Students get to play history detective. They pick someone to interview and then study the time period that the person was in seventh grade. We spent time brainstorming topics to ask about, writing open ended questions and several days researching national and international events that took place during the time their interviewee was in middle school. In the end, they usually build an iMovie that explains their parents (interviewee’s) middle school experience while addressing the essential questions. In years past, we have also use this project to teach iMovie in a failure free way.
Over the years this has produced 100’s of interviews with primary images from the time period that discuss the changes in the world. Students get to see first hand just how rapidly culture changes and spreads.
I thought that this year would be no different. Just like in years past, we have done the brainstorming, written the questions, interviewed the people and researched the events. Finally, the day has arrived that we devote to learning how to use iMovie to complete this project. The students finally get to take all of their puzzle pieces and place them together in a digital format to share with classmates and their family.
The media specialist and myself planned what we would teach about iMovie a week in advance. The day came and we began to teach students iMovie. After ten minutes or so we began to notice students starring at us as if we had lobsters crawling out of our ears. They were not getting it, what was rather simple for the previous years students, seemed a daunting task for this year’s students.
It seems a small glitch had occurred. We were teaching on iMovie ‘08 version 7.1.4., the version that all of the faculty computers include. This year students received new laptops with iMovie ‘09 version 8.0.6. That means everything we just showed the students to do is completely wrong. Not only were students unaware of how to use iMovie, we just spent 10 minutes showing them the wrong thing to do! Ok, what fix do we make? We will teach enhanced podcasting with links in GarageBand. GarageBand is a program we use regularly so teaching it at this point in the year would still work well. Unfortunately, you can guess… faculty have the ’08 version and students have ‘09.
But wait, it gets worse. The sixth graders have the older GarageBand and iMovie HD, so the teachers in the building don’t have a copy of the software that any student in our building has access to! That also means that the sixth grade is using a completely different version of software than the other students in the building. It is hard to teacher with comments like: “it won’t look like this, and you don’t click here, but click that.” And “well, I am not sure as I have never used that software or have access to it.” Teaches were not made aware of this issue, nor were we given any training on the new software. I felt frustrated and stupid. It will make for an interesting week.