More on Digital Storytelling: Green Screen

I can’t stop thinking about Digital Storytelling and its role in schools of the future. Digital Storytelling naturally weaves through so many 21st century upgrades to the curriculum. The importance of being able to tell a story, the skills to be able to tell a story digitally, is increasing with the need to

  • disseminate the story further and reach a wider audience
  • amplify our voice to an authentic audience
  • make our story available in different media channels

As the tools for digital storytelling are becoming more sophisticated and at the same time easier to use, in terms of mobility and price, the opportunity to produce a quality, professional looking story are within the reach of “even” elementary school students.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a Green Screen for under $20 (Chromakey muslin background) and pinned it to the wall in my room.

Students were naturally curious about the green screen and immediately got excited as I showed them what was possible with test recordings of them… sending them to the moon… making them stand in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris… all without even leaving our school campus.

The third grade teacher immediately jumped on board as she was preparing her Social Studies unit on “Our Community”. We decided that students would create another episode of the Seminole Swamp Morning News Show.

In addition to creating a storyboard and writing the script for the show “Jacksonville for Kids by Kids”, students had to think of an appropriate setting by choosing an image that would replace the green screen they would be filmed in front of. Their imagination was not limited by any field trip budgets or time constraints.

Collaborative Storyboarding with Screenshots

We practiced a few times in front of the green screen to show kids how to interact with the “not visible to them” background as I was filming them.  They got the hang of it pretty quick.

Take a look at the final video and pay special attention to the Florida map and the alligator a the zoo. I chose to use the webcam in my macbook to directly record into iMovie in order to minimize any movement while filming. We also tested out different clothing colors on students to see which ones would work best with the green screen. Bright pink, white and purple seemed to be a great combination, while green and blue had some issues to transform students into see-through ghosts.

Take a look at the finished story of our third graders (news show format) to teach others about the community they live in. Remember again, that the green screen and iMovie was just the tool to get the kids excited and motivated while at the same time supporting their creativity in script writing.