Wow! What a journey this course has been. When I first started the course, I was unsure where it would lead me or what I ultimately wanted to learn. The initial brainstorm for our Reading Review led me down a path of inquiry focused on motivating students while developing their literacy skills. Too often, I see students, as they get older, lose interest and excitement in learning. Thus, I wanted to find ways to reignite that spark that seems to have dulled with time.
My Reading Review inquiry led me down a path of strategies, such as digital storytelling, transmedia storytelling, and multimodal texts, to teach students that were fun, engaging, motivating, and full of literacy learning. It left me feeling excited and inspired. I had so many ideas percolating in my mind and so many projects that I can now integrate into my teaching when I return from my maternity leave.
Our Inquiry phase was also another interesting and inspiring journey of learning from ways to foster reading to ICT and professional development to world libraries. I learned tremendously from every single inquiry and from each of my peer’s blogs. I loved seeing how each of us interpreted the inquiry in our own unique ways, and I have emerged from these readings more knowledgeable and empowered and, as a result, a better teacher and teacher-librarian.
When it came time to narrow down my Future Vision Project, I spent a great deal of time reflecting on my learning throughout the course. I honed in on what I originally wanted to learn from my early brainstorm and what was a common theme throughout my blogs. In the end, it became quite obvious that I wanted to 1) motivate students in their literacy learning and 2) help my staff see the teacher-librarian (me) as an instructional leader. The best way to meld these two concepts together, in my eyes, was to lead a professional development workshop for my staff on something that would motivate students in their literacy learning. Originally, I thought I would do something around Inanimate Alice and transmedia storytelling. However, after much reflection, I realized that I wanted to do something that would reach more of my staff (I felt that Inanimate Alice would be more geared towards upper intermediate students). Although I plan on using Inanimate Alice in the future and would like to share it with staff members, it didn’t feel like the right “fit” for this project. While I looked back on my learning, it became quite obvious that conducting a workshop on book trailers would fit the bill.
Why book trailers? Well, book trailers can apply to every student and teacher in my school. By conducting a workshop on book trailers, I will get my staff to create ones that we can present to the entire school in assemblies and in the library. This will excite students to not only check out new books (that their teachers love nonetheless!), but also get them motivated to create their own. In order to foster a love for reading, we need to model reading. Showcasing books we love via book trailers is one avenue to get these creative juices flowing.
Because I plan on leading a workshop, it will help the staff view me in a new light – not just as the “manager” of the library, but as an instructional leader and collaborative partner. The workshop will provide me with the opportunity to offer my assistance and collaboration in implementing these book trailer lessons with the teachers’ classes where they can reinforce their learning not only of how to make book trailers but of the technology they use (Windows Movie Maker).
When students create their own book trailers, it requires them to truly know and understand the books they have chosen. They have to know the plot, characters, and setting in order to “sell” their book. Not only that, but it requires creativity and persuasive writing and it incorporates digital and media literacy skills. Although it seems like an easy, “fun” project, it actually requires a lot of thinking, knowledge, and understanding.
Of course, I didn’t want to limit myself to just my staff, so I decided to create my Book Trailer Presentation on Emaze, which is online presentation software. In this way, my presentation will be available for others to view and use, which will consequently benefit other teachers and adults/students who want to learn how to make book trailers with Windows Movie Maker.
Before I got started on my presentation, I needed to make sure I knew how to use the program to actually make the book trailers. After doing some research, I knew there were many different options that I could use (such as Animoto, Powtoon, iMovie, Photo Story 3, and Movie Maker). Knowing the restrictions for online tools in my district, I decided to stick with programs that teachers could use on their laptops, which narrowed my options down to Photo Story 3 and Movie Maker. After playing around with both programs and creating some simple book trailers with them, I decided to use Windows Movie Maker for my project. I liked that it provided some extra features and felt that the user interface was a little more friendly and flexible.
Creating my presentation on Emaze was relatively simple. The free program is actually really easy to use and navigate. They provide a large number of templates and although it is somewhat similar to Power Point, it offers quite different features and options. I like that it has more interesting templates to use and automatically provides transitions.
Along with the presentation, I decided to create a worksheet for staff to use with students and a handout for them to reference if they decide to play around with the program at home. I created the worksheets and handout with Microsoft Word. I, like most of us, am quite proficient with Microsoft Word and have been creating my own worksheets and handouts for year, so this was a relatively easy thing for me to do (once I had figured out what I wanted on each of them). For images in the directions, I simply took screen shots and used Paint.net to crop/edit them (again, I’ve done this before, so it was simple for me to do).
One aspect that was new (and a bit intimidating) to me during this project was taking screen capture videos. I had never done this in the past, but was game to try something new. After a cursory search on Google, I ended up downloading CamStudio, a free program. It was easy to use and seemed like a good fit. However, after experimenting with the program for a bit, I discovered that it had issues when saving longer videos. Therefore, I decided to find a new program and came across IceCream Screen Recorder. This program, also free, was actually easier to use than Cam Studio, had a friendlier user-interface, and allowed me record videos up to 10 minutes long. I used this program to record my videos and edited them in Windows Movie Maker. Although I don’t have extensive experience using Movie Maker, because I had been using it to create book trailers, using it to edit/combine/split my screen capture videos came relatively easy.
With all my pieces completed (the worksheets, videos, book trailer samples, and slideshow), I compiled them together for my finished product, which you can access below. Unfortunately, because I have the free version of WordPress, I cannot embed my Emaze presentation directly, but you can access it via the link. Please note that I was having some issues with viewing the presentation in Chrome (it was cutting off some of the title slides), so you may want to try view it in an alternate browser, such as Firefox, if you have this issue.
All in all, I am extremely happy with how my final project turned out. I feel confident in my ability to not only make book trailers, but to present a workshop on them, to use the different technologies involved, and to meet my initial goals (to motivate students in their literacy learning, to foster a reading culture, and to demonstrate my role as an instructional leader and collaborative partner). I look forward to conducting this workshop in the future (and for sharing it with those around the world).
Emaze. (2015). [Image of Emaze Logo]. Retrieved from https://www.emaze.com
Emaze. (2014). [Image of Emaze templates]. Retrieved from http://venturebeat.com/2014/11/03/cloud-based-presentation-software-emaze-david-throws-2m-at-goliath-aka-powerpoint/
GotCredit. (2015). [Image of Inquiry Keyboard Button]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/jakerust/16226078303
Icecream Screen Recorder. (2015). [Image of Icecream Screen Recorder]. Retrieved from http://icecream-screen-recorder.en.softonic.com/
LRMS Library. (2015). [Image of Book Trailer]. Retrieved from http://lrmslibrary.wikispaces.com/Book+Trailers
Ragan, Lee-Anne. (2010). [Image of Journey Life Lens Necklace]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/36611372@N08/5346376267