Week 4

Week 4 – Engaging with Podcasts, images and video

This week I embarked on a quest to create my own iMovie presentation (Fig. 1). The presentation is about myself – my hobbies, personality and interests inside and outside the classroom. I envisage using this resource with a year 7 class who are commencing their transition from primary school to high school. Ideally, this presentation would be used as an ‘ice-breaker’ during Term 1, week 1, day 1, lesson 1 (or thereabouts). Transitioning students may feel overwhelmed and even frightened by the prospect of having to accustom to a variety of different teachers for different subjects. Indeed, at some schools, year 7 students may undertake approximately 8 subjects – all with different teachers. This is quite a difference from the traditional primary school setting.

The purpose of my iMovie presentation is to let the students know a little bit about myself, to understand that I am approachable and to commence a conversation about my expectations of the students inside my classroom in a non-confrontational manner. In doing so, a sense of collegiality and cooperation can be established between teacher and students. Indeed, it is certainly helpful for teenagers to view their teachers as ‘real people’, with interests, families, feelings and hobbies. The teacher’s presentation adopts a mode that is familiar to many teenagers – sending the inferred message that they are understood and their interests will also be valued in the class. This creates a positive, safe environment for students and supports overall student well-being and connectedness.

Fig.1. The main screen on iMove. Source: Apple.com


My multimodal presentation would act as a model for students, as they would be expected to create their own iMovie presentation about themselves. This would allow students the opportunity to get-to-know each other in a creative way that culminates in an official presentation.

The multimodal aspect of the task would allow students to integrate images, music, sound effects, colours and movement into their presentation, allowing them to communicate more effectively about themselves and to send inferred messages about themselves to their peers. The potential for each presenter to affect the mood of their audience is heightened because of the way they are able to present, which potentially makes use of the five semiotic systems. This makes the task more meaningful and engaging. It also redefines the task of a standard oral presentation or poster, which are traditional methods of introducing students to each other. Traditional oral presentations use the speaker’s speech and gestures to communicate with the audience.

In an iMoviemaker, students can include footage of real-life events, photographs, sound effects, music and text to stimulate the audience’s senses – allowing the audience to enter into the presenter’s world, creating a deeper understanding about that person. Therefore, the task is redefined because a traditional oral presentation (or poster) cannot achieve this – it provides a limited stimulation of the senses and its success relies heavily upon the public speaking skills of the presenter. I am not suggesting that public speaking skills aren’t an important asset for students to have; however the purpose of this task is for students to get to know each other during an important transitional phase (moving from primary school to secondary school – many students will not know each other at all!), therefore a Moviemaker presentation is better than an oral presentation in this instance because of its multimodality and inclusive nature (it is arguably less confrontational to press ‘play’ than it is to conduct public speaking).  The pressing of the play button could also occur in small groups, lowering the ‘spotlight’ factor. Opportunities for discussion and questions should be factored into any lesson, as this builds upon the presentations.

The Video

iMovie and SWOT Analysis

I could continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the iMovie tool in long paragraphs. Instead please see the SWOT analysis of this tool below. Please keep in mind that this SWOT analysis is about Moviemaker in general, not for the purpose I described above in my example.

STRENGTHS·       Allows students to create multimodal texts and engage the 5 semiotic systems

·       A variety of semiotic systems are stimulated, making the tool more engaging for the creator and the audience.

·       Allows students to communicate in more creative ways

·       Digital storytelling benefits students with preferences for visual and auditory learning.

·       Students can edit their work until it is ‘right’.

WEAKNESSES·       The tool’s purpose is to create an audio-visual presentation – therefore this tool should not be relied upon for students to present public speaking.   The tool detracts from many of the skills necessary to achieve success in that area as the producer does not have to ‘face’ a live audience and use skills specific to public speaking (ie no editing available).

·       The tool can be ‘fiddly’ and time consuming to finish a polished presentation.

·       A school might need to provide additional equipment so that students can record their voices, or record a scene (eg using a camera and or microphone).   Sometimes lack of funding would make this impossible

·       Students need access to a computer to be able to complete their presentation – it is difficult when students only have access to computers at school.

OPPORTUNITIES·       Depending on how students used the tool, they could impact their audience in a more meaningful or effective way. This could mean persuading an audience to agree with a stance, or to create a certain mood or feeling within the audience

·       Embed information/ ideas from a variety of sources. For example, a response/opinion from an overseas expert be included inside a presentation.

·       Students can publish their work on the Internet for others to see (global audience)

·       Discussion can be stimulated as a result of viewing a presentation

·       Students who are competent using the tool could assist students who aren’t yet competent.

THREATS·       Depending on a teacher’s pedagogical approach, students might present their views using this tool and then fail to engage in discussions/debates that require students to engage in active listening and respond appropriately in ‘real time’.

·       Students may become overly preoccupied with the special effects that the program has to offer and fail to ensure that the content and ideas they are delivering are quality.

·       Some students may be very confident with the tool and others might not have any experience, meaning that a deadline extensions may need to be granted.   This could disrupt the flow of the class.

·       If students publish their work on the Internet, it may not be safe for students to have a ‘global’ audience.

Finally, I will provide some suggestions for how iMovie and other multimedia tools can be used in the classroom and how this relates to the SAMR model. Please see the table below:

Redefinition(Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable) A Moviemaker presentation is used as a platform for students to introduce themselves to their new class (eg new Year 7s). Students can include real footage of their lives, photographs and other images that represent something about them. Audio can be added for narration, and music can be included to affect the mood of the audience. 10 years ago this way of introducing oneself to their peers was inconceivable. Powerpoint presentation could have been used OR traditional oral presentations. Students have the ability to engage all the semiotic systems through this multimodal tool. Students also have the ability to publish their presentation for later viewing for their classmates or for a global audience.
Modification(Technology allows for significant task redesign) The Apple ‘Show Me’ application could be used in a science classroom by asking students to draw and verbally explain, simultaneously, the direction of the earth’s rotation of the Sun. This is considered modification because although a student could exhibit their knowledge by answering standard questions and drawing diagrams, it does not allow a student to do this simultaneously – it captures students’ thinking or ‘working out’ as they go.   This is a significant redesign because it allows a teacher to perhaps more easily identify where a student’s ‘stumbling block’ may be present I their understanding of a difficult concept.
Augmentation(Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement) An Animoto video could be used in a science class to show the steps of a chemical reaction in real life as part of an analogy. This would be done by sequencing images into a linear process to depict the particular chemical reaction in real life. This is considered augmentation because a student could still obtain images and sequence them on a piece of paper by physically cutting and pasting. Animoto allows students the opportunity to use a fast editing system, which may save time if students had to do the task the ‘traditional’ way.
Substitution (Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change) A MovieMaker presentation is used to present students with context in relation to an issue or topic. It embeds videos, images and text relevant to the issue/topic. The MovieMaker presentation replaces separate images, videos and text that the teacher would use instead to provide context to the issue or topic. It is used as an ‘informative’ tool only.

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