Digital Storytelling plays a major role in many classrooms these days. Stop-motion animation (Claymation) and video dictionaries are just two examples of how this is being used for both instructional resources and student created projects. It is fun for the students and requires higher level thinking. Students must get all their thoughts organized and then find the best way to display their information so it is clear and easy to understand. While iPads can make this project very simple, realistically that is not an option for many classrooms at this time. There are many other programs out there that can do the job…for free! Many of us are familiar with Photostory3 and Movie Maker. Both are good programs…just not really what I was looking for.
Photostory3 is very simple to use. It is a wizard-based program that walks you step by step through creation. An issue I have with Photostory3 is that it does not give you many choices…it is rigid by design. This works great when you are working with students who need a lot of structure and not many options from which to choose. If you are looking for some freedom though, this is not the program for you. It also is limited to images only. I missed not being able to use video.
Movie Maker 2.6 gives you free reign over pretty much everything! In fact, it is capable of doing way more than I am. You can use green screen, moving overlays, composting, etc. Realize now that I have no idea what some of this stuff is. If you want to know more, check out @ChrisNilsson and his post on the iCafe website: Movie Maker Like You’ve Never Seen it Before. Movie Maker does let you bring in video and you can control pretty much anything you want. The problem is when you are working with students (and many adults) they can start to get lost in the program. If only there was a program that could give me the best of both of these worlds…
Bring on Microsoft’s Windows Live Movie Maker! I am in LOVE with this program. It is quite easy to use. You have much more control over movement and transitioning is much easier to apply. It even accepts some file types other than Windows…very nice. I am not spending half my time converting everything to get it to a workable file type! Switch between images and video easily. Drag them where you want. Edit duration for all images at once, a group, or individually.
Want to include audio? No problem. You can even fade, trim, and split the audio right inside the program with little effort. Do you want a song playing but need to hear some audio from a video clip? One button lets you set the audio mix! The only drawback I have found on the audio side is the inability to record narration right into the program. You have to record in another program and add the audio file. I am holding out hope this will change with a future update.
Need a little more pop? Add transitions, animations, and effects to your media right from the ribbon. Hover over an option to preview it. Choose whether to apply to selected images or apply to all slides at once. They couldn’t make this much easier.
When you are ready to save your movie, you have options to choose from. You can save it with the recommended settings, choose a smaller file version if you are emailing it, choose HD, or customize it to your preferences. You also have the option to publish it straight to YouTube, SkyDrive, Facebook, or Flicker.
Here is an example of a Pre-K teacher using Live MM for a Stop Motion Animation project…
I can feel it…you are ready to jump in right now! If you think you will need a little help getting started, check out these Live Movie Maker cheat sheets from the iCafe website. Give Live Movie Maker a shot. Neither you, nor your students will regret it!