Empowering All Students through Mobile Device Filmmaking
If you stepped into a classroom to find a student holding up an iPad and diligently filming the action and dialogue of several other students, it would be reasonable to think you’d walked into a filmmaking class. But in the case of Anthony Stirpe’s classroom, you’d be wrong. He’s teaching English Language Arts.
Anthony, a teacher in New Rochelle, New York was recognized by Apple for his use of technology in the classroom. He has been teaching for twenty years, but four years ago he decided to significantly change the way he taught English in an attempt to better engage his students.
What Can Students Learn Through Mobile Device Filmmaking?
“[Students] learned all the ins and outs of filmmaking, like how to hold a camera and work with the different pieces of equipment. And they clearly learned scriptwriting,” Anthony said. In his segment on poetry, he first addressed how to read and analyze a poem. He covered simile, metaphor, assonance, and rhyme. After the class analyzed poems in a traditional manner, students were broken into groups of six to create a film on how the poem they studied applied to the life of a high school student. The assignment challenged not only the students’ understanding of the poem but also their creativity and ability to collaborate.
Student movies were filmed over the course of either one or several class periods. Some were serious and thought-provoking, others funny. In either case, the students not only covered English curriculum material, they also had fun. Anthony’s students created documentaries and video stories in addition to their work on poetry.
To see more on Anthony Stirpe’s Poetry Project, see this YouTube video.
Apps Can Give Mobile Device Filmmaking a Professional Finish
If you’re interested in incorporating filmmaking into your classroom, there are a variety apps your students can use to put a finishing touch on video shot on an iPad or smartphone. Apps like CELTX let students plan their scenes in advance of filming by sketching out where props will be placed on their sets and through the use of storyboards. SPARK lets students apply filters to short segments of video. Apps like iMovie, Final Cut for Mac and Movie Maker for Windows allow students to edit their film.
Students are inspired by moviemaking. It makes classroom learning more fun and conjures dreams of future careers. With the power of today’s mobile devices, much of the equipment you need to incorporate filmmaking into your curriculum may already be in your classroom.