Appy Hour Rewind: Mozilla Popcorn Maker

May 28, 2014
Kelly Mendoza Director of Professional Development
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Technology Integration, Tools

How can you use video editing and remix to promote critical-thinking skills? In this month's Appy Hour, hosted by Common Sense Media and co-sponsored by Educator Innovator, we feature Mozilla Popcorn Maker, a free Web tool for editing and remixing videos. Popcorn Maker is part of Mozilla's Webmaker project, a collection of online tools that teach how the Web works and enable students of all ages to create amazing content. With Popcorn Maker, students can pull in audio or video "base" layers from sites like SoundCloud, Vimeo, or YouTube, and then add in text, images, and other multimedia components that appear like pop-ups on the base layers. Students can publish their videos to an online community and make them available for others to remix.

In this month's Appy Hour, Merve Lapus, Common Sense Media's senior manager of education programs, hosts presenters Amy Burvall and Jen Proctor. Burvall is a remix culture fan and high school teacher at Le Jardin Academy in Hawaii, and is recognized for her History for Music Lovers video series. Proctor is a filmmaker and assistant professor of journalism and screen studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Amy Burvall begins by sharing the importance of remix and mash-up in the classroom. She discusses how her high school students transform and play with video and multimedia content, inspiring creativity and building critical thinking skills. As one of the first 11 Webmaker Fellows for Mozilla, Amy developed several projects using Popcorn Maker (see her projects here). At the beginning of the school year, students created videos focused on "where I've been, where I am, and where I'm headed" (see student sample). Amy's students also use Popcorn Maker for research presentations. One student explored the concept of translating literature -- specifically, whether emotions translate, such as in the translation of Finnegan's Wake (see student sample). Through the inclusion of pop-ups, students can include thoughts and questions, provide citations, or point viewers to additional resources with embedded websites and links. Check out Amy's Field Note on Popcorn Maker for more ideas.

Jen Proctor shares how she uses Popcorn Maker with her college students as a way to apply film theory to film texts. She finds students can have difficulty effectively applying film theory, often going too general or broad with their analyses. She uses Popcorn Maker to help students apply theory to a particular film or scene. For example, to explore gender issues in film, she had students read Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Students then explored gender dynamics in the film Vertigo. Students took a clip from a scene in Vertigo and, with Popcorn Maker, included pop-ups to point out representations of gender, such as the concept of "male gaze." Pop-ups offered students a great way to illustrate their close read of the film and demonstrate their understanding of concepts from Mulver's theory. Read more about how Jen uses Popcorn Maker in her film studies course.

Other tools in Mozilla's Webmaker project are Thimble, a webpage editor and set of remixable projects that teach kids how to write the Web, and X-Ray Goggles, which helps students see the code behind any webpage and then remix elements into their own creations. 

To learn more about how these two innovative educators use Popcorn Maker with students, watch the webinar below. 

Note: This video refers to Graphite, the former name of this website.

See what other educators are saying about Mozilla Popcorn Maker by reading Teacher Reviews.

Do you use Mozilla Popcorn Maker? Write a Teacher Review today!