As a CTE Marketing teacher, one of my favorite projects each semester is our commercial creation project. For many students, this is the first time they will make any kind of video for production outside of TikTok or Instagram. The students follow a pretty strict process leading up to the filming and editing of their commercials. We start with assigning products, then brainstorming, storyboarding, script writing (down to the second), rehearsals, and finally filming and editing. In the past I have let students have free rein over the filming and editing process without a ton of guidance. This has always resulted in very creative projects; however, it has also led to much wasted time. I also learned as I started to launch the assignment in my class, that many students in the class did not have their own devices with which to film. Luckily, my district recently purchased 15 iPads for my CTE program. My question is:
What free apps are available for the iPad that will help teachers model and nurture creativity and creative expression in students as they create their own “television” commercials?
This focus directly connects to ISTE Standard 2.6 Facilitator: “educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students”, and more specifically to 2.6d: “Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections” (ISTE, n.d.).
I will surely be learning with my students as we go over the next 4.5 weeks because I have never made any kind of commercials utilizing an iPad before – therefore allowing me to be a living and breathing model for my students as a lifelong learner.
The first thing I investigated was how to teach creativity. This is not something I have ever given direct thought to in the past. I always try to include creative projects in my teaching, as I feel it is important to allow students opportunities for creativity, but I have never given thought to how one actually teaches someone to be creative. “Creativity requires curiosity, knowledge, hard work, risk-taking, intrinsic motivation, and imagination” (Bereczki & Kárpáti, 2021). According to Bereczki & Kárpáti (2021), creativity can be fostered and nurtured, though it is difficult to assess. Teacher’s creativity beliefs impact their implementation of creativity using DTs in the classroom (Bereczki & Kárpáti, 2021). I agree with Bereczki and Kárpáti, assessing creativity is a challenge.
One example I found for teaching creativity came from a second-grade classroom. Davis (2018) talks about the use of Da Vinci notebooks to foster creativity in 2nd grade students. Students kept notebooks all year in the same manner that Leonardo Da Vinci did. One thing I like about this is that it could be done on hard copy or digitally. It would be too easy to do a digital notebook utilizing a program like Zoho Notebook or the Notepad app from Apple. Davis goes on to explain that creativity is for everyone – not just “artists, writers and painters” (2018). This is a common misconception that many students have – they are not creative because they cannot paint or draw, or however else they measure creativity. According to Davis (2018), creativity helps to increase motivation, deepen understanding and increase joy in students – all things we should strive for in our classrooms. Davis gives a long list of ways to foster and develop creativity in the classroom with ideas such as: encourage autonomy, experiment with activities to promote and practice creativity, and to explain to students that creativity takes effort (2018). I think that it is a common misconception that creativity is just easy for some people. Davis (2018) also goes on to suggest ways for teachers to develop and nurture their own creativity – this is important for modeling – students need to see teachers practicing creativity.
As mentioned above, incorporating digital technologies (DT) into creativity, creativity instruction and creative expression is important in our technology driven society. “When students use digital technologies to share their experiences, they move from the primary creative experience of their own unique meaning making and toward the possibility of making a creative contribution to others (Runco & Beghetto, 2019, as cited in Beghetto, 2021). Working with DTs makes collaboration within the classroom and the greater global community much easier. In addition to creating opportunities for students to express themselves creatively, it is equally important to focus on experiences of failure with digital technologies and creative endeavors and how you (the teacher) worked through them – this helps to normalize any challenges and setbacks that the student/teacher may encounter during the creative process/assignment (Beghetto, 2021). People tend to get discouraged after a perceived failure, in my quilting classes when a student makes a mistake and notices it very late in the project, my go to phrase is “this is a creative opportunity, not a mistake.” It is important to recognize and normalize that making mistakes is normal and that we can turn mistakes into opportunities with the right mindset.
It is essential to point out that technology is not always the right answer. Mackenzie (2020) points out that there are drawbacks to technology and creativity, one example given to illustrate this is the use of calculators and the overreliance on them – to the potential detriment of problem-solving skills. Mackenzie (2020) posits the question of what happens to newer generations who are constantly surrounded by technology and experience instant gratification constantly – will this oversaturation of technology impact their ability to be creative? Mackenzie (2020) suggests that people need to find a balance between use of technology and living in the physical world. The point of view is a good reminder to incorporate both digital technology and non-digital technology when planning projects.
The digital tool I decided to focus on was iMovie, which is a free application. In addition to iMovie, Clips, Keynote, and Pages are all free apps that are useful in the creation of short videos. Another application that I investigated was Stop Motion Studio, this is a free app that also has a subscription feature. The reason I explored this app is that my students sometimes really enjoy doing stop motion animation for their commercial projects.
