Its been a while and I thought that I would change the way I do things. I’m going to switch between issues in the media and using video in the classroom. I’m still pretty new at using WordPress so it’s going to be a learning experience…
More and more classroom teachers are introducing video production to their students. It works on several levels. First, students are used to television and the idea of making a short video appeals to them. Second, every video a student makes is like a mini research paper so everything that works for a research paper works for a video. Third, students who are creative or more “hands-on” oriented will excel, gain confidence and self-esteem.
Everybody watches TV. According to kidshealth.org children spend as much as 1000 hours a year watching TV so it’s not a real stretch to believe that kids enjoy television. The idea of making short TV shows is very appealing. Students who have never shown much interest in school have perked up for me in my production class and done very well. Several have actually graduated and moved on to the local community college in order to continue their studies.
The main reason that using video in a classroom is so valuable is the fact that creating a single video requires a great deal of collaborative learning. Donna Lund of Robert Morris College wrote that she has learned to “appreciate the power of video technology to enhance language arts skills of secondary students in many ways.”
Some of the basic skills learned in making a video include writing for an audience, public speaking, research skills, learning to work within a group and problem solving. (Lund) In my class, students must form “Production Companies” that bid to compete for funds. In order to do so, groups must brainstorm ideas within the parameters of the assignment, submit a written program proposal that addresses issues of location, style, genre and the target audience as well as a succinct description of the video. Then they write scripts, cut the audio and gather the images. At this point the students are allowed to start their editing. The final productions are shown on what we call Presentation Day and a blanket invitation is sent out to the teachers and administrators in the school. Students then stand up in front of the group and talk about their video before it is aired.
It can work so well that some of my kids don’t even realize that they are learning. I have had kids come in to my class who are painfully shy, in danger of failing or dropping out or who can’t see the value of school. When these students begin to see that they are capable of great things in a medium that they love, something clicks.
I’d like to digress just a moment and share a story. Early in my teaching career, I was given a student, TD, that no one else wanted. I heard all of the horror stories. He was a disruption. He was lazy. He was trouble and so on. I met him and put him to work on the school news show we did at the time. TD enjoyed it and started to take it seriously. It turned out that he was a bright, creative and somewhat frustrated with school. He was also always in trouble. But he worked hard for me and to wrap up the story, he came to see me at the start of 2008. He told me two things that made my day. One, he stayed in school so he could work on videos and two, he is now in film school and is working on his first film for an upcoming festival.
Self-esteem works and it happens easily with classroom video production.
Next: Getting Started