Case Studies




Case Study - Apple Computer and
Digital Movie-Making for Education

Client: Apple—Worldwide Marketing Department


Apple Computer needs to impress teachers with the usefulness of a low-cost digital movie-making tool.


Apple hires DesignWorlds for Learning to organize and produce a wildly successful series of education-related movie projects that leverage the talents of real teachers as well as Hollywood experts.

As many teachers and school administrators began favoring Windows PCs over the past decade, Apple’s Worldwide Marketing Department needed powerful messages to reclaim the education market.

When Apple introduced iMovie, a low-cost digital movie-editing tool for the masses, the company wanted to show teachers how easy it was for them and their students to create great digital movies. The hope was that with this ease of use, coupled with an array of supporting technologies, would help position Apple for a future suite of integrated multimedia applications (now known as iLife)—all integrated easily with the web through Apple’s Digital Hub

The Education Design Challenge

The best way to prove that Apple was a better educational solution was to show real-life, in-the-classroom teachers creating their own digital movies. The resulting movies and learning projects would become the foundation for presentations at national education and industry shows, such as the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) and MacWorld.

To design the project, Apple faced three marketing challenges:

• What messages best speak to teachers and administrators about the power and fun of using Apple computers to make digital movies and about the uniqueness of iMovie, iMacs and iBooks?

• What exemplary teacher and student digital movie projects best support those marketing messages and show how digital movies can be integrated effectively into the curriculum?

• How can digital movie content and related material on Apple’s education web site introduce teachers to the art of audiovisual storytelling and movie-making so that Apple is the first choice when the time comes to recommend a new computer for multimedia instruction and products.

Apple turned to DesignWorlds for Learning, Inc. to help solve these challenges and to design creative, exemplary educational projects that would become compelling web content

Why DesignWorlds?

Apple picked DesignWorlds for Learning, Inc., based primarily on the company’s unique experience and its wide circle of outstanding colleagues who can come together quickly to master complex challenges. DesignWorlds has access to professionals such as media teachers, innovative web designers, writers, and Hollywood animators and story developers—ideal team members for collaborative multimedia projects.

DesignWorlds President and CEO, Dr. Ted Kahn was a particular asset for the Apple project. During digital video’s early years, Dr. Kahn was in charge of user education at Digital F/X, Inc., an Emmy-award winning startup company that helped pioneer desktop digital video editing for novices, as well as high-end digital effects systems for Hollywood, commercial and television markets. Much of his effort was directed at people with little or no previous video editing or multimedia production experience—just like the teachers Apple was trying to reach with its iMovie messages. Dr. Kahn was also a co-founder of the Broad Alliance for Multimedia Technology and Applications.

Additionally, DesignWorlds had experience in documenting best teaching and learning practices in several San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles high schools and multimedia academies, as part of previous work with BaySCAN (Bay Area School-to-Careers Network).

What did DesignWorlds do?

DesignWorlds worked with Apple marketing executives and managers to craft messages that show the education market how digital movies could enhance education:

  • Enhance Teaching: Bringing social issues alive
  • Enrich Learning: Building bridges to higher-order thinking skills and to other students in remote locations
  • Build Community: Document a multimedia fair that brings school and community together around exhibiting student multimedia projects

DesignWorlds acted as executive producer for this project, pulling together a creative design and production team of 10 outstanding people from the San Francisco Bay Area and Hollywood. Four exemplary video projects were conceived, designed and produced by teams of elementary, middle and high school students under the guidance of their teachers. The resulting movies (and related learning resources) became a core part of the official Apple educational web site. These materials were made available to any teacher who wanted to see how easy iMovie is to use in making compelling digital movies. Visual annotated tips and hints, designed by award-winning Hollywood professionals, were added to the web site, with topics ranging from selecting the best camera angles to storyboarding and good visual storytelling. All four projects were also linked to associated curriculum “units of practice,” including lesson plans and learning resources for teachers, through the web-based Apple Learning Interchange (ALI).

With an eye toward making this new web resource the basis of an online digital movie-making virtual learning community, Apple introduced it to thousands of educators at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in June, 2000, as well as at MacWorld in New York in July, 2000. Apple kept the DesignWorlds content for its web pages as the central focus of its desktop-video-in-education section for over 15 months. Apple regarded this content as the best resource for helping teachers learn about using digital movies for education, and it resulted in the creation of a web gallery with other exemplary user-contributed desktop movies that continues to this day.

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