Film School for Video Podcasters

My session for the K12Online Conference, Film School for Video Podcasters, is now online.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page to download for your iPod or to watch on your computer.

The sixteen minute presentation is a series of short vignettes framed by a film noir detective story in which I play the detective (of course).

The inspiration for the project was being a video judge in an internationally known technology contest and seeing the poor quality of submitted projects.  Even though the topic of the projects were very noble, the student use of the medium of filmmaking was horrendous.  What I was judging were powerpoints that moved and not movies.

I maintain that video is not the language of the twenty-first century.  It’s the language of the twentieth century and we’re just now catching up.  So, I do consider it important for teachers and students to have a basic knowledge of the language of film.  This movie is an attempt to help teachers gain that knowledge.  After sixteen minutes you won’t be an expert but I hope you will begin to think a little bit more strategically about your work with video in the classroom.

In the movie I discuss:

  • Storyboarding
    Almost everyone knows that you have to storyboard but there aren’t many models for teachers on how to storyboard.  Here I try to show you step by step.
  • Shot selection
    I talk a little bit about the meaning behind certain shots as well as how to set them up to be aesthetically appealing.
  • Equipment
    In a nod to my hero, Jim Cramer, I present Mad Moviemaking in which I answer questions on what kind of equipment to buy (because these are the questions I get most often about videomaking)

Woven in between those sections is my opinion on the importance of teaching media literacy via media production.

I plan on posting a bit more about my process of making the movie later but suffice it to say that it was a lot of work.  I welcome your feedback below.  Enjoy! 

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32 Responses to “Film School for Video Podcasters”

  1. Elona Hartjes Says:

    I’m looking forward to learning more in subsequent posts. Thanks for demystifying the process. I feel more confident about making movies in my classroom now. I’m going to have my students create a short film illustrating each of our classroom agreements- mutual respect, attentive listening, appreciation and the right to pass. I’ll let you know how things go. I think my students will be excited about it too.

    You’ve really demystified the process of making films in the classroom for me. Thank you for that.

  2. Mathew Says:

    Elona, Thank you for your kind words. I’m excited to see your students’ movies. Although I don’t teach special education, I have mainstreamed several special education in my classroom. Those are often the students who enjoy the process of making movies the most as it appeals to different learning modalities that aren’t often tapped into in the typical classroom.

  3. Mike Says:

    Nice job. Enjoyed the show.

  4. Thing 13: Attend a “21st Century” Conference | Library Lion Says:

    […] the Possibilities,” to be interesting, informative and entertaining. Entitled, “Film School for Video Podcasters,” it presented very specific techniques and tools that will allow even elementary students to […]

  5. gail desautels Says:

    Fantastic video on many levels. I was a little surprised to see a sketchbook being used for story boarding however….and would like to see a next generation recreation using visual mapping techiques…. ok, maybe I’ll work on it….. Thank you – many, many great tips!

  6. Thing # 13 - Attend a “21st Century” Conference | Wha'ppen? Says:

    […] viewed the session on Film School for Video Podcasters, Better Classroom Movies, with Mathew Needleman. Mathew had me hooked from the very beginning in his use of the “Our […]

  7. Alec Couros Says:

    Just finished watching Matthew, and this was awesome! This will be a great resource for my teacher education students, so thanks so much for taking the time to put this together. I look forward to your work in the future.

  8. Silvia Tolisano Says:

    Very interesting and timely presentation as more and more teachers are starting to get comfortable with tools such as moviemaker and photostory. Once the tools to create these movies are not the primary focus anymore we NEED to move on to the skills we want to be teaching our students with movies. What resonated most with me was your question, why we continue to teach a media (text) in schools that most of our students are not using to get their information from outside of school?
    It reminded me of the video, created by Michael Wesh “A Vision of Students Today”.
    We need to teach media literacy in/for the media that students are using in their everyday life.

    Great presentation. Thank you for addressing this important point we need to start addressing.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Great presentation on so many levels!

