Adventures with WeVideo Part 1

Even high school students learn through play. 
For more than a year, I have been watching students struggle to create videos for class projects. They record videos on their phones and, if they haven't accidentally deleted them, struggle to figure out how to put them together to submit. I would often hear them sigh "I wish I could just use PowerPoint or Google Slides."

Video editing can be proprietary, device specific, un-collaborative and difficult projects for teachers to manage.

I was looking for video editing software that had the following capabilities (YES WeVideo has them all!):
  • Web based (not computer specific!!)
  • Stores work in progress 
  • Green screen capabilities
  • Google compatible
  • Allows for collaboration
  • Works on Chromebooks
  • Create videos longer than 5 minutes
  • A variety of special effects and transitions
  • COPPA compliant
  • User/class management abilities
  • Searchable library of images and videos on site for students to use (this feature was just released and is AMAZING!!!)
I had heard about WeVideo through Dr. Kristen Mattson on Twitter. and finally decided to give it a try. I signed up for a free trial and was really impressed. So much so that when the Instruction Leader of the Agri-Science & Technology Department approached me with the idea of a video project for her student Animal Science course, I excitedly jumped at the opportunity. I reallocated funds to be able to purchase a 30 seat subscription for her students. I was beyond excited to collaborate and co-teach the tools needed for their project.

The AASL Position Statement on the Role of the School Library Program states: 
"Beyond its curricular role, the effective school library program gives each individual member of the learning community a venue for exploring questions that arise out of personalized learning, individual curiosity, and personal interest. As part of the school library program, the school librarian provides leadership and instruction to both students and staff on how to use information technologies constructively, ethically, and safely. The school librarian offers expertise in accessing and evaluating information and collections of quality physical and virtual resources. In addition, the school librarian possesses dispositions that encourage broad and deep exploration of ideas and responsible use of information technologies. These attributes add value to the school community."

The school library media center is the perfect place for students to learn and use the technology responsibly and effectively. Video production is supported by the AASL Standards Framework for Learners, specifically building on the learner's ability to Inquire, Collaborate, Curate, Explore and Engage.

While teachers often give students project options, they tend to fall back on what they know and what is easy, I am grateful that more and more teachers have been asking me to introduce video production so students feel comfortable with the technology and see how much fun it is!

Note: I have been encouraging teachers to offer students video options for their projects but most have been reluctant because they are not comfortable with the technology themselves. I try to inspire teachers by creating mini introductions and tutorials as as I experiment with different tools - like Adobe SparkTouchCastFlipGrid, DoInk - all of which are also great tools depending on the project. It took a few months before a the first teacher jumped on board. The excitement has been contagious, one student was overheard telling a friend "You are going to have so much fun in class today." Since I started this post 3 more teachers have approached me about teaching students how to create videos. I think it is catching on!!

When students become media creators, they also become better media consumers. When students learn how to create and produce videos, they learn that the professional-looking and convincing messages they see (especially on the Internet and social media) might be manipulated with misinformation or disinformation. If students choose to post their videos on the Internet, students understand their role as digital citizens contributing to the digital world. It is important that students are mindful of the integrity and meaningfulness of their work. These are important conversations to have with students as part of the video creation process. 

Jamie Keet's Teacher's Tech WeVideo 2017 Detailed Tutorial
While WeVideo has lots of helpful tutorials, I prepared and learned WeVideo by watching and re-watching Teacher's Tech WeVideo 2017 Detailed Tutorial on YouTube I love how Keet timestamps his 25 minute tutorial, making it easy to jump to exactly what you need. 

Vermont Video Project with WeVideo and Vita-Learn IGNITE
As I researched ideas for rubrics, I found this site. I was interested in the rubric created by Eric Hall and reached out to him for permission to use. Hall is the Technology Integration Specialist and has been using WeVideo since inception. It has been their district's primary video editor for four years, since they began using Chromebooks. He shared with me his rubric which we adapted a bit (link below). 

Eric Hall shared with me this guide he updates regularly (he also gave me permission to share it here). In our email conversations he stressed that planning is just as important as the video skills. Hall offered me lots of advice as well as I bounced ideas off him: 
"I try to get students to focus on their message. Editing without a plan leads to thin content. In that regard one suggestion I would make is to reorganize your planning guide so that WeVideo comes last after storyboard, sources (part of gathering content,) and photo uploading. That makes it easier to focus on the "content project" vs. the "tech project.""

I am so lucky to have stumbled across his expertise (love social media and PLNs!!), and am extremely grateful he was willing to share his thoughts and resources.  

Now that I was ready to work with students, in the initial lesson I introduced to WeVideo and allowed students to play with the different aspects of the tool. I used Keet's video to teach students so they could use it as a reference.  

This particular video project will last throughout the semester as students record and document their process as they train a particular animal. We discussed how to plan their video, how to back up their media throughout the process and how to create their video in segments. The final video will be used for assessment and for the student's portfolio as well as a potential promotional video for our school's Agri-Science & Technology Department. 

Video Planning Guide HyperDoc (posted below)
Animal Training Project Video Rubric


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