User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Posts Tagged ‘technology integration

What’s In and What’s Out in Education

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I really like what’s in and what’s out of current trends.  I created the following chart of what I hope and wish would be education ins and outs in the NEAR future.

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Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

January 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Creating Engaging Curriculum: A More Perfect World

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Recently I revised my A More Perfect World curriculum unit.  I reformatted it to a Weebly website for ease of access and update the links and web tools.

2013-12-28_1106http://moreperfectfuture.weebly.com/

This unit is driven by several of my core beliefs regarding effective instructional practices:

  • Reading as Choice: Reading is such an amazing gift we have as humans and way too many students don’t like to read for their own pleasure and learning.  Reading engagement and enjoyment are increased when students are permitted to choose what they read. No single practice inspires my students to read as much as the opportunity to choose their own books (Becoming a Classroom of Readers).
  • Choices in Learning Content:  Choice in how the content is learned increases engagement and intrinsic motivation.  Students should be given choices as to how to learn the content.  Content should be presented to learners in a variety of ways: readings, videos, graphics with the only expectation that they learn it in a way that works for them.  This is in line with Universal Design for Learning Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Representation.
  • Choices in Expressing Knowledge and Competency: Choice in how the learner demonstrates his or her knowledge of the content increases engagement and intrinsic motivation.  Learners should be given a choice as to how they want to and can express what they learned about the content based on their own styles, interests, and strengths.  This is in line with the Universal Design for Learning Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression.
  • Student Interest: Incorporating student interests into the curriculum increases relevancy.  Curiosity and thus learning thrive when connected to and/or emergent from contexts which are familiar and meaningful to the learner (The Importance of Engaging Students’ Interest in their Learning).   In this case, this unit incorporate the current interest of many young people in dystopian fiction as well as gives them opportunities to delve into their own interest areas throughout the lessons.
  • Project-Based Learning: Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills. Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. (Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience).  For more about project-based learning, see my curated Scoopit on Project-Based Learning and my post Is It Project-Based Learning, Maker Education or Just Projects?
  • Drawing on Learners’ Idealism; Desire for a Better World: Many young people think about ways to create a better world. Idealism is a developmental milestone of adolescence. Young adolescents are idealistic at this stage, and they are quick to point out what is fair and what is not.  Their idealism pours into asking questions about the meaning of life, questions for which there are not definitive answers. They also become inwardly reflective about who they are and the roles they play. It is a great stage of life and a great opportunity and challenge to meet the needs of these young adolescents (Adolescent Development). These ideas should be integrated into the learning setting.
  • Arts Integration:  Arts integration is highly effective in engaging and motivating students. The arts provide students multiple modes for demonstrating learning and competency. A rich array of arts skills and intellectual processes provide multiple entry points for students linking to content in other subject areas. Similarly, arts instruction is deepened through integration of content from the other subject areas. It enlivens the teaching and learning experience for entire school communities. At its best, arts integration is transformative for students, teachers and communities. The imaginations and creative capacities of teachers and students are nurtured and their aspirations afforded many avenues for realization and recognition (Creating an Arts Integration School).

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

December 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Photography for Enhancing Social-Emotional Learning

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I spent the day attending a full day workshop on Phototherapy by Judy Weiser.  This post is not about how to use photos for therapy, but the workshop reinforced the power of images for building social emotional skills in our students.  There are many resources online about using digital cameras and images in the classroom.  The focus of this post is having our learners use photography and digital images to make personal connections with themselves, the content, each other, and other “cultures” with the ultimate goals of increased self-awareness, cultural awareness, and empathy.

lasfotos1http://www.beinglatino.us/cultura/arts/las-fotos-project/

Self-Portraits

Self-portraits have a lot of potential in assisting learners in developing greater self-awareness and self-concept as well as reinforce content area learning.   The use of self-portraits in the learning environment has a number of applications especially when combined with other content areas.

  • Language Arts:  Learners are told that they will be posing for a self-portrait.  They are asked to write a piece of the message and mood that they want their self portrait to convey.  They later work with a group to help develop that message and mood – using their group members for feedback and to help “stage” the settings for the individual self-portraits.
  • Language Arts:  Each learner chooses his or her favorite book – fiction or non-fiction and creates a hats to convey the major character’s or author’s persona.  Pictures are taken of each learner as they describe their character.

