iMovie Storyboards: Co-Learning Experience with Teachers and Students

When you’ve never used a tool before, how do you get started? 

When Apple released the updates to iMovie on iPad with iMovie Storyboard projects, I was eager to try them out and see how they could support students and staff with creating. Around this same time, a teacher I work with reached out for ways to make the a writing unit more accessible and engaging to the students she supports. I suggested we look at iMovie Storyboards as a way to create opportunities for providing oral language and visual supports during the writing process.  

Screenshot of iMovie Storyboards on iPad
Screenshot of iMovie Storyboards on iPad

Rather than spending time to become experts in iMovie Storyboards, we decided to play and explore this new way to create movies alongside her students. This ended up being a very empowering experience for students, and a fantastic way to introduce a new tool to a whole group of staff, myself included! 

We began by showing students how to begin an iMovie Storyboard project and gave them three key features to figure out: how to add photos, how to take or add video, and how to add title text. After giving students time to explore, students shared what they learned during their exploration time. Students displayed their screens and explained to the class what they learned how to do, and the steps they took. In this way students were able to learn more advanced features of iMovie like editing video clips, adding voice overs, and changing themes without a teacher leading the instruction. They felt empowered as “experts” who could help each other, as well as their teachers. Teachers entered this space as learners as well, showing students that it’s okay to make mistakes, try different ways of doing things, and asking for help. 

Based on this exploration time and the iMovie skills we learned, teachers planned for the specific project by modifying the Product Review storyboard to include headings and sections that mirrored the writing students had completed. Modifying the headings and deleting clips actually something that students discovered and taught us! After sharing the project file through Apple Classroom, students were ready to create!  

Modified template of iMovie Storyboard reflecting the student writing template
 Students helped each other shoot video and solve problems in iMovie. When teachers encountered student questions that they couldn’t help with, we had students volunteer to be “experts” who other students could consult with if they got stuck. This released teachers from the responsibility of holding all of the knowledge of how to do something and let students build their leadership and communication skills. 

Because of the pre-writing and the exploration in iMovie students had done, their iMovie Storyboard Reviews came together very quickly for most students. Students who struggled were able to work with teachers in small groups or individually for more support.

Overall, this project was very successful, despite none of the adults in the room knowing exactly what we were doing or how the project was going to go. Students felt excited about writing because they knew they would be able to create a movie, and they were very engaged in the creation process. They liked being able to select and create the photos and video clips that were included in their review, as well as being the instructional leaders for their peers and teachers. Teachers also thought that this process was successful because the engagement was high, especially because this project happened at the very end of the school year when students are often distracted by weather and the upcoming summer break. Some students even went on to create additional movie reviews when they finished early. 

This is a project that I look forward to replicating with different unit alignments and with different grade levels.  

The example I shared with students.   


All Comments

Posted on August 30, 2022

I love how you scaffolded the activity and wasn't afraid to share it with students before the teacher was fully confident.

Posted on March 13, 2023

Did you share the students' projects as a class set with parents? If so, where did you compile all of the links?

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