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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Digital Youth Portrait: Cameron

At school, at home, and on the road with his hockey team, Cameron experiments and innovates with his laptop, editing software, and a homemade green screen. More to this story.

Cameron Murray: I’m Cameron Murray and I live here in Westfield, Indiana.

All right, kids, well, you heard it here.

Good morning. This is Cameron Murray from WIS news.

Love technology.

I just love making movies and stuff like that.

The very first technology that I had, it was around when I was four, and it was this little red computer. It only had little mini games on it and stuff, but I loved that so much, and I played every single day.

My normal day is, I wake up at around five thirty.

Debbie Murray: We hear things going on down in the front entryway and furniture being moved and lampshades being tilted to get the right lighting. You can just see the passion that he has, and when he’s starting out his day like that, you can really see his passion.

Cameron Murray: I’m going to transfer this into iMovie. Make it slower or speed it up. Just see where my hand movements are.

Kevin Murray: You know, to use a hockey coaching term, it’s given them the fire in the belly. He’s really motivated and it gets him to wake up at five thirty in the morning and work on skills. And sure, he’s doing some fun videos, but we know that he’s building problem solving skills, the ability to learn on his own, and he’s learning as he goes. So that’s a skill that I think is invaluable.

Cameron Murray: I’ve played hockey ever since I was three. I’ve been on skates since I was two, so that’s a big passion.

Kevin Murray: He’s at a level now where he’s traveling every weekend, and one of the reasons I think that we got a laptop was that we spend almost four to eight hours a weekend traveling. So now it’s common for Cam to be in the back seat and he’s just working on a project.

Cameron Murray: So I could drag iTunes over there. This is what I use when I’m doing a project, so I have Final Cut in one square, then the internet, Photo Booth, and so everything’s just a step more organized.

I’ve gone on YouTube a lot of times and done tutorials, like how to do the green screen effect and stuff like that. And so I got nine green poster boards. I put thumb tacks on my garage and stuck the poster boards to the wall in my garage. It’s not very high tech or anything but it dos as a green screen. And that really, really got me doing new things like light sabers, teleporting effects. I’m still working on some, so...

Teacher 1: Okay, we’re gonna watch this video on reviewing how to multiply integers. Cameron made us a video of him walking forward and backward, okay. So--

Cameron Murray: I’m a very visual learner. If our teacher describes something that maybe I don’t understand, I go back and look at it, and then I picture it. I think, “Now what would that look like if I put it on film or on the green screen?”

Teacher 1: Now, what if we rewind it, what are we gonna see?

Everybody: Walk backwards.

Teacher 1: Walking backwards.

Cameron Murray: She knows about my technology skills and I’ve helped her before with her computer problems.

Teacher 1: Now, what if we walk backwards and play it forwards?

Walking backwards.

Cameron Murray: She was teaching this lesson but she thought that it wasn’t very exciting.

Teacher 1: And what if we rewind it?

Everybody: Walk forwards.

Teacher 1: Walking forward.

Cameron Murray: I made this video called “Rewind” and I did tons of stuff. I poured one glass of water into the other, and so it looked like the water was coming up from this glass into this one. And so I said, “Well, I can just rewind it for you.” And she just thought that was awesome. It really helped her out.

Teacher 1: Okay, so when he was walking backwards, but we rewound it, it looked like he was going forward, so a negative times a negative is a positive.

Man 1: Okay, you all set?

Cameron Murray: Yep.

Girl: Yep.

Man 1: Here we go.

Girl: Good morning, WI--

Cameron Murray: I produce the announcements a day in advance for the whole school to see.

David Mundy: Cameron decided we needed a green screen. He had developed his own green screen at home, so we had a perfect wall, a perfect place to put it. We had another person who donated the paint, and we now have our own green screen here, which has been fantastic.

Other students are now using the green screen, learn how to use that, learn how to add backgrounds, learn how to use the technology we have to even enhance their projects.

Cameron Murray: The computer, it recognizes the green. If you edit it so that it can be invisible, then you can put any picture behind it. And so right now, we have a jungle scene behind us.

Christopher Sluder: Cameron’s a good resource, because he knows a little more about some of the software we have than I do.

