“To fulfill the promise of digital citizenship, Americans must acquire multimedia communication skills that include the ability to compose messages using language, graphic design, images, and sound, and know how to use these skills to engage in the civic life of their communities.” ~Renee Hobbs
As we head into the New Year, it is exciting to see a number of great video competitions open to students. From our regional spring SEVAs competition to NextVista’s national and international events, students can hone their 21st century skill set (critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, (digital) citizenship) – as they build their ePortfolios and digital footprints.
It is also exciting to see a growing number of free online tools and tips to help student filmmakers through the process of taking a message and transforming it into a media gem. For example:
And the big ah ha? Hey, until hearing Nick’s presentation, I had not considered that almost never in a news story will you see transitions used. Aside from the rare dissolve transition, used to show a flashback or change in time, transitions are not part of an award-winning newscast. But, oh my, do students, especially elementary students, love to use transitions! Nick’s presentation could be just the tip students need to rethink the use of star wipes, for instance, in transitioning their viewers from one scene to the next.
Video editing – Although I’m still grieving the loss of cloud-based JayCut, such an awesome freebie that even included green screen options – and allowed editing from both Mac and PC, eliminating all kinds of school-to-home/home-to-school issues – I continue to be grateful for iMovie, Movie Maker, and PhotoStory3 (one of my favorite digital storytelling tools!). And I look forward in the New Year to exploring free smartphone apps for filmmaking.
I think one of the most important things we can do for students is to support and promote their efforts at becoming effective multimedia writers. Providing tools and tips is one way – along with providing authentic audiences. Over the next month, I’d like to gather a comprehensive list of student video competitions. If you know of any, please jump in and leave a comment.
“The great films have not been made yet. The ones who will make them are out there, though, riding a skateboard.” ~Robert Altman
This year I’ve decided to add Photo Story 3 to my workshop offerings. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to introduce teachers and students to this extremely user-friendly program. For a number of reasons (and I’ll limit myself to five), it’s a great beginning step into filmmaking and the art of digital storytelling.
Reason #2 – Panning effects – If you’re a Ken Burns fan, you’ve got zooming and panning tools at your fingertips. In fact, random panning and zooming are the default setting. You can, of course, turn off this effect for all or for individual pictures – or customize your pan (click on the Customize Motion button, click in Specify start and end position of motion box.
Tip: If you”re using Movie Maker 2 and are bummed about not having a “Ken Burns Effect” (Windows XP) or find the Vista panning effects a bit limiting, you can easily bring a still image into Photo Story 3, add the panning and zooming effects, and then import that image into your Movie Maker project. Easy-peasy!
Reason #4 – Concerned about copyright issues for music? Not to worry, PS3 has you covered with a built in music selections to choose from that allow you to select the properties that best match your story. Or you can upload MP3 files. Start with Jamendo.com if you’re looking for copyright, royalty-free music.
Reason #5 – It’s a FREE download from Microsoft.
Need more convincing why PhotoStory3 is a great program? Checkout some classroom samples from Paul Hamilton’s Universal Design for Learning wiki. And if you have samples of student-created PS3 projects, I would love to add them to the filmmaking resources page of Toolkit4blogwalker!
I’ve known Glen Bledsoe for about eight years, through our mutual association with the National Writing Project. Whenever I have the opportunity to participate in one of his workshops, poster sessions, or panel discussions, I am blown away by both the brilliance of his observations on teaching and learning and the innovative ways he molds and weaves technology into the elementary classroom. So I was thrilled when my copy of Teaching the New Writing arrived this week, knowing that it included Glen’s chapter on Collaborative Digital Writing: The Art of Writing Together Using Technology!
