In May another teacher at my school and I took 60 kids and several parents on a trip to the San Francisco Ferry Building and the Asian Art Museum. The task for my students at the Ferry Building was to explore why it might be important to buy and eat locally produced food (once the rising cost of rice hit the mainstream media we spent quite a lot of time in class talking about the issue). They were to interview merchants to see what they could learn, then turn the whole thing into a video to show others. Several projects were posted on YouTube. Students recorded their interviews with digital cameras that had video function OR their cell phones. Most of the students put their video and titles together using MovieMaker. Overall, they did a really good job getting the interviews and asking the questions. The merchants loved the assignment and were effusive in their thanks for getting kids to think about sustainability. It was a pretty easy assignment and I think in the future I would spend more time preparing them for the content and the filming. Just for the record, this isn't all of the videos.
My purpose in this activity was not to have a fancy video production, but to explore an issue and have an audience for the outcome of their exploration. Some of the students had not made videos before, but reported they had a good time. They were excited to share their products with me and with their peers. That was the most important thing.