Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Photo Booth


On Tuesday mornings, there have been a small group of girls in the hallway next to the computer lab. I haven’t been sure what they are doing, but they seem to be very engaged in their activity. One day on my way to a meeting, I decided to be nosey and ask them. They showed me that they had scripts and were planning a Readers’ Theatre for their class. I asked them if they only did live performances and would they consider making a movie for the class? Immediately, the twinkle of excitement could be seen in their eyes. Recently, their classroom teacher had recorded each student’s weather forecasts with a digital camcorder, and I had assisted in turning them into QuickTime videos to be inserted into their weather PowerPoints. This was a great science presentation experience; however, this time I wanted to put the tools in their hands directly. I suggested that they use Photo Booth, a built-in piece of software on our Macs.

Photo Booth can take snap shots, but if your machine is running OS 10.5 or higher, it has video recording capabilities. All someone has to do is select video in the program, push the record button and perform. It’s that easy. (If editing is desired, the footage can go to iMovie. If a sound track or sound effects are wanted, put the footage in GarageBand.) This version of Photo Booth also has the ability to drag and drop backgrounds to set the scene.

So I’m acting as consultant to the Readers’ Theatre group. I have suggested that they divide their play into scenes or acts. Next, choose an image or design a background (in a program like KidPix to be screenshoted) that represents each scene or act and drag/drop each image/design to the background slots of Photo Booth. They then will record each scene/act separately. When they are done with that, they either can show them to their class via a projector by running each separate file (They will play as QuickTime movies.), or I will teach them how to to pull the clips into iMovie and add transitions before they show it to their class. It all depends on them, and the time they have. I am always willing to make something into a multimedia extravaganza, but then at this age level, I tend to need to take over, and it can become more about the tool versus the content that the girls were trying to share with their peers.

What I like about Photo Booth is its simplicity and ease of use by students. And that’s the key.

Next month, I also am going to be working with some 4th graders using Photo Booth. They are going to make animal masks, add a habitat background in Photo Booth and record themselves in character giving a top ten list about why they are the best animal based on what they have researched. An interesting way to do the traditional animal report!

The source of my inspiration for using Photo Booth? Suzanne’s blog from my blogging alliance! Check out the super, simple video on her post. My PLN rocks! 🙂

Sample added 4/28/10… technically not a Tuesday! But this is what this post got in motion! 3rd graders will pretend to interview a president. I used Keynote to make the background in Photo Booth. Thanks again, Suzanne!

Movie 4

5 Comments to

“Photo Booth”

  1. April 27th, 2010 at 6:28 am       Suzanne Whitlow Says:

    Wow thanks so much. Glad you liked the idea. When I showed to my primary teachers, they ran with the idea. I even have students putting in their own backdrops now. A colleague and I are doing an elluminate session on PhotoBooth today at 2:40. If you are interested, let me know via email and I will give you the URL; we’d love to have you!!

  2. April 27th, 2010 at 6:33 am       Pam Thompson Says:

    That’s a great idea. I didn’t actually know that Photobooth had a recording facility. My students love playing with Photobooth so now I can get them to do something really productive. Thanks for the ideas.

  3. April 27th, 2010 at 8:57 am       Suzanne Whitlow Says:

    Pam, can you email me? I have some wonderful directions to give you on Photo Booth.

  4. April 27th, 2010 at 10:26 am       Patti Says:

    I enjoyed your demonstration of uses for Photobooth.Your suggestion of using it to learn vocabulary for emotions was a great idea. there are lots of ways I can use Photobooth with my ELL students. Thanks!


  5. April 27th, 2010 at 3:35 pm       ktenkely Says:

    Great idea! Photo Booth is such a great tool to use with all age groups and all seem to be equally engaged by it. I do a lot of digital story telling using Photo Booth, sometimes the kids create background in Tux Paint or Skitch and sometimes we take pictures or scan in their by-hand drawings. They are such a neat keepsake of learning!


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