Apps in the Classroom – Pinnacle Studio and iMovie

At our school we purchased student copies of both Pinnacle Studio ($12.99) and iMovie ($4.99), although we were able to get Pinnacle Studio for cheaper than the standard price by keeping an eye out for sales on the App Store.

Some teachers prefer iMovie and use it in their classes, but I personally prefer Pinnacle and use it with my fifth graders, so that is what I am going to talk about in this post (although anything I say about Pinnacle could also apply to iMovie, if that is your preference).

The first (and greatest) thing about Pinnacle is just how intuitive it is to use. I know that sentence can be applied to pretty much anything from the App Store (given that is is Apple's fundamental design philosophy), but it is worth repeating. As a teacher, you want to spend as little time as possible teaching how to use an app. You want to get past the training part and get right into actually utilizing the app in the classroom. Even though my students are only 10 years old, they were able to comprehend the fundamentals of Pinnacle after very little “training”. Once they got the hang of it, they started making movies for assignments and then shared new features or discoveries with their classmates as they worked.


This is what the video creation screen looks like. You are viewing a list of transitions and the video preview on the right.

Students can combine images together to make a photo story (with several transition options), combine clips together to make music videos or movies, add text, add background music, narrate over their video, or any combination of the above.

I am not going to spend my time on this blog teaching you how to actually use the app. You'll have to download it and play around with it to figure it out, but I promise you that it is very straightforward. Tutorials are also available online and on YouTube. What I want to do is show you how we used it in the classroom.

So far this year, students have done the following projects in Pinnacle/iMovie:

  1. They have made a commercial of themselves advertising “Going Green” with clips of themselves saving energy and recycling at home.
  2. The 8th graders have used it to film weekly school newscasts for the parents.
  3. They read a novel and then filmed themselves acting out a “movie” version of the book (these were really amazing).
  4. They have filmed the science teacher doing his demonstrations in class and then editing them together into cool little science videos for the parents.
  5. They have created promotional videos for the school, including videos about Catholic Schools Week, Veterans Day, our annual fundraising Bazaar, and more.
  6. The middle school students made videos describing how the International Baccalaureate learner profiles applied to them
  7. For Religion class, they acted out and filmed stories from the Bible.
  8. They've filmed field trips and performances. Save those fond memories for future viewing!

There are tons of options and it is a good tool for almost any subject. Some of the stuff these students have created has been really amazing. These sorts of projects are just inconceivable without iPads in the classroom.

Here are a few embedded sample videos of work created by our students, although almost anything available on our school YouTube channel was created by students with Pinnacle:


One of the science demonstration videos.

A video from a school fundraiser.

The Veterans Day assembly.

I am not going to include any samples of student work that was handed in for a grade, as they might be embarrassed to see their work on the internet. But as you can see from these non-graded videos, it is pretty amazing what the kids can put together (with a bit of teacher guidance).



8 thoughts on “Apps in the Classroom – Pinnacle Studio and iMovie

  1. Pingback: Apps Outside the Classroom – Amerigo Downloader | SchooliPads

  2. Hi Steven, I have been using iMovie quiet intensively. With 5 bucks, it is a great investment. Question is, if I already have iMovie, is it worth the money (12 bucks) ?
    (I think if I own none, I can choose one of them, but how if I already have iMovie?


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