Jacques Cousteau is sitting in your classroom and you just don’t know it!

Let’s face it. Your students love nature. They love computers. They love media. Why not have them create short documentaries about cheetahs, water lizards, polar bears, and more using real video footage, authentic sounds, and background music?

What? Your kids don’t know how to make videos? You don’t know where to get the media for the film? Well, let Nat Geo step in and save the day. Enter the Wildlife Filmmaker. Your kids do not need to be professionals, but they just might turn into them. Using drag and drop technology, National Geographic has done a wonderful job of simplifying the process for teachers (I say ‘teachers’ because the detail could kill us if we had to walk our younger students through the process in MovieMaker or iMovie).

The students will be given a code to write down when they are through to allow them to retrieve the video once they are completed. Now, retrieve means it will bring it back up and play it in the Nat Geo site. I did not see a way to download the video yet, but I am sure it will not be long. A teacher could very easily write the numbers down to create links on his/her web page for parents and students to view their creations.

So, if you are lucky enough to have an administrator order you to teach the things you wanted the students to learn but testing got in the way of, then try this out. The students can preview the animal clips and make a short video or two to try the site out. Then, once they are comfortable with it, they can do some research on the animal of choice and return to the site to make their own Animal Planet documentary short. The side benefit of this is that they will gain some great skills using the video timeline window on the site. It is very much like the software programs such as Windows MovieMaker, Apple’s iMovie, or the more advanced Apple Final Cut Studio we use in our high school.

Awesome tools for science and literacy (digital storytelling), so go give it a try! Let me know what you think about it.

4 thoughts on “Jacques Cousteau is sitting in your classroom and you just don’t know it!

  1. I’ve been using this site this week with my first graders. I have a 40 minute period with them. They were able to get logged on, listen to directions, make a movie, save it, copy the retrevial code and get logged off in that 40 minute slot. A few of them even added captions. They loved it. Since my IWB wasn’t working today I went to plan B with my third graders and had them make one as well. They needed minimal directions and enjoyed it as well.

    My wish for the program is more animal sounds to match all the great clips. Although listening to lions roaring while watching lobsters crawl across the ocean floor was pretty amusing!

    BTW, this is my first time to your blog. I love all your great links, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks so much, Nedra. I really appreciate you sharing the ease at which your students ran with this tool. If I had high speed out where I live, my son would never leave the site. He loves pretty much anything Nat Geo. Your point about the sounds is right on. They have a great item to draw the kids in, now pump it up just a little bit with more pics and audio so they can really enjoy it. Otherwise, it could get boring after a little bit.

    I hope you either subscribe to my site or come back. I look forward to hearing more from you and what your students are doing in the classroom with technology.

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