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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Student Projects: Zeitgeist 2013-14 using YouTube Video Editor

Earlier in the year I came up with my genius idea to have students create their own zeitgeist video. You can read more about that here. (Note: If you haven't seen the Google zeitgeist videos that they create every year featuring their most searched stories they are both linked in that post.) I had all sorts of ideas as to how we were going to pull this off, but nothing was really coming together the way I had envisioned it. I wanted them to create something similar to what Google does in both spirit and in quality. Yea I know we are at a severe disadvantage when competing with Google for the 'cool' factor. We finally got to the point where we had to start actually making something. I tried a lot of ideas, none really fit what we needed. Then someone mentioned the YouTube Video Editor. It makes sense that if you are going to try to make a project like Google that you would use their help.

One of my issues with student projects is that they work hard and the only people who see it are their parents, and the teacher. A few rare, great ones are seen by more. Using this allows for a true worldwide audience. The goal is to create their own video that is good enough to put on display for the world.

Here is why we are using the video editor. Students can create and edit their own videos the way they want to; the project becomes an extension of how they see the world. You can upload your own videos, but most students don't have footage of the Winter Olympics or the Ukraine conflict. This is the real genius of the video editor. You can search the creative commons videos, copyright free, and get footage of what you are looking for. You can also add images (my students have become quite versed in creative commons image search), text, music (the editor allows for copyright free music and has an extensive database), and transitions. One of the nice things about using this is students can work on it at home or where ever they may be. They just log into their Google account and then into YouTube. Changes are saved automatically like on docs or blogger. A true worldwide audience. A project they can be proud of and show off and keep. No worries about using images, video, or music that is copyrighted and they could get in trouble for using.

I spent a day in the computer lab working with each student making sure they knew what they were doing. Some figure it out quickly, some needed more help, all realized how using the video editor would allow their voice to come through and make something worthwhile. They are not due for another month but I feel like we now have the right tool for the job.

FYI each week from now to then they have to write up the events they are adding to their video. Explain what the event is and why they are adding it. Events should reflect what has happened globally since the start of school, with a topics from each region we have covered as well as any local events they feel were significant to the community, school, or themselves. One of the nice things about this project is students will include events like the Olympics, but show it from their perspective. Obviously many events will be in every video, but each student will put their own spin on the event. No two videos will be exactly alike. Each one will have its own voice and individuality.

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