Mini-movies are short, small format videos that are appropriate for learning. They can be live motion video, talking slide shows, or screencasts.

Some of the advantages of mini-movies for differentiating instruction are:
  • Like other mobile technologies, they are easy to integrate, provide learners choices, offer options for private viewing, and are motivating.
  • They are highly visual.
  • They can be used to break instruction up into more appropriate "chunks."
  • Like podcasts, students creating their own mini-movies is a great way to publish for an authentic audience and offers another option for student projects. (Use the YouTube phenomenon to your advantage!)

  • For EVERYONE, the basic process for transferring movies to your mobile device is the same as for audio. Unfortunately, though, each mobile device seems to favor a different format of video. That often translates into lots of file conversions. It can be messy, but it's worth it! (See more info below on formats and converting files.)
  • To simplify things for this workshop, we are going to watch mini-movies on your laptop.
  • Start out by watching this mini-movie about algebra. This is an example of a talking whiteboard movie.
  • Now look at this mini-movie to teach kindergarten kids sight words.
  • Let's explore mini-movies and see what is out there. A great place to start looking is TeacherTube. It's like YouTube for teachers. Post your best finds here.
    • Find a mini-movie about a math topic.
    • Find a social studies mini-movie.
    • Find a mini-movie that addresses a 21st Century literacy or a higher order thinking skill.
  • More information about formats for your mobile device is below.


Here are some sources for sharable mini-movies:
To create your own mini-movies, try Windows Movie Maker (a free part of Windows Service Pack 2) or iMovie on the Mac.
If you're looking for an inexpensive video camera for students to use, check out the Flip camera.
To create talking whiteboard movies like the math movie above, you can use an interactive whiteboard with recording capability, a tablet PC, or a cheap graphics tablet (available for under $100) with screen recording software like Camstudio (free, basic) or Camtasia Studio (not free, but worth every penny).
If you want to share your mini-movies with others, try TeacherTube or Revver.

Info on formats for when you get home
  • If you have a Palm handheld
    • The easiest way to do video is with an SD card and the TPCMP software. (Yes, you can also do video with the built in Media application or Kinoma, but neither work well. The files are huge, extra conversion steps are needed, etc. Trust me, and use TCPMP.)
    • You can download a free version of TCPMP here.
    • The file format you need is MPG. Copy MPG files to your SD card and open them in TCPMP.
    • To convert video files to MPG, try Zamzar. It's free and doesn't have spyware, which many other free converter programs do.

  • If you have a PPC handheld
    • Windows Mobile playes videos in a WMV format. The movies play in Windows Media Player on the handheld.
    • Fortunately, this is the format that Windows Movie Maker exports, so if you create your own movies, you may not even need to convert them. For other movies that need converting, try Zamzar. It's free and doesn't have spyware, which many other free converter programs do.

  • If you have an Apple video iPod
    • Video iPods play videos in M4V, MP4, or MOV formats.
    • There are several options for converting to this. Two free options are Zamzar (web based) and Jodix. QuickTime Pro is also a useful tool ($29.99).