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Retelling stories using FrameByFrame and iMovie

Tags: English | Multimedia – graphics/animation | Multimedia – video | Lower primary | Primary |

Students at Onehunga-Cuthbert Kindergarten in Auckland improved their storytelling by producing and sharing their stories with the help of animation software.

"Our school regularly reviews the way technology is embedded in effective learning and teaching."
eLPF 2014

Building on the child’s interests

The decision to create an animated story was prompted by a young student’s interest in animals. This student had been talking about animals with the teacher, and had created model animals at the glue gun station using ice cream sticks, sheepskin pieces, craft eyes, and cardboard cylinders.

The student watched educational videos about animals to help answer questions and used a digital microscope to explore insects in more detail.

The teacher encouraged the student to make up a story involving the animal characters they had created. The story was documented and formatted onto a page for their portfolio where it could be revisited and shared.

Using FrameByFrame and iMovie

The teacher wanted to develop an animated version of the student’s story to incorporate technology into the kindergarten programme, and offer another medium for the student’s creativity and expression. Other students showed interest and so the project was expanded to include them.

The teacher decided to use FrameByFrame , a free, downloadable software package for Mac. The simplicity of FrameByFrame means that pre-school children can take webcam shots with minimal adult support. The screen presentation is easy to interpret.

The teacher read out the story and the students posed the animal models to create scenes which they then captured using a laptop and a camcorder on a tripod.

Once the scenes were captured, the teacher worked with the students to edit the movie using iMovieHD . The author of the story dictated the script using an external microphone and the audio recording function in the iMovie software. The students then discussed the kinds of sounds that would enrich the story and imported some iMovie sound effects.

After additional teacher editing, the iMovie project was exported as a Quicktime movie for viewing. The completed movie was shared with others in the kindergarten, and with students’ families. In one home, the video was broadcast on a closed-circuit family television network for extended family members to enjoy.

Student outcomes

The outcomes of this activity were that the students:

  • were able to re-tell a story from beginning to end, putting events in order
  • were able to use voice and sound effects to enrich the story
  • gained understanding about how digital technology can support and extend their creative ideas
  • developed strategies and skills for working with others.