The Rochester International Academy library is often full of middle school students at lunch. While they are from many different cultures, one glue that binds these 11 – 13 year-olds together is their reliance on their cell phones. They use them to translate, schedule, update, draft and DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. And by document, I mean take pictures. SnapChat, Instagram, uploaded selfies….these students are creating and sharing image content throughout their day.
How better to tap into that youthful enthusiasm than by building a lesson around green screens? I installed the Do Ink app on my phone and was surprised at how easy it was to use. Within five minutes, Harry and Meghan had an unexpected guest at their nuptials:
I used a green screen clipped to a bookshelf for my image. I guess my turquoise flower was a little too close to the green tone since it was “green screened” out above.
I next tried using Microsoft Publisher to put me inside the actual chapel but had the opposite problem with my green screen. I believe some shadows differentiated my green screen enough that I couldn’t make it fully transparent. If I had more time, I would play with different lighting. In a pinch, I could always erase the remaining green screen in Microsoft Paint, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a green screen, doesn’t it? I used a picture of St. George’s Chapel I found on the Library of Congress website.
Original Image Source: Bain News Service, Publisher. St. George’s Chapel. [Between and Ca. 1920] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2014706219/>.
I tested out some of the video backgrounds from Do Ink with students today, and they enjoyed them. As we were creating, I started thinking about how this hands-on activity would be a great lead-in for a lesson on website evaluation or internet safety. They would have real world experience manipulating images. It wouldn’t be much of a leap for them to think of how someone might do this for nefarious reasons.
I also see how working with a green screen might help our students in their other academic subjects. A fellow teacher and I discussed having students in a science class point out features in different body systems that are projected behind them on a green screen. They could make a video in both English and their other languages. This resource could be used in future science classes. We are enthusiastically planning to complete this before the end of the school year.