Selfies for Good

This is an extension of self-portraits.  Beth Kanter, non-profit guru who uses social media for social change, stated:

No doubt you’ve taken a “selfie,”  a self-portrait taken with your mobile phone camera and shared on Facebook or other social media channels.   Although selfies have been around for years, they have gained popularity recently.  But do selfies have benefits, especially for social change causes?

I wondered whether selfies can be used as part of your social content strategy to help support a social good cause?  I asked this question  here’s what I learned: –

  • The New York Public Library is using selfies as part of its social media initiative to engage library patrons.
  • Fedoras for Fairness uses the fedora hat as a metaphor for the many hats that women wear to create a brighter future for all. It is also a symbol of the need for immigration reform that treats women fairly, and a declaration that though women wear many hats.  Supporters are encouraged to share photos of themselves wearing a hat with the hashtag and say why the campaign is important.
  • See more at: http://www.bethkanter.org/selfies-for-good/#sthash.z0hCbE1K.dpuf

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This type of initiative could easily brought into the classroom with groups of students deciding on a school or local cause to promote; and using “selfies” for its promotion.

 

Sociology, Civil Rights, Social Activism

Photography can be used in a sociological, civil rights, social activism context.  This can occur through:

  • Studying how marginalized groups are using photography for empowerment; to give themselves a voice.  This, in turn, could help students from more mainstream cultures understand these cultures from their own perspective (not by reading about them in a textbook written by someone not of their cultures.)
  • Providing students living in marginalized groups with an opportunity to do some participatory photography projects.

Examining the Lives of Marginalized Cultures

Students can study and discuss some of the following photography projects that give marginalized cultures a voice and a sense of empowerment:

(Thanks, Judy, for sharing these great resources.)

Empowering Students Living in Marginalized Cultures

If the educator is working with students, who are or considered themselves marginalized cultures, they can have the learners do a participating photography project.

Participatory photography, sometimes referred to as ‘photovoice’, is a methodology used in human and community development that combines photography with self-development, creative expression and grassroots social action. A group of people are provided with cameras and through a series of workshops are offered the opportunity to express themselves and document an issue or problem that affects themselves and/or the people and the communities around them. The aim is to support people to define, communicate and improve their situation.

Participants are asked to represent their community or point of view by taking photographs, discussing them together, developing narratives to go with their photos, and conducting outreach or other action. It is intended to give insight into how people can conceptualise their circumstances and their hopes for the future. http://www.flashpointlabs.org/participatory-photography/

See Implementing Photovoice in Your Community for more details.

Living Images of History

With this teaching strategy, groups of students work together to bring historical images to life.  “Living images” help students develop a deeper understanding of a particular moment in history.

Teachers give groups of students (4-6 students per group) a set of 4-6 (primary source) photographs surrounding a specific period in history (e.g, March on Montgomery).  This activity works best if groups receive different sets of photographs.

Directions for Students.

  1. Review each picture, one by one, and answer the following questions:
    • What is the context for this picture? When and where was it taken?
    • What do you see? Specifically, what do you notice about the people in this image? Why are they? How do you think they are feeling? What might they be thinking?
    • What does this image tell you about the time period?
  2. After answering these questions for each picture, create a “living image” for each one. A “living image” recreates the scene from the picture in real life. Think about yourselves as actors who are supposed to assume the physical positions, gestures and facial expressions of the figures in the photograph. Each image should have a “director” who helps coordinate the scene. The picture should be a “freeze frame,” where actors hold their position for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Once you have created your living images, decide in which order you would like to display them. Then, work on transitioning from one image to the next so that your group can present these pictures seamlessly to the larger class.

See http://www.facing.org/resources/strategies/living-images-bringing-histor for full details.

Digital Storytelling Research: Engaging the Affective Domain

Digital Storytelling, obviously – using photos to tell a story, has a lot of applications in the classroom.  For more about these applications, see Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling.  What is interesting to note, and as a sidebar to this discussion on using photography for social-emotional learning, is that digital storytelling has the power to emotionally connect learners to the content resulting in deeper, more connected, personalized learning.

Georgetown University examined the question “What is the relationship between affective and cognitive—or between emotional and epistemological–dimensions of learning?” when digital storytelling was used to enhance humanities courses.