A visit to some of the multimedia projects developed by Glen’s students will give you a window into the many ways he infuses technology into his language arts program, eliminating barriers of poverty, language, or past disengagement with writing:
I used to hesitate sharing Glen’s projects with teachers new to technology and digital storytelling because their reaction was likely to be “how about you show us something better suited to beginners.” But if you take a sample such as the Library Ghost, which basically involved an entire class of 4th graders, Glen does a beautiful job of explaining the steps that moved an idea from concept to product. His chapter is loaded with common sense suggestions and easy to follow tips. Glen initiates projects like Library Ghost by connecting the laptop to the projector and beginning the storytelling process, starting with:
Because I am mindful that many teachers must justify digital storytelling as a part of their English/Language Arts program, one of the many lines I’ve highlighted from Glen’s chapter addresses standards:
It’s not difficult to take a collaborative digital media project and match it against either a given state’s technology or language arts standards…While the exercise is not difficult to do, I don’t set the standards first and then design the projects around them. I look at the project from an artistic perspective and then find standards that match. That just the way my mind works. The inspiration comes first. If the idea is powerful enough to move me and my students, then it will have enough substance to engage the standards. Grabbing an idea and following through with it is a real-world task. I believe the purpose of standards is to reflect real-world needs and apply them to student work. If students are creating projects that reflect real-world tasks, then it follows that they will be adhering to the standards.”
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in the foothills, so I’m heading out to my deck to start reading the next chapter, Kevin Hodgson’s Digital Picture Books – From Flatland to Multimedia. If you’re not already subscribing to Kevin’s blog, you’re missing great tips and examples of what digital storytelling looks like with 6th graders!
Due to very iffy wifi connections, I was not able to do much live blogging from CUE (although I did Tweet much of the conference). Here are a few of the gems from the Wednesday pre-Cue EdubloggerCon-West meet up (Thank you, Steve Hargadon, for putting together this event!)
I first learned of the Bay Area Writing Project when my daughter was in 2nd grade at Rooftop Elementary School in San Francisco. At a PTA meeting, teachers enthusiastically shared how a summer institute across the bay had completely changed the way they would be delivering writing curriculum to their students.
And I remember my daughter coming home with her writer’s notebook and talking about “sloppy copy” and “author’s chair” and, just, well, wanting to talk about her writing.
We moved the following year out of the Bay Area and up to the Sierra foothills, where I eventually fell into a teaching job at my daughter’s school – and where I learned about the Area 3 Writing Project, the Sacramento region’s counterpart to the BAWP. I had the good fortune in 1995 to attend the A3WP Summer Institute. Like the Rooftop teachers, I began the next school year with a commitment to bring out the writer in every student.
It’s easy to make commitments like the above when you know you can count on the support of the amazing Writing Project network. For example, checkout what I found this morning while browsing the National Writing Project website: Literacy, ELL, and Digital Storytelling: 21st Century Learning in Action. I’ve had the pleasure of attending Clifford Lee’s Digital Stoytelling session live during an NWP conference. But now, thanks to a collaborative effort between the BAWP, NWP, and the Pearson Foundation, Cliff’s wonderful immigration project is online. This video is but one of the many resources posted to the site, providing the scaffolding for teachers thinking about structuring an immigration project – or any kind of documentary project.
What a gift to have 24/7 access to best practices for digital storytelling from teachers like Clifford Lee and his colleague Yumi Matsui!
I love being part of the ACE group, which always offers a Monday hands-on tech session at NCTE. Each year, I walk away with a deeper understanding of what 21st century teaching is all about.
Rich Rice opened the workshop with a session on K-16 Educational Blogging and Podcasting.
His second question: “What’s good about wikis?” Participants’ thoughts:
If you are looking for ways to make visible to teachers the power and possibilities of collaborative writing, take a tour of the many projects Troy has shared through this wiki. I love his Project Write: Book Discussions. The author links take readers to wikipedia-like resources pages. What a great model!
Allen Web led the third session, opening with a small rant on the design of 21st century computer labs, which look amazingly similar to 19th and 20th century “labs.” Small but revolutionary idea! I’ve asked Allen to send me a photo of the lab he has designed, where laptops are placed on small tables that can easily be moved to accommodate whatever project students might be working on. I now understand why the use of technology in classrooms with access to a few laptops always seems so much more powerful than what I typically see happening in elementary – secondary computer labs.
My favorite link on Allen’s LitArchives site = Civil Liberties Online Resources. Not on his LitArchives site, but very exciting is his Literary Worlds project. At a glance, more impressive than read/write projects I’ve viewed in Second Life!
I led the 4th session with an introduction to VoiceThread.