While researching iMovie and its potential usefulness in the commercial making project, I came across two helpful articles about teachers utilizing iMovie in their classrooms. According to Shinge (2017) iMovie is a versatile video editing application. Shingle offers step by step instructions on utilizing iMovie in the classroom, these instructions are written with students in mind. There are many benefits to using iMove including being able to create “exciting informative and creative video” that shows students understanding and analysis of assigned material. Students are able to add text, subtitles, title pages and edit for brevity, in addition to other fun features in iMovie (Shinge, 2017). Egbert (2017) also advocates for the use of technology to support parts of the creative process and provides video making as an example. Egbert (2017) encourages video editing software, including iMovie, to allow students the freedom to create amazing products. Technology can, according to Egbert (2017) “stir creative ideas, support their expression, facilitate and/or provide opportunity for creativity, and encourage the use of strategies and techniques, it can benefit the creative thinking process.”
As I am learning with my students, truly living ISTE standard 2.6 educator as facilitator and 2.1 educator as learner, I decided to look for some tutorials that would be helpful to me and my students. Apple offers a variety of free resources on creating using their free applications. One such book is “Everyone Can Create Videos” (Apple Education, 2018). One of the last chapters of the book has step by step instructions for utilizing a green screen in a video – the tutorial is well written and easy to follow by students, young and old. I appreciate that it uses academic vocabulary such as “foreground” and “background plate” – this is important for career and technical education courses as the intent is to set students up for a future career in the industry being taught and knowing the jargon in that industry will help set students up for success. In addition to using the green screen, which is something my students truly enjoy doing when making their commercials, there are also multiple projects in the book with step-by-step instructions – each project building in complexity and skill level. The final project in the book is a short film – I would compare a short film to a commercial. The instructions walk learners through the scriptwriting process all the way through production and editing. This is a great resource for my marketing students to learn how to use iMovie and make their commercials. The only downside to this resource is that you must use the Books app on the iPad, MacBook or iPhone – it is not available for PC or Chromebook users.
In addition to the book by Apple Education, there are also tutorials available directly from Apple: https://support.apple.com/imovie. Detailed instructions are available on this website and you can also navigate through the user guide and learn how to use each feature of the iMovie application. Another tutorial I found that I really like was https://blog.storyblocks.com/video-tutorials/getting-started-imovie/. The blogpost is titled: A beginner’s guide to getting started in iMovie (Petow, 2021). What I like about this post is that it is picture heavy. While video tutorials are nice, it can be hard to watch a video while trying to make a video. I did find a really nice video tutorial, made by a teacher for fellow teachers and students created by Hardy (2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGBK5VOK1po.
I am excited to have the opportunity to guide my students through this creative experience, while we all learn a new digital technology together.
Apple Education (Ed.). (2018). Everyone can create video. Apple Inc. https://books.apple.com/us/book/everyone-can-create-video/id1434350922
Beghetto, R. (2021). My favorite failure: Using digital technology to facilitate creative
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Bereczki, E., & Kárpáti, A. (2021). Technology-enhanced creativity: A multiple case study of digital technology-integration expert teachers’ beliefs and practices. Thinking Skills and Creativity 39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2021.100791
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Davis, L. (2018, December 17). Creative teaching and teaching creativity: How to foster creativity in the classroom. Psyche Learning Curve. http://psychlearningcurve.org/creative-teaching-and-teaching-creativity-how-to-foster-creativity-in-the-classroom/
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Egbert, J. (2017). Methods of education technology: Principles, practice, and tools. Pressbooks. https://opentext.wsu.edu/tchlrn445/
Hardy, C. (2015). iMovie for iPad basic editing tutorial (for my students) [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGBK5VOK1po
Henriksen, D., Creely, E., Henderson, M., & Mishra, P. (2021). Creativity and technology in teaching and learning: A literature review of the uneasy space of implementation. Educational Technology Research Dev 69(4), 2091-2108. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09912-z
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Mackenzie, M. (2020, December 28). Creativity in a world of technology: Does it exist? Smashing Magazine. https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2020/12/creativity-technology/
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Petow, C. (2021, March 1). A beginner’s guide to getting started in iMovie. Storyblocks. https://blog.storyblocks.com/video-tutorials/getting-started-imovie/
Shingle, M. (2017). Using iMovie to inspire creative top-notch projects in the classroom. C2C Digital Magazine, Spring/Summer. https://scalar.usc.edu/works/c2c-digital-magazine-spring–summer-2017/using-imovie-to-inspire-creative-top-notch
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