T he constructivist approach to learning and teaching has been around since before education
philosopher John Dewey, but never before have students been able to combine
powerful video-mixing tools and online
resources with multiple methods of sharing and collaborating. Today, the rapidly
growing maker movement promises to
promote creativity, productivity, and
community involvement in the form of
student-made products, including programmable robots, 3D printer designs,
and cloud-based productions.
The latest trend is to go beyond the
creation of videos, podcasts, and multimedia slide shows to produce mashups,
which are combinations of many media
elements. The applications featured here
enable students and teachers to mix media
together and enhance them with personalized add-ons and existing public domain
media, such as photos, videos, and music.
Popcorn Maker ( popcorn.webmaker.org)
allows you to customize instructional presentations, such as Khan Academy videos
( www.khanacademy.org), with your own
directions or questions for your students, either with recorded audio or text
bubbles. You can also add related links,
maps, and live feeds as pop-ups while the
video plays (see L&L, May 2013, “Refresh
Your Flipped Classroom with Interactive
Video,” pages 10–11).
A team at Teacher’s College at Columbia University developed Vialogues,
which uses existing videos and sets up
a dialog window to encourage conversations about the video. The video could
be one of your own lessons, a student
skit, or a class debate. As an added bonus,
there is an archive of timely, thought-provoking videos with ongoing Vialogue
WeVideo has the unique feature of offering three levels of complexity to stu-
dents with different levels of experience
and skill. The tool also has a structure to
support video editing collaborations.
Kids Motion is a template-driven tool.
It is designed so that young children can
choose a theme, add media, and share
Pow Toon provides animation tools
for creating “explainer videos” in the
Common Craft ( www.commoncraft.
com) style. Wideo also has easy-to-use
animation tools with cartoon-like characters that younger children would enjoy.
Sharing and Collaboration
These tools expand the ability to share
student productions. You can easily post
video to Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, or
your own blog or webpage. Most of these
applications include collections of existing
projects so that students can easily search
them, save projects as favorites, and review them later. Some creators are extending the possibilities of their cloud-based
mashup tools by developing structures of
their own to promote user communities.
Ironically, face-to-face events where all
ages meet to show off their creations are
booming. Webmaker, a project led by the
nonprofit Mozilla, hosts maker parties
that include “design sprints, code-a-thons,
teen tech bashes, and father/daughter hack
jams.” At makerfaire.com you can learn
more about the growing maker movement
and related events around the world.
No matter what tool you choose, a
successful classroom experience includes
careful planning and attention to curriculum goals. It is easy to get carried away
with eye-catching special effects, but the
true value is in the creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication, which happen to be the four C’s in
the 21st Century Skills framework and key
components of ISTE’s NETS for Students.
—Maureen Yoder, EdD, is on the faculty of Lesley
University’s Educational Technology Program.