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MSU Home :: Academics :: College of Education :: Project Study

Space Movie Project: Measuring Student Learning Through iMovie


This study was conducted by Undergraduate Research Fellow, Terri Ann Rose. Terri, an Education major from Winchester, Kentucky, worked with her mentor, Rebecca Roach (Professional Development Associate, 21st Century Education Enterprise), to develop the study. Rose's findings were presented in spring 2011 at Morehead State's Celebration of Student Scholarship and  the Posters at the Capitol event in Frankfort. The College of Education facilitated a two-day workshop, online learning community and ongoing in-school support for seventy-four students (50% female) from counties in eastern Kentucky. This was accomplished through collaboration with the faculty of the College of Science & Technology, the MSU Space Science Center and Kentucky Data seam. High school science and technology teachers from rural schools were presented the opportunity to work with science education professors, space science engineers and educational technology specialists to teach their students to research and record digital documentaries, called "Space Movies". These movies were later projected onto the  "larger than life" ceiling of the Digital Star Theatre, MSU's 100-seat, multi-function, state-of-the-art digital classroom.

Data and Methods

The data for this study is available through the Space Movie Project. All scores were collected at the Space Movie Film Festival, which was the culminating showcase of student movies. The scientific scores were judged by faculty members of the Space Science Center and the Science Department at Morehead State University and the technical and ethical scores were judged by technology faculty and staff of MSU.

The scientific scores were collected on a rating scale of 4 to 1 with 4 being the best score. These scores were based off of four criteria. Creativity scores were based upon innovative, original thought and ideas that expressed inventive new ways to view the topic of the movie. Accuracy scores required that all facts were well researched and that all sources were cited, reputable, and scientifically based in research. Depth of Knowledge required that students covered their topics in depth with details and examples. The graphic/image representation criteria was based upon all images representing accurate scientific information and any metaphoric examples had to properly represent complicated scientific principles.

Technical Quality and Ethical Use scores were collected on a rating scale of 4 to 0 with4 being the highest score. There were eight criterion for these scores. Attractiveness was ranked by use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. that enhanced the presentation. Voice-consistency rated voice quality that was clear and audible throughout the presentation. Soundtrack-Emotion criteria required that any music included matched the story line and evoked a rich emotional response. Grammar requirements included the proper usage of language and grammar that contributed to clarity, style, and character development.

The Duration of the Presentation required that each movie was 8-10 minutes in length. Images required that every image was clear to receive a perfect score. Originality criteria included creative, inventive, and original thought for the presentation of the topic. The Sources/Ethical Use category was ranked on whether or not students included accurate citations for all information including graphics, quotes, facts, and clips.


The learning objective for this project was to increase the skill and knowledge of high school students in the area of digital technology, primarily movie-making and digital models. The results of this project satisfied the original objective. This project is being conducted again this year, and some of the original participants will be returning along with new students.

Overall Results

The results of this project indicate successfully meeting the main objective of this project. For all scores, we can see that the median and mode are a more accurate representation of the data than the averages. The scientific scores are consistently rated 3 out of 4, which would be above average on a grading scale. The topics that the students presented were advanced for high school science, and some of the themes were abstract which makes the level of accuracy, the depth of knowledge, and graphic representation scores notable. Technical and Ethical scores were well above average for most items. Students choice of soundtrack was the lowest ranked quality, but the projects demonstrated exceptional use of grammar, images, and sources in most cases. It should be noted that the sound quality of the video recorders provided to the students were poor, which may have impacted voice-consistency.


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