Saturday, March 10, 2018

Change Parent Newsletters to Parent NewVIDEOS with Apple's Clips app

Up until January 2018, I was committed to creating newsletters for the parents of my students to keep them informed of what their son/daughter is doing in Spanish class. I used to spend h-o-u-r-s creating the newsletters, formatting the information into nice pretty columns, adding photos, and trying to balance the content on the two pages.  

Pictured on the right is the September 2017 Spanish 2 newsletter. I was pleased with how it came out and the information that was shared until I talked to a parent that mentioned, yes, he had received the newsletter by email, but he didn't have the time or take the time to read it yet.

That's when I realized, I would have done the same thing if my son or daughter's teacher would have emailed a two-page newsletter to me. It doesn't make me, or you, a "bad" parent, because if it would, be assured there would be many "bad" parents.  Who has time to read newsletters these days? People are more likely to watch a short video than to read two pages about their child's class.

Clips App
Last month I went to PETE & C, a tech conference held in Hershey, PA. The first session I went to was a presentation about Apple's Clips app. It took roughly 25 minutes of the hour presentation for the presenter to create a short video that could be shared with parents about a recent field trip, and, he did that while explaining the steps and the app to the attendees. 

A few days later, my colleague, Krista Kovalchick, showed me a practice "clip" that she made at home wth the app. After that, I decided it was time to experiment with the app. 

That was about three weeks ago and since that time I have made two parent "newsvideos" which have garnered more responses and comments from parents than I have in the last five years of writing newsletters.

HERE is an example of a Clip I made, specifically for this blog. The actual videos I sent to the parents are better with short clips within the video of the students singing, collaborating on a project, participating in an author Skype with Mira Canion, and loads of photos of class activities. (Since they are created specifically for parents, I have more freedom to include photos and videos of the students.)
Screenshots of Clips video.  There's also an option for text with solid background.
Apple's Clips app has been described as the iMovie app for the next generation. I like to think of it as the iMovie for the older generation because it is much more user-friendly than iMovie. There's less of a learner's curve which means you can create videos in less time and with less headaches. 

For my next parent newsvideos, I'd like to include a few clips of students' commenting on the book the read, or a fun activity they did in class, or a few sentences of a story retell. 

Some of the features of the Clips app are:
- animated text
- emojis
- fun stickers
- Star Wars, Disney, & Pixar characters
- artistic filters
- music for background (that automatically fits the length of your video and lowers the volume when there is other sound on a video or slide)
- and the ability to easily share the video 
There are even more cool options with the updated version for those who have a  an iPhone 10.

Using the app for parents "newsvideos" is only one small application for this app. I know you'll have fun using the app and finding other classroom uses for it.

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