import Video and browse for the folder on the desktop. Select the clips you want to import.