By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Southborough – With a new recording studio complete with green screen, lights, iPad, tripod, microphone and more, the students at the Margaret Neary Elementary School are excited to write and present projects where their scripts will “come to life.”
Fourth-grade teacher Karyn Fisher and Amy Brewis, instructional technology specialist, applied for a grant for the school. It was awarded in November by the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce and the school used it to create the studio.
“We were trying to brainstorm innovative ways in which we could expand on what we do with the iPads,” Fisher said. “The possibilities are limitless and we could not be more excited.”
To introduce the studio, the students wrote a five-paragraph essay about their New Year’s resolutions and made a video standing in front of the green screen displaying fireworks.
“This was then put into another app. This is known as ‘app smashing,’ which is basically when you take multiple apps together to create a final product,” Brewis explained. “So they are using the green screen app to create the video but then that is being imported into another app and then they are doing the writing in the second app.”
After experiencing a taste of what the new equipment can do, the students are eagerly awaiting the next project. The recording studio enables the students to work together, create, record and edit their own films, build confidence in public speaking and more.
“We are going to take ‘virtual’ fieldtrips,” Fisher said. “The students just finished learning about Mexico so they will take their facts and pretend that they are actually there. Superimposed in the background will be the places that the students will be talking about.”
The teacher noted that with the new equipment, there can be historical re-enactments, new reports, interviews and more.
“The principal, Kathleen Valenti, and I have some plans to also do some type of public service announcement things for the school,” Brewis noted. “We haven’t quite solidified that yet but perhaps reporting on events that are happening around the school and have a video or pictures in the background and have the kids use the green screen. We could have kids from different grades, put it together and share it with the rest of the school.”
Fisher is already on to the next project with two of her science classes. Her students will pretend to be park rangers, with an official coat and hat, giving a tour guide to a group.
Other teachers are already asking when they, too, will be able to use the equipment. As soon as Fisher and Brewis get more comfortable using it, they plan on cycling through other classes. It will eventually be available to the entire school.
“With this technology, you are putting the students in the director’s chair,” Fisher said. “It facilitates authentic learning and assessing opportunities.”