Educator of the Month: Aaron Johnson

February 2, 2017 / By

Aaron Johnson is a media specialist at Western Middle School, one of three middle schools in Greenwich Connecticut. Western has approximately 550 students, and in 2015, all secondary schools in their district went 1 to 1 chromebook. Chromebooks are inherently internet devices and WeVideo presented the district with the only viable cloud based video editing solution. Students and teachers are increasingly using the tool for student driven videos projects and podcasts.
As a media specialist, Aaron is responsible for teaching Digital Literacy courses in the 6th and 8th grades, as well as, provide teachers with instructional support.  He says it is important that almost all students takes these courses, as they enter from four different feeder elementary schools, and exit to a large high school. In 2012 he was accepted as a Google certified teacher and got to visit Google’s HQ in Mountain View, CA where he also became a Google Certified Trainer. Aaron has a passion for film and photography; he’s been recording videos from a new perspective with his drone for the past 2 years.

First Project

My first WeVideo project in my 8th Grade Digital literacy course is a WMS drone Commercial. The purpose of the project is to prove that the students are proficient at editing video. Students receive 10 minutes of drone footage of our school, and they must edit those ten minutes, into a 35 second commercial. This requires students to pay attention to details, as they look for smooth, non shaky clips. They also must include a title slide, captions, and copyright free music tracks.  It is also a unique project because I provide them with very little “how to” direct instruction. Therefore, students must self assess their individual proficiency level. For those that are using WeVideo for the first time, I encourage them to “personalize” their learning by accessing resources for beginners in the WeVideo Academy. After this project is complete, students are prepared for a more complex Right Fit College Interview Project.

Favorite Feature

Many chromebook “haters” don’t believe that web based tools are powerful. However, Wevideo’s timeline mode is extremely powerful. The timeline allows students to build layered videos. Students have the ability to customize their videos, mute and increase audio on various tracks, and resize clips to recreate the infamous “Brady Bunch effect”. The layered feature really makes Wevideo a PRO tool with few compromises. The possibilities for are endless for the creative filmmakers.


Necessity is the mother of all inventions. Our district was going 1 to 1 three years ago and we had no idea how students were going to edit video on their Chromebooks. I went to a reliable source and found WeVideo. WeVideo is like a utility knife because it can be used in so many different ways. Every time I use the WeVideo for a project I always find myself asking the kids “wow how did you do that!”We all know of those students that just wiggle in their seat and are full of energy. In my experience, those students thrive on WeVideo as they focus on the intricacies of video.Coworkers love that fact that it works so well on there Chromebooks and that their work is always safe in the cloud. The Google single sign on always works and teachers no longer have to worry about students usernames and passwords. I am constantly thinking of new ways to use the tool. I recently got my hands on a green screen. It is so easy to Chroma key away the screen and transport yourself to anywhere in the world. Also, science students will begin a Rube Goldberg project and they will film the process of building their machines and use voiceovers to describe how they overcame certain challenges.

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