How To Use Vine In The Project-Based Learning Classroom

ed note: As of 2017, Vine has been shutdown and its content archived

Project-based learning (PBL) — an educational approach in which students work together to solve real-world problems — is redefining how many kids learn. Vine, a social video app purchased by Twitter, is growing in popularity — and fast. What happens when the two collide? PBL teachers across the country intend to find out.

What Is Vine?

Recently we took a more general look at Vine in the classroom, but in short, Vine is video’s answer to the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, with a bit of tumblr and twitter thrown in.

This deceptively simple application allows users to capture and share six-second video clips–rather than pure gif animations–through social media. This short window might sound like a detriment to some, but is actually what makes Vine such a powerful creative tool: Users must consider how they will capture, edit and share content in a way that conveys their intended messages. The results can be stunning, and in the right hands, surprisingly effective means of communication.

This is precisely some teachers have adopted Vine as an educational tool, especially in the PBL classroom.

3 Ways To Use Vine In The Project-Based Learning Classroom

1. Simple how-to videos

Depending on how it is used, Vine can produce videos that play more like mini stop-motion films.

This approach lends itself well to simple how-to videos. When teachers ask students to create such videos, they are really inviting students to learn, internalize and relay information in a way others can understand. It also serves as an easy means of review days, months or even years down the line. This student-created Vine teaches viewers how to create a garden starter with a recycled water bottle, and is an excellent example of PBL and Vine in action.

2. Historical works, remixed

English and drama teacher Jodie Morgenson had a problem: Her students were so bored or put off by Shakespearean language that they seemed to disengage from the works entirely. Vine helped chang everything.

Morgenson asked her students to choose a favorite character from Macbeth, become that character (costumes encouraged), and then deliver that line via Vine. The results were fun, creative, and — best of all — made Shakespeare relevant and accessible to a new generation of students. You can see some of those Vines on Morgenson’s blog.

3. Science: in (and out) of the lab

The White House’s first Vine was not a major policy announcement or political statement — it was an educational message from its annual science fair. It fits: Vine and science are a natural pair. Science is a process of trial and error — a notion that PBL applies across all disciplines — and while written lab notes important, they are limited and do little for visual learners. Vine, on the other hand, lets students easily capture their experiments, analyze the data and relay what went right — and what didn’t.

Check out this student-created example to see this concept in action.

Get Started

These projects represent just a few of the ways Vine and PBL can work together in the modern classroom. With a little creativity, teachers can leverage Vine in a myriad of ways, and in virtually any discipline. You have to understand Vine before you can teach your students how to make the most of it, however, there are a number of online resources that can help you get started, including some amusing lessons from author and Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman.

As with most PBL projects, however, the best way to learn may be to just get your metaphorical hands dirty and create some Vines.

Why not create your own Vine to introduce a project, relay an important classroom procedure or demonstrate a key concept from your curriculum? Download Vine on your iPhone or Android device, and then share your experiments with others.

Aimee Hosler is a writer and mother of two living in Virginia. She specializes in a number of topics, but is particularly passionate about education and workplace news and trends. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo; image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad and nwabar teachers