Sometimes I know more than the kids and sometimes they are teaching me things, so, you know, learning goes both ways.

Cameron and girl: And thanks for watching and have a monkey Monday.

David Mundy: One of the things we’ve talked about a lot with our teachers is, don’t be afraid to let the kids come up and create assignments.

Actually, most of the time, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised when you let them use their strengths to develop their own lessons. You know, and the kids will work three times harder when they’re doing something they really enjoy.

Cameron Murray: All right, I did my poet research project on Walt Whitman. At the of eleven, he completed his formal school, so at our age, he finished school.

“The World Below the Brine.”

“Forests at the bottom of the sea... the change onward

from ours to that of beings that walk on other spheres.”

Cameron Murray: Thursdays, I do a after school program called Tech Club with Mrs. Esterline.

Maria Esterline: Every time I introduce any project that has technology, or any lesson that I teach that has technology, his eyes just open and it’s just-- you see that he’s just grasping it and just taking it and thinking of what else he could do with it.

Teacher 2: So you’re nesting sequences.

Cameron Murray: Right, and now they’re not here.

Maria Esterline: It’s just really amazing to me that he took it upon himself to go and learn on his own through the Apple store. I’ve even had him tutor me over the summer, because I knew that he would be such a great teacher, and teaching me and helping me to understand.

Cameron Murray: It was admin.

Maria Esterline: Oh, admin?

Cameron Murray: What’s interesting is that they’re older but they know less than you. And so it’s fun sometimes doing it the other way around. Instead of your teacher teaching you, that you just help them out on something.

Debbie Murray: So Cam, how was your day?

Cameron Murray: Awesome.

Debbie Murray: Was it really?

Cameron Murray: Great day, yes.

Cameron Murray: I really like all types of music. My favorite band would probably have to be AC DC ‘cause I play the guitar and I like rock. I have a rock band, which is a lotta fun. And you actually get to like play the guitar and do the drums. I love video games. I try to, you know, keep my balance on not too much.

Cameron Murray: I took three shots. One of me playing a piano of the song

Cameron Murray: One of me playing the guitar of the song and one of me singing the song. And so it looked like there were three of me, like clones.

Kevin Murray: Very rarely, the kids look at instruction manuals these days. So they are empowered to just go out and learn. And if I’m a parent and I’m wondering, “Wow, how do I provide the wherewithal for my children?” just get into their way. Let them learn. Give them the tools and then let them go, because whether we like it or not, they already have the thinking skills, the problem solving skills. They know how to collaborate.

Cameron Murray: This is it. I just keep on looking and looking and looking for new things to do on, like my movie programs on my Mac. Like I’ve totally tricked out the screen savers and stuff like that. And I just love doing it. I just think it’s so much fun and this is-- I think that this is the future.

Man 1: Have you ever cut grass?

Cameron Murray: I have cut grass.

It’s-- I don’t think it’s my thing. So instead, this summer, I’m going to send out a neighborhood email, saying that if anyone would like all their picture memories and maybe a couple songs, I could put a slideshow with all sorts of transitions and text. I’m ranging from like maybe ten cents a picture or however I’ll lay that out, so, that’s my summer job.

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Video Credits

Produced and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis

Coordinating Producer

  • Lauren Rosenfeld


  • Christa Collins

Camera Crew

  • Seguim-Arnold Productions

Production Support

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

Production Assistant

  • Doug Keely

Original Music

  • Ed Bogas

Senior Video Editor

  • Karen Sutherland


Green screen: A technique for mixing two images or frames together, in which a color from one image is removed (or made transparent), revealing another image behind it.

Final Cut Pro: A professional nonlinear editing-software application.

GarageBand: A software application that allows users to create music or podcasts.

iMovie: A video-editing software application that allows Mac users to edit home movies.

Sources: wikipedia.org


Discussion Questions

1. Is Cameron typical of kids in your community? Why, or why not?

2. How would you describe the attitude of Cameron's parents toward technology and Cameron's interest in digital media?

3. How would you describe the attitude of Cameron's teachers toward technology and Cameron's interest in digital media?

4. What did you think of Cameron's Rewind video? Was this a good use of multimedia for learning? Why, or why not?

5. What would it take to support kids like Cameron at your school? What are the potential challenges?



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