Student: I did as you suggested and made my video for my German project, but when my teacher tried to play it, it wouldn’t play. Can you help me figure out what’s wrong? It played at home.
Me: Sure. Let’s look at it.
(insert thumb drive browse for file)
Me: I’m not seeing a video file on here, can you help me find it?
Student: It’s here, named germanproject
Me: Uh-oh, problem. This is not a video, but rather an unfinished video-and one that looks like it was created in MovieMaker. Let’s load it and I’ll show you how to “finish” it, and it should be good to go. (Project loads, but collection files are no where to be found, so timeline is blank.)
Student: That’s odd, in Mr. M’s class the timeline did have something there, but they were little red x’s.
Me: Where are the files you used to go in the timeline? What did you use to make your video?
Student: We used video clips and a song or two from that site you told me about the other day. We used my sister’s computer to put it together.
Me: Then all your files are on your sister’s computer. Let me show you what you will need to do. Go back to her computer, insert your thumb drive, open the unfinished movie. If the red x’s show up, click on them and browse, and they will again be in your collection. Once all the files are back in view, click the 3rd step called “Finish Movie.”
Student: I did not even notice that before!!
Me: And know that this 3 minute video will probably take anywhere for twice to four times as long to render, or “make” the final movie. But the final video will have .wmv on the end, and the icon will look like this.
Studnet: Oh no, that means our project will be late!
Me: Nah probably not. Mr. M knows you had the project, just that it had some issues. You can explain tomorrow what you had to do.
Student: You know what, Mrs. Nelson? There were SEVERAL groups who had the same problem.
Me: Wow, you can go to class tomorrow and tell them what happened if they haven’t already figured it out.
Student: Thanks, Mrs, Nelson. I hope and pray this works!
Me: There is more I need to tell you.
One: When making videos, all the files used should be collected and put in a folder together, and then imported into whatever program you are using to edit it. If it is something that you will work on over a few days and on different computers, a large thumbdrive is okay, but not best. I personally use an external harddrive that has the 7200 spin rate–fast and keeps longer video projects from skipping.
Two: when the project is finished, watch it. Make sure it has everything in it you thought you put there. Movie Maker is a free editing program, and well, you get what you pay for.
Three: Once you move your video from one computer or flashdrive to another location, play it to check it again. Or you may get somewhere and not realize you don’t have it.
Four: Consider uploading projects to a website or video hosting site as a backup plan too.
(A day later Student returns to the library with her copartner, and runs over wrapping me in a bear hug.)
Student: It worked, it worked, it worked! I had to restore the files from the trash–my sister had deleted but thank goodness not emptied her recycle bin. We were able to finalize–it took a whopping 12 minutes!! But Mr. M said our project was the best so far! Thanks, Thanks, THANKS!!!
Me: Ah it was nothing–you did all the work–and you knew who to come to with help. All you! But I do want you to do one thing for me? Go back and tell Mr. M and all your classmates WHO helped you!
Student: Don’t think we didn’t already do that!
I’ve had numerous instances similar to this over the last month or so at school. Not the same program, but different ones and different issues. So much so in fact that my co-partner and I think we need to offer thirty minute sessions in the library in the morning for students, believe it or not. I would like to offer the following:
- Video help – Useful tips to make a video for a project
- Google Docs – What to do if you don’t have Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Spreadsheets at home
- Wiki – an online solution for storing your digital projects
- Creative Commons – music, images, more
- Beyond Powerpoint – digital solutions for projects that DO NOT include Powerpoint
Now I know educators probably need this as much or more than our kids do. And we’d like to offer it to teachers too. But teachers tend to be very busy, and are want to blow off early morning or after school professional development that is optional. But I think if we target our kids, maybe…just maybe…some of our teachers will come too.
Can you think of other topics? Logistically speaking, can we cover that content in a single morning session that lasts 30 minutes? Should we spread it across a few days per topic? Should I recruit students to teach instead of me? My student from above would be perfect for teaching kids about Movie Maker I do believe.
Please share your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.
FlickrCC Image: ‘Stash Space’s Rachel Evans‘