Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RSA Animate Project Reflection

The RSA animate video project is wrapping up, time for a reflection.

I have received some positive feedback about the project from my students, educators on twitter and other teachers in the building.  Based on the level of participation, quality of the final product and overall excitement and energy in the class I think the project was a success.

For anyone who is interested in the same type of project, here is the process.

1. Gather information - I usually spend about 2-3 weeks per topic.  In this time the students are gathering information about the topic we are studying.  (Students read, analyzed and wrote about a primary source document for each Enlightenment thinker we covered.)

2. Create - We spend about a week per unit creating something.  Within the week of creation here was our schedule:
Monday: Planning & Writing
Tuesday: Writing
Wednesday: Begin Filming
Thursday: Filming & Voice overs
Friday: Finish voice overs

3. Students complete story boards for each scene in their film & wrote scripts for the voice over.

4. Once students were ready to film, we set up the classroom with three "frames" on the front dry erase board & had flip cameras set up on tripods facing the board.

4. When the filming is complete I used iMovie to edit the video clips together.
To manage the number of projects (25), within iMovie I created a new event for each group and created a Project Folder for each class period, and a project for each group.

5. Once the video was imported from the flip camera, the audio is stripped from the footage and the footage is sped up to 400%. Here is a tutorial on how to speed up footage in iMovie.

6. Each group would then individually record voice overs in the hallway.  Within iMovie, there is an easy voice over feature that allowed each group to record the audio in about 10 minutes. Here is a tutorial on doing voice overs in iMovie.

Here are two final products:

We will be finishing up all of the projects tomorrow...I am exhausted.  Managing this many groups, video clips, editing, voice overs and anything else that pops up is challenging.  But, watching every student in every group participate to make sure the project comes together is extremely rewarding.  My students are engaged, excited, collaborating, thinking and contributing to a positive learning environment.

If you are interested in trying out a similar project, send me a message via twitter: @gregkulowiec or leave a message on the post.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Mr. K,

    I'll be coming to see you and talk about the technical details (hardware and software requirements). I want to join the experiment and I'll start with my Engineering Design elective. We read quite a bit, and I want to find a creative way to let them show what they've learned.

    Congratulations on finding ways to move forward with new and interesting ideas, and thanks for the inspiration!


  2. Hi Greg,

    I'm interested in trying the common craft videos and the RSA animation. I admire your ability to come up with innovative ideas to infuse your classes with energy, your own and that of the students.

    I'll be coming down the hall to work out details of software and hardware so I can try these tools in my Engineering Design elective. We read a lot and I want students to have a creative way to show me what they've learned.


  3. I think this is a great way to integrate social media in the classroom, and new tech, but I felt like it missed a point: students seem to be simply 'reciting' content given to them, it doesnt show a lot of independent research (as both videos cover same thinkers) and maybe that wasn't a goal but it doesn't show they understand how the cultural and political context of enlightnment ideas.

  4. Thank you for your comment Madalena. You are correct, there wasn't a lot of independent research, and the groups did use the same material that we covered in class. My goal with this project was not to have them explain the cultural and political context or impact of these ideas, simply to explain the ideas themselves. Are you they perfect, absolutely not. I wanted the students to creatively figure out how they would retell and reteach the ideas from five enlightenment thinkers. My perspective is that when students are engaged (they were) and having fun (they were) they will remember the content, put forth a sincere effort, think for themselves and learn. I really think this project achieved those goals.

    Thank you for reading and providing a comment that truly made me think about the project and how I can improve it for the future.


  5. Wow, this is great stuff, Greg. When I saw on Twitter that you were going to "upgrade" your video project from CommonCraft-style to RSA Animate-style, I wondered if you could pull it off. And while these aren't the same quality as the RSA Animate videos, they are pretty darn impressive. I'm also thinking that when next year's students see these videos, they'll raise the bar!

  6. I did this with my APWH classes and they loved it! Thanks so much for the idea!

  7. I have a strategy where students produce 'Learning Resources' on a topic they are studying - for use by next year's students.. Greg your idea is great and sparks many other possibilities.