You don't have to spend a lot of money or time to create exciting videos. Use one or more of these programs to create movies that will capture the essence of a lesson, the excitement of a field trip, or the creativity of a child. Check out the ideas for using these programs in your curriculum (below).

Windows Movie Maker is already installed on most computers with Windows operating systems. It's free, easy to use and is capable of combining video segments and/or still pictures with audio and/or voice overs. You can split videos into pieces and remove what you don't want, retaining the originals. Add a title, transitions, video effects and credits and voila! you have a video to be proud of. You can save the finished video to be played back on your computer or shared via email, the Web, or CD. If you don't find Movie Maker on your computer, click the link for more information. Windows Movie Maker

Windows PhotoStory 3 - This is probably one of the best free programs for digital story telling. It is not preloaded on your computer, so you will need to downloadit from Microsoft, but the installation is quick and easy and well worth it. While Photostory 3 can't incorporate video segments as Movie Maker can, it makes still pictures 'move' by panning across or zooming in or out of each photograph that is used. Text can be added to the photos and the 'story' can be narrated. The program has basic photo editing tools to fix your less than perfect shots. One bit of advice: when taking your photos, use a large file size if possible. You can pan across photos less than 1024x768, but to zoom in closely, the large the file size, the better. You can save PowerPoint slides as jpgs to use in your PhotoStory, too...just don't zoom in too far. Add music to your PhotoStory from the program library or your own.

Ideas for Using PhotoStory or MovieMaker in the Curriculum

  • Have students create a digital story to tell about different story elements in a reading, show you geometric shapes they have learned, or report on important historical events, people or places.
  • Pre-load images from a story out of order, and then save the file as a project (.wp3). Have students rearrange the pictures to assess them for their understanding of sequencing. Even kindergartners can show their knowledge by narrating over the pictures.
  • Load pictures of a concept being studied, such as cycles in the science curriculum, characters in a story, historical events, or types of clouds. Allow students to open the project file (.wp3) and label the pictures. Also, they can add narration and give more information, such as definitions.
  • Have students create digital books by scanning/photographing their illustrations and adding narration.
  • Scan young students' writing and artwork and let them narrate over by reading the story.
  • Create Mother's Day videos using student artwork and messages.
  • For math, students can find pictures of geometric shapes in the real world, put them in a photo story and either label or tell about the shapes.

FlipShare for your Flip videos - If you have never used a Flip Camera, you can't imagine how easy it is to take videos, put them together to make a movie and share with friends...all with the built in software. Check it out at the Flipshare web site.