Monica Cantu is the librarian and Campus Innovation Coach at Sadler Means YWLA. She enjoys designing hands-on tech projects for her students that are engaging, encourage creativity, and support the campus curriculum. Find her on Twitter to see what’s going on in her library! @meanslibrary
Green screen technology can be a fun and easy way for students (and educators) of all ages to add creativity to video presentations and photography.
My favorite app for these projects is simply called Green Screen, and it was created by Do Ink. You can purchase it in the app store for $2.99. Do Ink also offers a “Creativity Bundle” that includes this app as well as their Animation and Drawing app for $4.99. I recommend getting the bundle; the Animation app is pretty cool!
In my library, we’ve used our green screen wall for a couple of different projects. My first experience using it was a just-for-fun photo booth to celebrate Read Across America. I had purchased a bunch of Dr. Seuss props and printed them out for students to use while taking photos with their friends. I showed the first 2 kids how to use the app, and they were quickly able to grasp the concept and teach their friends. It turned out to be a lot of fun!
Students prep for a new photograph as the previous group edits their photo to their liking.
A finished product. Students added a background layer, the camera layer, and an additional layer to include The Lorax in their image.
Last year, one teacher also used our Green Screen app to create a video application for a grant proposal. Students went around campus with the library’s iPad, snapping photos where they saw areas of need. After writing up their script, students created a video where they explained why our campus needed the materials being requested. It was an effective way to provide information to the grant committee while simultaneously showing the visual evidence of our school’s needs. The lesson also offered the opportunity for students to work on writing and presentational speaking skills.
Green Screen by Do Ink projects also integrate well with other apps and Web tools! Check out this video our campus staff created last year to cheer on our students the week of STAAR testing. We used the Green Screen app to create bits of video, then compiled the videos in Animoto for some extra flare.
Other Lesson Ideas:
This app would be a great tool to use for:
Stop motion animation with Legos or clay (or anything, really!)
Video presentations on historical events
Video presentations for math (ex: steps required to solve a problem)
A student-produced news show
This app may not be free, but it is affordable. My library has been using this app on just one iPad that gets passed around to whoever is using it at the moment. In planning their presentations, student groups are usually fully prepared for quick recording/photography by the time it’s their turn with the iPad.
Don’t feel like you can’t use this app without a fancy green screen wall, either. While my campus went through the expense of painting a green wall, I’ve seen many successful projects using other materials. This backdrop on Amazon, for example, is fairly affordable and portable….think of the fun your parents might have in a green screen photo booth during Back to School Night! For smaller projects, you might consider painting the insides of pizza boxes green and having students create their projects using it as their backdrop. Check your teacher work room for green butcher paper as well–it works nicely!
Step-by-step tutorial for using Green Screen by Do Ink, created by Monica Cantu