  10. Tech Task #14 (Part 2) Says:

    […]I revisited and watched a video by Matthew Neddleman called “Kicking it Up a Notch Film School For Video Podcasters.”[…]

  11. Film School in Session Says:

    […]Last Friday, I spent the best sixteen minutes of my K12 Online Conference with Film School for Video Podcasters[…]

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    […]And, if you have missed it, I highly recommend taking a look at Matthew Needleman’s K12Online Conference presentation[…]

  13. K12 Online Conference- Film School for Video Podcaster Says:

    […]Mathew Needleman’s presentation caught my eye. I am excited to learn how I can help make movies more than
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  14. Kim Maria Lattimore Says:

    Mathew, this was great. I’m sharing it with the GATE students Barbara and I are working with. The material is so relevant on many levels. Another keeper.

  15. Gail Desler Says:

    Mathew, I just downloaded the video. Oh my, what a great piece. Your explanation on storyboarding is a media literacy lesson in itself. Thanks so much for sharing…just wish I had joined you live!

  16. MJ Page Says:

    Excellent information on how to help teachers and students of all ages make better video’s. I’ve linked to your video and information on a newly started wiki- for Secondary Business education teachers.


  17. Film School Says:

    This is one of the best posts on film school that I have seen in a while! Well done…very informative.

  18. Picturing Words | BlogWalker Says:

    […] thinking not so much.  Thanks to mentoring and resources shared by Krishna Harrison-Munoz and Mathew Needleman, I’m starting to get a handle on the purpose and possibilities behind the basic camera shots […]

  19. Creating Lifelong Learners » Blog Archive » CUE09: Film School for Video Podcasters Says:

    […] If you’re in the Southern California area, please join me at the CUE Conference in Palm Springs.  This Friday, March 6 at 11:30 AM I’ll be leading a live presentation of “Film School for Video Podcasters” based on my K12 Online Conference presentation. […]

  20. Gayle Poland Says:

    Wow, Matthew, your detailed explanation of the process of storyboarding helped me realize the numerous organizational skills students will develop by preparing a storyboard. I can see where the planning process and exercising the rule of thirds when preparing a visual story can really build life-long skills in students. Thanks for the info.

  21. Creating Lifelong Learners » Blog Archive » iMovie ‘09: Curriculum in Action Says:

    […] Film School for Video Podcasters […]

  22. Karin Says:

    Mathew, this is a terrific resource. My background is in print journalism. I’ve been moving abruptly and ineptly into video storytelling with my high school students, because that’s where they are and it’s where I need to be. Your emphasis on media literacy is timely and refreshing.

  23. Sharon F. Says:

    Thanks for the video. It really helped me see how this can be used even with young kids. This is a great way to get students to move beyond PowerPoint. They usually go right into PPT because that is what they know. As I library media specialist in an elementary school, I see this as a great way to introduce students to different types of media to use in presentations. It will take a lot of careful planning, but the benefits would be awesome and the kids would have a lot of fun.

  24. Mathew Needleman Says:


    Thanks. I would say that if students go right for powerpoint it’s because that’s what TEACHERS know. Since video cameras come standard on my video cameras I’d say making movies is much more organic than creating powerpoints.

  25. C. Theford Says:

    The session pointed that many video project are just gloried PowerPoint. Many teacherswould agree. Yet, there exist little staff developments on movie making. However, the session provides techniques on movie making that has been learned over the past 100 years.

  26. Back Up - Thing 13 | Whit's End Says:

    […] wearing my PJs when I attended the online K12 Conference. I chose to watch Kicking it Up a Notch: Film School for Video Podcasters, which was basicallly a tutorial on video making for use in the classroom. The presenter, Michael […]

  27. Roselyn Says:

    WOW! I think I can… I think I can….
    Great information! I feel like my students could have a movie completed at least by Spring Break!

  28. K12 Online Conference: Steal This Preso! Trailer « Creating Lifelong Learners Says:

    […] year, I presented Film School for Video Podcasters, a short film on how to create better classroom movies.  This year, I present Steal This Preso! […]

  29. Cool Links #68: The One About Diet Promises « TEACH J: For Teachers of Journalism And Media Says:

    […] – My video students are always complaining that they don’t need to storyboard.  Here’s a great rebuttal from Creating Lifelong […]

  30. Post 9, Thing 13 21st Century Video Says:

    …The author of this video has integrated video into his teaching for the past 7 years for grades K-2nd. He has won several awards for his classroom movies…

  31. noe Says:


  32. K12 Online Conference Trailer: It’s Not About the Apps | Creating Lifelong Learners Says:

    […] presented twice for the conference before, my favorite being Film School for Video Podcasters in which I play a detective and  explain how to make better classroom […]

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