This week Rich McCue from the Digital Learning Commons walked us through his introductory workshop aimed at facilitating skill-building in video editing with iMovieaudio editing with Audacity, and screen capture with Screencastify.  iMovie is specific to macOS, so I am unable to use it on my personal computer as I run Windows. However, the operating system is available in the computer labs on campus, which I can access if I ever have the need. Audacity and Screencastify will run on all operating systems, so I am able to use those from my laptop.

For each skill, we were given a list of activities that taught the various functions within the program.  These activities (linked above) were incredibly user-friendly and gave step by step instructions for each task. The formatting of the instructions made the experience entirely accessible, even for someone such as myself who has never worked with these types of programs before. Two of the main activities for video editing within iMovie were using green screen, and learning how to crop video and utilize slow motion.  For the green screen activity, we were tasked with putting chickens onto a coral reef background. iMovie has video overlay functions with specific green screen settings, so once we learned how to import the video content the rest of the steps came easily. I was a little overwhelmed by all of the various buttons and options upon first opening the program. However, as I learned their purposes and usage I realized that you do not necessarily have to possess advanced editing skills yourself, as long as you know the options that the program offers in order to direct and navigate it. Similarly, with cropping and using slow motion, the program is set up so that you select the portion of the video you want and then direct the program to apply the effect. We were quite quickly able to isolate a clip of a bike going over a jump using the ‘split’ function, crop in, and make it slow motion. Additionally, we inserted title and end credits using pre-formatted effects that we were able to place in our videos and customize the text for. We also gained a little bit of audio editing experience before moving to Audacity, through having to adjust volume levels for videos or insert distinct audio files to combine with the videos.  In this way, Rich McCue’s lessons were not only practical in teaching us how to use editing programs, but they were also fantastic for confidence surrounding technology. Everything was much more accessible and user-friendly than I anticipated. The detailed step-by-step nature of the instructions also applied to the audio editing and screen capture lessons mentioned above.

For audio editing, the activity centred around creating a podcast. Learning how to record audio was combined with how to isolate certain audio clips, insert silence, and either fade in or fade out audio. Rich also informed us that we have the option to rent equipment on campus for high-quality audio recording.  It is great to know that we have that resource available to us, especially considering that we have various inquiry projects this term that requires documentation of our progress. I think I might rent a microphone for when we have to record ourselves playing a song for our musical growth plan in our Music Ed course.

Screencastify is really easy to set up with a plugin for Google Chrome.  With it, you are able to record the action on your screen, as well as audio and webcam footage of yourself if you wish. It is a fantastic tool for instructing how to navigate a website, or even as a way to give a digital presentation. You can also mark up your screen recording using the ‘pencil’ and ‘eraser’ tools to draw extra attention or clarify.

Overall, the workshop was incredibly useful. I now feel that I can use these programs to not only make digital work in my own classes more dynamic, but also content for any future lessons that I teach.

Featured image by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash