A few weeks ago I downloaded Apps Gone Free to my iPhone. This app notifies me each day about a handful of apps which will be free for a short period of time. It is through this app that I came across Pic Play Post. It is a simple picture and video collage app. It is commonly used to combine images for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts. I planned on having the students use it to describe Buddhism in their own words and incorporate some images to enhance their final product.
The steps were relatively simple (at least I thought they would be). After the students researched the topic and we had discussed it in class, the students were instructed to write a 1-2 minute script to explain Buddhism in their own words. This would require them to make a personal determination as to what information was the most important and which information could be left out. This can be a challenging task for students, but I believe it is a valuable skill to develop. After they finished writing their script, they used the iPods to record a video of themselves reading their script. They also found some images from the Internet to support their video.
The final task was to put it all together in Pic Play Post. The initial idea was to have the video occupy one of the cells of the grid and then fill the remaining cells with images. This is where we ran into a problem.
Pic Play Post only allows you to put videos up to 30 second long in each cell. Since all of the students' videos were longer than 30 seconds, we had to figure out a solution. This problem actually ended up providing a couple of great moments. First, it showed the students that problems shouldn't derail your progress. Second, it forced us to fix the problem by using a second app called Splice Video Editor. Sometimes solutions to problems can make the end product suffer, but in this case, it made the end products better.
Basically, we used Splice to split their videos into 28 second or less segments. We then added an image to the beginning and the end of the video. This would create the effect of the video jumping from cell to cell on the grid, but still give the desired visual effect displaying multiple images to support the video.
In the end, the product turned out better than I had originally planned and the students were able to see a valuable lesson in trouble shooting. Too many times I have witnessed students give up the moment they encountered an obstacle. My students were able to see me run into an obstacle. However, more importantly they witnessed me troubleshoot the problem and overcome the obstacle. I hope they remember this the next time they encounter an obstacle on their own.