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Increasing motivation and engagement using Movie Maker and PowerPoint

Tags: Social sciences | BYOD | iPads | Multimedia – graphics/animation | Multimedia – video | Presentation | Secondary | Upper secondary |

Movie Maker is no longer available from Microsoft. For alternative video editing software see:  

Students at Howick College increased their motivation to learn and their ownership of the learning process by using the multimedia tools Movie Maker and PowerPoint, and other mobile technologies.

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

The context

Year 11 geography students at Howick College were required to demonstrate their knowledge of important geographic ideas, specifically, to describe processes and interactions in a natural hazard, NCEA Geography Level 1 .

The teacher wanted students to:

  • use new ways of responding to and recording learning
  • encounter learning through a variety of contexts and tasks
  • have access to resources that related to their interests.

The teacher thought that increased access to technology would create a learning environment that would better meet the needs and interests of diverse learners.

Selecting Multimedia presentation tools

Students were asked to use Movie Maker or PowerPoint to create a learning object – a two-minute multimedia presentation that demonstrated their understanding of the underpinning geographic ideas.

The teacher hoped that these tools would enhance the relevance of learning, help students take the learning further, and provide opportunities for student voice.

The students used the recording capabilities of their mobile devices to demonstrate the learning process. For example, they recorded their thinking and ideas, and recorded conversations with teachers, guest speakers, and experts from field trips and museum visits. As students planned and organised media for their presentations, they wrote narrative scripts and also recorded these on their mobile devices.

Students quickly realised the value of developing their own multimedia presentations in relation to their learning. However, access to the learning object was often limited to the school environment and timetable.

Students introduced the idea of transferring video files to their phones. This resulted in increased student engagement and ownership of learning.

They were also able to use their devices to:

  • record artefacts to support their learning
  • collaborate, peer assess, and share their learning with parents and whānau
  • utilise increased opportunities to think and talk about their learning.

Student outcomes

Students were excited by the opportunity to integrate the use of mobile technologies, especially their own, to support and demonstrate their learning. While the technology was not new, two key motivators for the students were:

  • opportunities to be involved directly in decisions relating to their own learning
  • relevance of new technologies to support learning in a school environment.

Students valued the increased access to content through their own devices, rather than having to wait for a school computer. This also provided opportunities for students to practise and transfer new learning, for example, using and sharing learning objects to revisit learning.

Students recognised opportunities to review and revisit their thinking and learning in a time and place that suits them, especially in preparing for examinations.

The opportunity to create learning objects using mobile devices made a significant difference to the way students viewed ownership of their learning. They were able to clearly describe how this approach might be used in other learning areas.


Listen to Nathan Kerr explain how mLearning – the provision of digital information on portable devices – can “open doors for learning any time and in any place”. He raises the prospect of challenges for the future around etiquette (dos and don’ts) of mobile device use in schools, the protocols (how-tos), and sharing examples of success so that New Zealand teachers may be recognised as world leaders in this field.

Online discussions

Join the Virtual Learning Network (VLN)  and participate in these discussions.

BYOD in Schools  – a community group with discussions and a collection of interesting readings from NZ educators.
Managing BYOD at Albany
BYOD: How to use mobile technologies effectively  – featuring Dorothy Burt, Mark Quigley, and Donna Smith sharing their vision, process and progress, benefits and challenges for BYOD in their schools.