How to make a HOW TO video look good!


We’re going to shoot our video like a cooking show producer directs and produces their “how to” shows. So, if you’re thinking like a cooking show producer, You’re on the right track.  We’ll be ready in no time!!!

It’s a simple recipe.

1. Plan the video. There will be two pieces needed to be shot. Stay tuned for the specifics.
2. Write a quick script-ish of what you want to show.
3. Shoot the main video (A Roll): It’s the explanation.  Also, use a tripod on the recording device or make sure it stays as still as possible! USE A TRIPOD!
4. Shoot the close ups (based on the main video commentary).This is also known as B Roll.  This is the second part that you will shoot, capture.
5. Using an editing tool like iMovie, you’re going to assemble the two clips together.  A roll below, B roll on top.


iMovie: You see the Blue tracks are the video and their connected audio.  The bottom blue track, AKA the A roll, is the video with the audio description of what I’m doing. The top one, AKA the B roll, are the close up (CU) shots of what I’m saying to help provide necessary details. The Green track is the song.  The small home plate-looking things above the video track are Markers that I added (using the M key) to help me see where I need to add the B roll.  They’re just guides.

6. Fix audio levels (between -10 – 0), add a music track in the background (make sure its at a much lower level than the speaking audio).

7. Add text, if needed.

8. Export, upload to the global stage.

9. Get a producer chair with your name in it.

Let’s watch how the completed movie looks like?

Let’s watch how this process looks like?

This process should help move the description and instructions much faster.  It keeps the video interesting and it also provides the nessessary details needed to TELL your stories.  Use this as a tool and guide to make your very own “cooking style” video.


How to make an iPad/tablet roll out a success. Learning from two schools in Vista, California.

a Digital Promise Story.

Vista, Ca
boy and iPad
Happy, proud young man. Photo by Beth Duncan


An Overview
A wonderful big idea + A thought out plan + Buy-in from the school community + And, a constant reminder as to why they’re doing this made this iPad rollout a super success!  Before I go on, I need to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the Learning coaches at both locations, the administration, and the many volunteers that made this day a celebration and not just a ardous task for everyone!

The iPad rollout was A HUGE VICTORY for Vista School District’s Rancho Minerva and VIDA middle schools this past weekend! It was a model for other schools to learn from. Although it was one of the hottest days in history for Vista, California (FYI: they’re about 15 min from the beach, too), it didn’t stop the crowds from coming and being a part of this celebration for learning!  As I pulled into VIDA middle school, there were families posing with their new iPad, as if they were picking up a puppy from the pet store and introducing it to their family. I got out of my car quickly and helped take a family portrait for the different families. I can tell that the schools did a wonderful job communicating the importance, the possibilities, and the value that this journey will provide not only the students but their families at home, too.

Make it a Celebration
Both schools had music, activities, stations for little sisters and brothers to interact with middle school students and the iPads. I also enjoyed seeing community members volunteering at these events as well. There was a group of students from a local college there helping parents with questions about the university and the process of getting ready between now and then. The food trucks came in handy as well. One of them was a Hawaiian shaved ice truck that, I believe, did very well, considering the almost 99° temperature. I liked the selfie station and the I photo station in the library. The kids ran some of these fun stations!!! Also, VIDA had a student store outside, selling branded clothing and other cool school stuff. I bought a cool cap! They appeared to have a steady stream of people ready and willing to buy something: from shirts, to bags, to even school branded headphones.


Make students a critical part of the event
A humongous plus for these events was the use of the students. At both schools, there was a large group of students wearing distinctive shirts that said “How can I help you” on them. The students were everywhere answering questions from parents and  they were a huge help with translating where needed. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Every chance I saw one of them, they were either jumping up-and-down, smiling, and laughing. As parents, nothing can be better– happy children!!!


Create volunteer excitement
At the schools, everyone volunteered. They gave up there Saturday to do this, to be a part of this, they were there from as early as 7 AM until 4 PM. I didn’t even mention the countless hours the teachers and the students put into this celebration the night before as well as the previous weeks leading to the event. You can see it everywhere. there was evidence everywhere of the thinking that went into making sure today was going to be a great day. Every student, parent, and teacher I interviewed shared with me how happy, excited, and proud of their school to have been selected. They all see this as a necessary component to help meet the needs of their children.  Also, They recognize that there will be bumps along the way, however, this is part of the learning lessons journey they have to and are willing to take.


Celebrate your cheerleaders
At Rancho Minerva, I was shooting some time lapse video inside the library and it was such a pleasure to listen to the library staff greet the families, explain the process to them, and congratulate them. Two of the library staff kept reaching out and tapping the kids on the shoulders as if they did something worthy of a shoulder tap. It was beautiful to see that shy middle school smile pop up time after time.


Plan clear stations
Even though, the lines, at times were super long, the energy levels stayed high. The schools did a great job making sure families had their questions were answered throughout the waiting process. Rancho Minerva and VIDA Middle Schools had very clear stations. Parents knew where to go and what was next. If you’re in a position that will be organizing a roll out like this one, you need to consider what the different stations look like. At Rancho Minerva, the stations were titled, iStart, iDocumentation, iGet, iInsure, and throughout the school, there were iNeed help stations as well. Both schools really thought through the station planning very efficiently and very effectively. The student helpers helped connect parent to the right places.


Document and story tell your victories
Lastly, I appreciated the storytelling and documenting student teams. They demonstrated how important it is to capture the stories of the day and share them with the world. A look local news team were so impressed with the quality of work of these students storytellers that they asked them to send B roll footage, coverage, that they had been shooting over to the station for a 4:30 PM broadcast. Their teacher, Beth Duncan, was a wonderful cheerleader for her teams as well. This is something all schools need to consider and plan for as well. Vista is about 2 1/2 hours away from me and I don’t even remember any of the drive home yesterday because of how excited I was with what I saw and what I experienced. I want to thank Rancho and VIDA, our Vista schools, for making me love my job even more!

Next stop: Learning!!!!!

[draft] Challenge: how do you figure things out?


So much of school is about the problem and then the solution, however, the part that’s missing is the middle part– how do you get to a solution? What did the journey look like? What questions did you ask to get there? What did you know going into that journey? What do you need to know to go into that journey? what does that middle process look like?

An observation: because schools focus so much on the solution, the right answer, don’t dig into the middle, in other words, the story of learning. so, what happens is the following questions dominate: what do you want me to do? How do you want me to do it? When is it due? These questions all bypass that middle process, the framework to figuring things out, connecting the dots. so, when these questions dominate the education space, questions like “what if”, “why”, “how come”, and “if” lose out. These are questions that are at the cornerstones of curiosity. stop. Look around. See how the world needs more what if, how come, if, and why questioning.

So for you, the storyteller, I challenge you to make a movie and Ask questions that engages people in a conversation that explains and describes how they connect dots, figure things out.

Think about your process. When was the last time you figured something out? What did that journey look like? Did technology play a role in helping you? What did those guided activities look like? What resources did you use to figure it out?

Let’s focus on that part of the story away that gets left out, in many cases, at our schools.


[draft] Curiosity is a great storyteller!

Explorer vs passenger.
Researcher vs a scientist.
Student vs learner.
Leader vs manager.

Trying to prescribe learning process via curriculum can be ultimately dangerous because prescribing a one-size-fits-all, prescheduled model that is cured or certain type of time, doesn’t really prepare students to survive and thrive in school.