Want a Fun Way for Students to Demo Mastery? Have Them Make a Silent Movie! (iPad app)


Any student of film history knows that before the big budget blockbuster, and even before the various “golden ages” of Hollywood, there were silent movies. These black and white movies were made up of short scenes, and, because technological limitations prevented the use of audio conversations, there were short notes on a black screen in between or even in the middle of scenes that would fill the audience in on the conversation and/or storyline.  These movies often had a simple and upbeat soundtrack playing, which was generally produced on a single piano.

Now, when we live in an age where “there’s an app for that” and everything else, we can apply the styles and themes of the old silent movies to contemporary projects. The “Silent Film Director” app is available on the iTunes App Store and works on all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). It allows you to easily create a silent film project with your own resources.

I learned about this app by an excellent member of my PLN, Sean Junkins. Sean is an Apple Distinguished Educator, and an all around EdTech guru, based in Myrtle Beach, SC. On his blog, he talks about this app. And of course, it’s a fun app, and I’m sure we have all already begun thinking about the cute silent films we can make of our kids, or our dog, etc.

But here’s where it gets cool for us educator types.

Sean posted an example of how students could use the silent film app to develop a really creative presentation explaining historical events as they relate to the Cold War. In his example, the silent movie is about the Cuban Missile Crises, and it integrates into his Social Studies 5 curriculum.

Seeing this app utilized this way really got me excited. Certainly, a teacher in a Judaic Studies classroom can use this as an impactful and entertaining way to introduce, say, a storyline in Tanach. And for those of you already playing around with Project Based Learning, this seems like an excellent tool to provide the students to utilize in presenting their findings. And at .99 cents, it’s not a huge investment.

So, did any light bulbs go off in your heads? How would you utilize this app in a Judaic Studies classroom? Please share in the comments! And don’t forget to add Sean to your PLN on Twitter!

P.S. If you are interested in making (or having your students make) film projects that are from a slightly later time period, the 60’s-70’s, there’s another great iOS app called Super 8, which creates video footage that looks like it was created in that “The Wonder Years” home movies era, with a filter that recreates the Super 8 camera style.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: