STOP Boring Assessment with iMotion
Type of technology: App
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Grade level: All
Subject area: All
Cost: Free or $3.99 for Pro Version
“Draw and label each of the steps for full credit.” Most educators have seen or used some version of the prior statement. I used to have students draw out stages of cell division as a method of assessment (see pic). This was semi-effective but boring for the students and boring for the teacher to grade. The major drawback is that cell division is a fluid process where the fluidity is removed when students are asked to chop the process into less than a dozen steps. What is the solution? Allow me to introduce you to iMotion. iMotion is a time-lapse or stop-motion app for iOS devices which allows the user to take pictures, edit, and export movies. For example, my students can now show all the parts of cell division in one class period by making stop-animation movies. The iMotion project lends itself to group work much more than my old draw the pictures assignment where each student can have a job.
I was introduced to iMotion by my 10 year old daughter who taught herself how to use the app. While she is an intelligent child, the app is pretty easy to use. Students (and their teachers) should only need a few minutes of playing with the app to figure out how to use it. Within the app, there is a choice of: time lapse, manual, or remote (another iOS device can become a remote for snapping pictures). The remote feature is handy if the students are using some sort of stand where the screen of the device is tough to see, or if everyone making the movie is in the image. Time-lapse can be set for as little time as 0.1 seconds to 1 day.
When setting up the project for my class I gave my students some parameters of what I wanted to see as I planned on using the stop animation for assessment. My teams of 4 students were to be broken down into: director, producer, video technician, and stage crew. By giving each student a job, this eliminates the typical situation where one student does all the work and the learning. Once jobs were decided upon, each team was to create a story board (which the team had to clear with me before they were allowed to start filming). I love the story boards concept because I can address misconceptions in a small student to teacher ratio setting, and students are forced to think and plan before starting the project. Planning ahead is not something most of our students are used to doing, yet is definitely an essential skill to learn. All teams had to include a set group of vocabulary captions in their video either as words on the screen (see example video below) which can be made of paper in each picture or added digitally in something like YouTube editor.
Voice vocabulary can be added to the video by using the pro version of iMotion where voiceover sound and music can be added as shown below:
Voice over can be done with several free products. I have used the google add-on screencastify in the past. The instructor should also think about a minimum number of slides they would like to see. I had suggested 4-6 slides per stage of Meiosis, totaling about 50 slides per film.
After filming, the movie can be saved to the camera roll in the free version then uploaded to YouTube or in the pro version directly to: YouTube, Facebook, or email. I then asked students to upload the movie to NEO (our on-line learning management system) so that I was able to grade each one. The beauty behind submitting the videos is that a rubric can be set up so that other groups have a chance to think critically about videos created by classmates. I like to have each group review at least two other videos.
Tips for use:
- Think about what to use as a stand for your iOS device so that the images are taken from the same place and angle. I used some clamps we had laying around the science department and a pole stand.
- The paid version is nice because the students can do sound and voice over in the same period as the filming. Keep in mind that if you do group work you would only need one license per group.
- iMotion is great for showing processes, giving directions, and telling stories. So now it’s your turn to be creative with iMotion. How can you use iMotion in your subject?