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WebMentors Teacher Helpline: NYC Helpline: How To: Incorporate Technology in the Classroom

Creating Multimedia Class Projects by Allisyn Levy

One of my favorite projects to do with my students is creating a multimedia class presentation, incorporating video, photos, and sound. Following is the most recent project we created; and hopefully it will inspire you to come up with other possibilities.

Throughout the year, we are always taking photos in my classroom. In my article on using iPhoto I described the simple folder system that I use to organize photos of each student. This year, we have a fabulous student teacher, who I was sure to photograph while she was teaching my class during her time with us. To begin a multimedia class project, the first step is to collect the media: photographs and/or video clips. For this project, I took all the photos, which were stored in iPhoto. For other multimedia projects, I’ve had students be the documentarians and take photographs or videotape whatever our subject matter was.

Once I’ve taken a bunch of photos, I import them into iMovie. You can also import video clips into iMovie. Drag photos/video clips down to the timeline in the order you want them to appear in the movie. Now that you’ve got your visual material ready, it’s time to prepare for the audio!

Each student was invited to write a positive thought or memory about his/her time with our student teacher. This can be just a few simple sentences on index cards. The students rehearse their lines so that they are fluent and expressive, and are confident and ready to be recorded. Using a USB microphone that plugs right into my computer, I have students come up one at a time and record their message. Having the external USB microphone makes it easy to record in a busy classroom, since it captures only the voice closest to the microphone (an EXTREMELY valuable investment for a multimedia classroom!). *Be sure to set your sound preferences to the USB microphone in your System Preferences (it should pop up automatically), and keep an eye on the audio levels in iMovie. Again, with this project, I recorded each student, but you can easily teach a student to be the “audio engineer” and record their classmates by hitting record and pause for each student.

For that extra special touch, the kids and I decide on a song to include in the background. Click on the Audio Tab in iMovie, you will see your iTunes library pop up. Select the song you want and set your Playhead arrow where you want the song to start in the movie. Click on “Place at Playhead,” and your song will import on the second audio track. You can then edit the volume of the song. I usually place a few titles in the beginning and at the end of our project, allowing the song to play at full volume, and then fade the song out while my kids are speaking. The music will make the whole presentation more powerful!

When it’s time to share our presentation, we watch it in full screen through iMovie, projected onto our classroom SmartBoard. I also burn a copy for my student teacher and anyone else we want to share the movie with. I’ve had good success burning a class copy that students take turns checking out from our “multimedia class library.” If students don’t have access to a computer at home, they are welcome to invite their family in to watch the video before or after school. These are also fantastic to share for Parents as Learning Partners or any type of family celebrations.

Do you have a question or comment about this article? E-mail Allisyn.



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