How Green Screens Bring Learning to Life
Teaching has always been about what we do as much as it has been about how we do it. In order to engage kids with knowledge even when we are not in the same physical area, we must ask the proper questions, use the correct tools, and pique their curiosity. Although much has changed in schooling over the previous few months, pupils’ sense of surprise and curiosity have remained unchanged. Because of this, it may be vital to embrace technology as a means of stimulating student engagement now more than ever before.
I’ve learned over the course of my 15 years as an educator that taking a multimodal approach to learning—that is, engaging with a variety of media and engaging a variety of senses—is one of the most effective ways to distinguish, increase knowledge, and stimulate creativity. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that using a multimodal strategy can help to sharpen memory and improve attention to challenging activities.
A excellent method to embrace multimodal learning is to use forms of technology that do more than simply replace traditional pencil and paper work. Using green screens in my own classroom—a video production method in which two or more video or image streams are stacked together—has assisted me in incorporating opportunities for students to produce and reflect on their learning into the curriculum.
Teachers no longer have halls to exhibit the work of their students when they use remote learning. Assignments can seem inconsequential and students can become demotivated if they do not have a meaningful audience for their work. Green screens provide opportunity for students to create expressive, process-oriented art that may be shared with the rest of the class and with their families.
GETTING THINGS STARTED
There are a few things you’ll need to be able to work with green screens, the first of which is some form of green backdrop. The green screen can be made from a huge roll of green paper or a green bedsheet, or it can be painted on one portion of the wall or purchased separately. For minor projects, I’ve even used a green towel, a T-shirt, or sheets of green 8.5 x 11 paper for the purpose of decoration.
You’ll also require the following items:
A device for recording video and/or photos is required. It is sufficient to use a tablet or smartphone.
An application with a green screen. I’ve tested dozens of programmes and have settled on two: Chromavid and Green Screen by Do Ink, both of which I highly suggest.
To get started, download or take a picture of a landscape for reference (from life, books, the internet, or a hand-drawn image). After that, choose a photo to serve as the base layer. Then you can start recording your video.
ADVICE ON HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF GREEN SCREENS
Green screen with a still image background that has been downloaded: I got my start with a green screen by experimenting with simple backdrops. Students created stories or poems, chose backgrounds, and then performed their work in front of a computer screen. This simple step had a significant impact on engagement.
Green screen with a background of a still image that was generated by the artist: Math journaling was always something that my students dreaded rather than looked forward to—that is, until we started using the green screen to record their work. My pupils were given the opportunity to respond to imaginary characters from their math textbook at a green screen diary station.
I use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to make these bespoke backgrounds, and I incorporate fictional characters or real individuals into the photographs. After that, I grab a screenshot in landscape orientation. Last but not least, I click on the plus symbol to make the original image my foundation layer.
As time went on, our comfort level with this technology increased, and we began to use video as a background, rather than static photographs, to create a more dynamic environment. The options for students to reply to and interact with the movies were well received.
Student actors “pretended” to be National Geographic reporters in various locales around North America in one film, for example. After completing certain research stages relevant to their geographic region, groups chose a video to utilise as the backdrop for their promotional video and developed a script for it to promote their location.
A green screen with a background produced by the students: During Writer’s Workshop, students expressed an interest in promoting their original stories through the creation of book trailers that would feature their characters and other crucial plot details. In order to accomplish this, they sketched out the scene of their book on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and photographed the drawing. The photo was used as the starting point for the design. Following that, they each drew and cut out the characters from their respective stories. The story’s characters were put on green cardboard strips for visual impact (which were folded for added strength).
Every time our class used this teaching tool, I was blown away by the quality of the students’ contributions. Students were encouraged to do their best by the process, which required them to rerecord their videos numerous times in order to improve their fluency or to stress specific terms.
If you’ve ever witnessed students lose track of time while concentrating on a task or express excitement at the sight of their own completed work, you’ll understand why green screens are a must-have in my classroom. It wasn’t just one task that stood out as particularly remarkable from the rest of the year. The success of using a green screen can be attributed to the combination of an entertaining approach with vital work—as well as the promise of a genuine audience.