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Tip of the Week: Vine, or how I learned to love history in 6 seconds

I’ll be honest. I really had no idea what Vine was until this summer. It was my college-age son, of course, who introduced me to the tool.

And I never laughed so hard.

Jake is great at telling incredibly funny stories in the six seconds of video allowed by Vine. Most of the clips he created involved me and the rest of his family. I’m pretty sure that I had nothing to do with the funny parts.

If you’re not familiar with Vine, it’s fairly simple. Vine is a mobile app that that lets you capture six seconds of video and post it online. Just as Twitter is a micro-blog of 140 characters, Vine is a micro-video of just six seconds.

Think visual Twitter and you’ve got it.

I know what you’re thinking. Six seconds? Really? But just like thousands of educators are using Twitter as part of teaching and learning, more and more teachers are finding ways to incorporate Vine into their classrooms. So what does that look like?

Get a feel for the possibilities by watching a quick video tutorial by Online Universities. Need a few more ideas?

Teacher projects:

  • Create “teasers” for upcoming units
  • Use to announce homework and upcoming assignments
  • Create how-to videos for students
  • Market upcoming class or school events

Student Projects:

  • Design mini-trailers for book reviews
  • Summarize concepts, historical themes, or vocab words
  • Create overviews of primary and secondary sources
  • Describe historical trips using maps
  • Create video exit cards
  • Brainstorm solutions to problems
  • Animate stop-motion historical events
  • Recite famous quotations
  • Recreate historical figures
  • Capture reactions during field trips
  • Have students combine individual Vines into a larger story or theme. Each student is responsible for a specific part of the story

Some things to know:

  • Vine forces kids to summarize and to focus on the important stuff
  • It’s free
  • It’s easy to use
  • Almost every kid will have the hardware already
  • It works on both iOS devices and Android
  • Vine is open to the public. So there’s the potential for inappropriate Vines.
  • Limited editing options. You can re-arrange your clips but what you record is pretty much what you get.
  • Instagram, another photo/video social media tool, offers 15 seconds of video but works much the same way as Vine.

Getting started:

  • Try out it out for yourself. Download the app, create a personal account, and see if you like it. If you don’t, we’re done here.
  • Check out the Vine FAQs. Learn more about Vine Best Practice. Learn even more by heading over to Larry Ferlazzo’s Vine resource page.
  • I would create a separate classroom account.
  • Talk with others in your building, including administrators, to get them involved and aware of what you’re planning.
  • Come up with a lesson plan: include what students should learn while making a Vine video, what size groups, length of time to complete the Vine, content of the videos . . . you know, basic lesson plan kind of stuff.
  • Have kids film their Vine videos using the class account. When all of the videos have been completed, you can project them using the Airplay feature on your mobile device. You can also have students combine their Vines into a larger YouTube or Vimeo video.

Afraid of posting online? Creating an account? Your school’s internet filters are blocking Vine?

Have students use their cell phone camera or iPad camera or laptop camera or old-timey digital camera to create their video instead of using Vine. They still have to limit their video clip to six seconds. The concept of summarizing and focusing on just the important stuff is still there.

Have fun!

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