What is Movie Maker?

Windows Movie Maker is a basic video editing program. It comes with Windows XP and later – so you probably already have it on your school computers, if not it can be downloaded here (Vista or XP). It can be used to edit video or a sequence of still shots and can be used to create digital stories, videos and clay animations.

The program is easy to use, and there is a lot of help available within the ‘Help’ menu and also on their website.

What age group is Windows Movie Maker best for?

Windows Movie Maker is most suitable for older students, however year 3’s can handle it with instruction. Older students can explore the program more fully and apply more sophisticated transitions and special effects. Don’t forget, if you need to differentiate your use of technology there are plenty of options out there.  For example, Photostory 3.

Step by Step Process

(Download Guide to using Movie Maker 2 – From Vale of Glamorgan)

New Windows XP machines will come with Movie Maker installed. This may be version 1. To install version 2 log onto www.microsoft.com and download Movie Maker 2.   With the dawn of Vista and Windows Seven Movie Maker Live has also come about.  The guide abover only with Movie Maker 2.  If you have a Movie Maker Live “How-to” you’d like to share then let us know in the comments below.

System Requirements:

  • Windows Movie Maker requires the following minimum system configuration for your PC.
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • 600 MHz processor such as an Intel Pentium III
  • 128 MB Ram
  • 2 GB of free hard disk space
  • An audio capture device
  • A DV or analogue video capture device
  • An Internet connection

How can Windows Movie Maker be used in the classroom?

Windows Movie Maker makes communicating both visual and aural information to a large number of people simple, and along the way students begin to learn some basic video and audio editing skills.

Windows Movie Maker can be used as an alternative method of presentation for student assessment across all learning areas. There are plenty of links to SACSA, especially throughout the English learning area.

 Possible uses include:

In English:

  • Narratives: Students write a narrative and create artworks then record their own voice
  • Procedure texts: Students can demonstrate a procedure from a completed procedure text rather than create a poster and do an oral – if other students want to learn how any of the procedures are done they can view the multimedia rather than having to ask the ‘expert’ student
  • Poetry: Students can create ‘visual poetry’ adding images to poems they have created
  • Newscasts: Students can create an edition of the news – perhaps it could be an alternative to a class newsletter
  • ‘Book Trailer’:Rather than writing a book review students could create a ‘book trailer’
  • Advertisements: Students can promote a product and make a ‘television’ advertisement

In Mathematics

  • Students can explain their understandings of concepts through stories or information
  • Students could tell a story of “Mr. Isosceles” the triangle including his properties
  • Students could search for, photograph and create a digital story about tessellating shapes in the playground

In Science

  • Students can perform and explain how and why things happen (for example, look at the egg in a bottle experiment)
  • Excursions
  • Students can use photos or short movies that were captured while on excursion and then add audio that explains what they learned or found most interesting

Classroom Happenings

  • Students can take photos or short movies of everyday classroom happenings and explain what is happening – a great help for new students to the class

The possibilities really are endless – if you can write it or tell someone about it, you can create it in Windows Movie Maker!  How are you using Podcasting and Story Telling in your classroom?

Are there any issues?

Knowledge of Windows Movie Maker: It is important to know about the program and how to use it before introducing it to students.

An easy way to get to know the program is to attempt the task that you are setting for your students. This way you can identify any potential issues that students may have and perhaps create a step-by-step hand out

Remember there is a lot of information online if you get stuck

File Formats: When you are new to the program file formats can cause frustration. To view many digital stories created on different computers you need to save each file as a Movie File. It is important to know how you want to share the created works in order to choose the right option, but once you have done it right once, it no longer becomes an issue.

While creating and editing a Windows Movie Maker file it is important to save it as a Windows Movie Maker Project (.MSWMM) This is the default when by clicking File>Save Project as…

When you have finished creating and editing and want to share the created works, it is important to save as a Movie File, (File>Save Movie File) which can be confusing as there are many options, but once you have done it right once, it will no longer be an issue.

Audio Recording: An important part of digital storytelling is in the audio.

If you elect to record your audio in Windows Movie Maker be aware that you can not edit it, if you make a mistake you have to start again.

This can be overcome by using an audio recording program like Audacity (a free download) which is simple to use and allows students more freedom with the creation of their audio. Parts of the recording can be cut from either end or anywhere in the middle, while younger students are not likely to know that this is a possibility it will familiarize them with the program so when they want to edit their audio they are able to more easily.

Student privacy and the Law:

It is vital that we keep students identities safe while also adhering to the law. If you are uploading digital stories to a host site e.g. youtube – make sure that no names (or only 1st names) are used and there are no identifying features in the clip – school uniform, logos….. Make sure that parents have signed your schools photo release before taking or using photos of students – if photos of students are in the digital stories do not upload them to a public site.

Students need to be taught about copyright and how a breach could affect them. It is ideal if students get into the habit of creating their own audio either from found objects or putting together a combination of free loops – be creative!

We’d like to acknowledge Anita and Velma Beaglehole  for starting the content of this post years ago.  We hope you like what we’ve done to it 😉

More on digital story telling.

ResourcesWindows Movie Maker