Mini Movies

I mentioned in a previous post that the average cell phone these days can do SO much more than most people ever discover. This revelation struck me when I saw someone demonstrating a video clip they made from footage taken on their phone’s camera. What this person didn’t realise was that some phones can not only shoot the footage, but can also edit it as well. I won’t repeat the list of stuff that can be done – you can go read the other post if you really want to know more – but I was surprised at just how simple it is to throw a short clip together.

To put the theory to the test, I went to watch my kids play tennis today and took some footage with my phone. (Well, mainly of my daughter… my son kept telling me to go away. Fathers can be so embarrasing!) I shot 6 or 7 clips, then used the phone’s editing software, called VideoDJ, to trim each one, add titles and transitions, place the clips in order, and render a final movie. I could have added music in the background too, but I thought was going overboard a little. Total time taken to edit from start to finish was about 6 minutes – in fact I did it while standing in a shop waiting for a hamburger to be made for my lunch!

Of course, the quality is a bit ordinary, as this particular phone only shoots at 176×144 pixels at 10 fps, but still… I uploaded the finished video to YouTube, not so much as a video masterpiece but more as a proof of concept. For what it’s worth, here it is…

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

CC BY-SA 4.0 Mini Movies by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

3 Replies to “Mini Movies”

  1. Chris,

    This is EXACTLY the sort of use of technology we should be encouraging. The classroom potential is enormous. I remember Alex Hayes talking about his sister teaching lower primary in Japan and all the kids making documentaries at the zoo using their phones and uploading them to the school portal (wish I had a link but I don’t. Filming the animals, interviewing the keepers, it doesn’t get much more authentic than that :o)


  2. Whilst I also think the idea of using a phone in the classroom for learning is a fascinating idea and likely to maintain student engagement and promote learning I was just wondering if there isn’t a student equity issue involved.

    What if a student does not have a phone or the one they have (like mine) doesn’t shoot or edit video? Or is this a technology the teacher/school introduces?

    Many schools today have problems with kids taking inappropriate clips at school and posting them on U-tube.

    My school has recently banned all cameras/unauthorised footage within the school due to some incidents.

    It was mentioned elsewhere that plagiarism is still ripe, partly perhaps because we as teachers have failed to ask the right questions and ensure the students learn. Kids will get excited with this type of activity, how do we as teachers ensure they use it responsibly?

    Is this technology driving the pedagogy?

  3. I think that education is full of equity issues (public vs private, sport vs performing arts funding, strong leadership vs weak leadership). I don’t think we can afford to let things drop to lowest common denominators, but you do have a valid point.

    As for inappropriate use, when I was at school some kids used to bring in catapults and once even an air pistol. We need explicit boundaries, appropriate consequences and adequate vigilance to prevent inappropriate use. I know the analogy isn’t exact – if you have a catapult, it’s pretty clear what you are going to do with it :o)

    Plagiarism is an interesting point. I have found that in almost all cases plagiarism occurs because of the task. Any task of the “finding stuff out” variety is a dead cert for plagiarism. We need higher order tasks that move kids up to the top levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, where it’s difficult to copy someone else’s answer. At it’s simplest level, the easiest to prevent plagiarism is to ask 2 questions. What do you think? Why do you think that?

    And of course you are right – technology should never drive pedagogy :o)


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