The 5th session was my first time to participate in one of Carl Young‘s workshops. Oh my, some great ideas and resources for teaching the realities of digital identities! Given that few K-12 students have received much instruction, either from home or school, on the ethical use of the Internet, Carl’s suggestion to those whose digital identities may already be questionable as potential employees, grant recipients, etc., to get out there and create a positive web identity. Love Carl’s resources and samples posted to Being Proactive!
Ewa McGrail, who organized this year’s ACE event, ended the day with a great activity and resources for teaching copyright and fair use. I’m really glad she’s posted the handout, since we ran short on time.
Interested in becoming a member of ACE? Contact Ewa. Next year’s NCTE ACE workshop will be in Philidelphia, one of my favorite cities:-).
*Image from Library of Congress American Memory Project – http://tinyurl.com/6nzl3k.
I’ve known Monica – and stood in awe of her work – for close to ten years, so I don’t know why the level to which she promotes questioning, creating, and sharing with her 4th grade students still amazes me. For a glimpse into her Web 2.0 journey, start with her presentation and then take a tour of Edinger House, her classroom blog.
William Teale added another layer to our presentation by pointing out that, although Monica and I have been exploring and experimenting with new tech tools for over a decade, many teacher are still intimidated by technology and the time commitment required for meaningful integration into the curriculum. Bill showcased two online projects: ePals and in2books. Although I was vaguely familiar with both ePals and in2books, I did not realize these two programs are both under the umbrella of ePals, a once fee-based program that is now free and very dynamic. The power of ePals is that a teacher with limited tech proficiency can easily enroll his/her students not only for online pen pal “demographics dances” (bill’s words), but can also connect them to powerful lessons and projects that promote global awareness and social action on such vital topics as water.
The in2books project provides free books to Title 1 schools, grades 3-5, and connects students with an adult pen pal (carefully screened by the organization!) for the purpose engaging students in reading and writing and promoting a love of books. Here’s a link to an NBC spotlight on the program – http://www.in2books.com/videos/video5.html.
OK, and the good news about our 8:30 a.m.-on-a-Sunday session was that our participants outnumbered the three of us, were impressively awake, and seemed to share our enthusiasm for Web 2.0 in the elementary classroom
I’ve blogged about Mathew Needleman before. Since attending his CUE 08 presentation, I’ve been following his blog and have even written videoconferencing sessions with Mathew into my district’s current EETT grant. But if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face with Mathew in real time or virtual time – or even if you have – you now have the opportunity to watch the amazing video he created for his recent K12Online Conference presentation Film School for Video Podcasters!
Mathew’s explanation of the storyboarding process will make you rethink those storyboarding templates (that I’ve been giving students). I also have a much better understanding of the Rule of Thirds now. He touched quickly on lighting too, an area I haven’t a clue about setting up, so I’m hoping maybe Mathew has an upcoming session on that topic.
What a strong case for media literacy in the elementary curriculum! Just wish I had joined Mathew live for his K12Online Conference session. Next year for sure!
“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.” Stanley Kubric
For the past couple of years, Nikos Theodosakis‘ The Director in the Classroom has been my top recommendation to teachers wanting to venture into filmmaking as part of their curriculum. In addition to tips and wonderful graphic organizers, Nikos also lays out a compelling argument (on behalf on his own children – and all children) for why filmmaking belongs in the classroom, starting with Part 1:
I have a new favorite: Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom, by John Golden. I found this gem while attending the July National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Institute for 21st Century Learning. What a great resource for secondary teachers – and probably upper elementary too. “Even though this book deals with cinematic technique and film study, it is ultimately a book about using film to help students improve their reading and analytical skills.”
Golden includes over 30 films, ranging from E.T. The Extraterrestrial to Life Is Beautiful , and provides strategies for viewing each, including reading strategies (e.g., predicting, responding, questioning, and storyboarding), textual analysis (e.g., characterization, point of view, iron, and connections/comparisons between authors’ and directors’ choices) and classroom tested suggestions for developing units. Tons of powerful images pulled from films, along with thought-provoking “Questions to Consider.”
I’m working on a presentation right now for our Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium‘s upcoming Video in the Classroom event. I’ll be sharing both books during my session – and am seeking a third to add to the list.
Helen Barrett is sharing her commitment to life-long portfolios and building the argument for portfolios in our own personal lives, not just for our students.
Realizing I had my camera with me, I logged onto UStream.tv.com and recorded Helen’s session.