I started a unit on video production today with one of my middle school classes. We have been preparing for weeks for the day that we would get to use the coveted Mac lab. Learning about the different cameras, the Mac operating system (AKA Snow Leopard), and how the two interface. Needless to say the kids were very excited. I don’t know if it is working with a cool looking computer, the size of the screen, making videos, but whatever it was, it was a real roller coaster of a class. Read on past the break for what happened.
Before we moved to the Mac lab we had the kids come to the front for some last minute instructions about what we were going to try to accomplish. The excitement factor kind of overtook the informative factor. While it was a struggle to get through some nuts and bolts before the move but we got through it and were off to our new lab.
Once there it was like a kid in the candy store. They walked around looking for the perfect machine to call home for the rest of the semester. Once they claimed their territory they started exploring. Despite all the prep, despite all the discussion, it did not seem matter. The kids immediately started to explore the Mac. Opening preferences, exploring apps, and sharing. Sharing everything, sharing what they knew and sharing what they were discovering. At first I felt like it was going out of control. I thought I was losing them and that the goals of the lesson were going south. Then I realized something. It was like a thunderbolt, it was more like a sunrise. My students weren’t fooling around or wasting time. They were investigating, applying what they had learned, and expanding what they already know and sharing; one may even say collaborating. It was then that I decided to not control the class. To let it flow and just try to guide it.
I had the students open iMovie (Mac’s video editing software). I had the students use the built in iSight camera to capture a short 10 second video. I then told them to explore and then export it to a viewable format. Despite the difficulty of letting the class flow a little the lesson turned out pretty good. So why blog about this small revelation? Why put it out there. Well, I recognize that letting the class flow can be a little dangerous. I’ve had classes flow away, so to speak. Regardless of my trepidation I know in order for this video production unit to work. I’ve got to let go a bit. This isn’t Photoshop where the kids are stuck in a front of a computer the whole time working independently. I need to take a chance, let the kids create, and work with students individually.