Friday, April 11, 2014

Pass The iPad: Collaborative Storytelling using Technology

iMovie's Edit Screen on  iPad during "Pass the iPad" activity
Need an activity to help your students integrate a little technology in their storytelling? Here's one that's both fun and educational: "Pass the iPad!"

Overview: Pass the iPad is a lesson that encourages students to work together as they invent a story while giving them exposure to iMovie on the iPad. In this activity, each student will have the chance to hold the iPad and film the person on their left. Students will verbally add a line to the story based on a pre-drawn picture prompt, drawn by someone in their group.

Materials: One post-it note per student. One iPad with iMovie (or other tablet with a basic film editor) per group.

Objectives: Working in a group, students will invent a story; practice oral language skills (listening and speaking); demonstrate creativity; film one another with iPad’s built-in camera; acquire basic editing techniques with iMovie on the iPad.

Ideal group size: 7-12

Time: 50 Minutes

Grade Level: 6th-12th

Getting Started: Before class starts, form students into small groups (depending on the number of available iPads). Although this activity can be done with fewer students, it’s most fun when there are between 7 to 12 students. Provide each student with a post-it note. Instruct each student in the group to draw one “picture” on it. (In order to provide some structure and to avoid students drawing inappropriate things, ask each student to “number off” and give them limited choice. For example:
-Number Ones: “Draw a picture of something an average student might have in their backpack.”

-Number Twos: “Draw a fruit.”

-Number Threes: Draw something one might pack and take with them on a week-long trip.”

-Number Fours: Draw a picture that represents a “verb” , i.e. stick figure of a person running, jumping, etc.”

-Number Fives: Draw a picture that represents an emotion, i.e. a smiley face, heart, etc…”

-Number Sixes: Draw a picture that represents direction, i.e. an arrow up, down, etc…”

-Number Sevens: Draw something electronic, i.e. computer, cell phone, light bulb.”
(You can add more creative ideas depending on how many you have participating in your groups).

When students are finished drawing their picture on a post-it note, instruct them to trade their post-it note with the person sitting across from them (so they don’t have their own post-it). Give them about one minute to clarify with the person who drew the picture what it actually is.

Passing the iPad: The first storyteller will start the story with the words: “Once upon a time…” and then add something to the story (prompted by the picture drawn on his or her post-it). Each part spoken must be inspired by the picture on their post-it note and should attempt to move the story forward. For example, Suzy, the first storyteller, is holding a post-it with a picture of an apple. Suzy might say, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Jesse who was reading a fairy tale under an old apple tree. All all of a sudden, an apple fell on her head and caused her to fall in a deep, deep sleep.”

The whole time Suzy is talking, she is being filmed by the student seated on her right. When Suzy is done telling her part of the story, she takes the iPad from the person on her right, and films the next storyteller who is seated on her left. Students will continue on in this manner, passing the iPad, filming the person on their left, until everyone in the circle has added something to the story.

By the time the story gets to the last person, the story should be brought to a close -- so the last story teller should give the story some kind of closure.

Rules: Only one student is permitted to speak at a time. No coaching anyone on what to say.

Editing on the iPad: Allow students about five minutes to arrange the clips on the timeline in the order they were recorded. If you wish, it may be helpful to show students how to trim the clip (to cut away any excess video at the beginning or end of each student’s segment). If time permits, students can add a title at the beginning of the video.

Tip: iMovie on the iPad automatically uses a cross dissolve transition between clips. This can make it difficult to hear the first and last words of each clip; therefore, I recommend showing the students how to change the cross dissolve to a straight cut.

Present your Stories to the Class: Collect the iPads and show them all the videos on your LCD projector (using the appropriate VGA or HDMI adapter, of course). We won’t be winning any Oscars for this, so don’t let your students be perfectionists.

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