Some of the findings included:

Digital storytelling works at the intersection of the emotional and the epistemological aspects of learning, bridging story and theory, intellect and affect. For many students an emotional engagement with the topic is the point of departure that allows them to connect their stories to the relevant theories. As emotions are reclaimed cognitively, they enable students to write themselves into existing discourses and to contribute personal perspectives to an academic community.

Digital storytelling provides students with a site where they can inscribe their lived experiences not just as ‘this is what happened to me’ but as ‘this is what my story teaches us’.

Students described that they put much more effort into the production of a digital story than they would have writing a traditional paper. In addition, they mention investing “passion and love” into the completion of the story, not only making sure it was finished and accepted by the teacher, but connecting emotionally to their work.

Digital stories often bridge cognitive and affective dimensions of learning. Becoming aware of one’s own positionality, engaging with a problem more deeply or on a more personal level, may force students to leave an emotional-intellectual comfort zone. Sometimes this means students are motivated to say what other do not want to hear. Others feel the need to give voice to those who have been silenced by dominant disources. More generally, digital stories cause students to operate under conditions of intellectual and technological difficulty, often taking emotional as well as intellectual risks.

The format of the digital story gives students a voice that makes them aware of how they can position themselves in relation to others and to existing theories of identity construction. From that position, they are able to identify gaps in the existing literature and produce stories against the oppression of marginalized groups.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

STEAM and Maker Education: Inclusive, Engaging, Self-Differentiating

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The maker movement has the opportunity to transform education by inviting students to be something other than consumers of education. They can become makers and creators of their own educational lives, moving from being directed to do something to becoming self-directed and independent learners. Increasingly, they can take advantage of new tools for creative expression and for exploring the real world around them. They can be active participants in constructing a new kind of education for the 21st-century, which will promote the creativity and critical thinking we say we value in people like Steve Jobs. Learning by Making: American kids should be building rockets and robots, not taking standardized tests

When a kid builds a model rocket, or a kite, or a birdhouse, she not only picks up math, physics, and chemistry along the way, she also develops her creativity, resourcefulness, planning abilities, curiosity, and engagement with the world around her. But since these things can’t be measured on a standardized test, schools no longer focus on them. As our public educational institutions continue down this grim road, they’ll lose value as places of learning. That may seem like a shame, but to the members of the growing DIY schooling movement, it’s an irresistible opportunity to roll up their sleeves. School for Hackers: The do-it-yourself movement revives learning by doing.

For the past two weekends, I facilitated a three part/three day maker education workshop, From Puppets to Robots, at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum.  It was a small group ranging from a pair of 7 year girl twins to a few 8th grade boys.  All of the parents and kids expressed extreme satisfaction – see the photos below for some evidence of their involvement.

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Some of the reasons I believe the maker workshops were successful include (list still in progress):

  1. Maker activities are multi-sensory, hands-on, and concrete.
  2. The learning activities were scaffolded.  Participants were provided with basic skills during initial activities which led to success in the following, more advanced activities.
  3. The participants were taught and given examples of the processes involved.
  4. The focus was on the process not the product – the how-to’s were demonstrated rather than the end product.
  5. Asking a lot of questions and asking for help were normalized.
  6. Failure was looked at as “just information.”
  7. Peer tutoring and explanations were encouraged.

I have always been a hands-on, experiential educator, but I made a few observations about STEAM and Maker Education during the workshops over the past few weekends.  Maker Education, as I observed, has the following characteristics:

  • Participation is driven by intrinsic motivation
  • Maker education lends itself to 100% engagement by 100% participants almost 100% of the time.
  • Maker education is self-differentiating.
  • Age levels and gender are blurred; does not affect participation, engagement, and interest.
  • Maker education activities are multidisciplinary and authentic.
  • Maker education reinforces and teaches resilience.

Participation is driven by intrinsic motivation.

Maker education participants (of all ages) are driven by intrinsic motivation.  Using one’s own creativity and talents, the opportunity for self expression, and creating a product of one’s own are inherently motivating.  Extrinsic motivators such bribing through grades, rewards, and/or praise are not needed to coax individuals into participation in maker, DIY, STEAM activities.

Maker education lends itself to 100% engagement by 100% participants almost 100% of the time.

Due to similar factors as described above, I observed that all of the young people were engaged most of the time.  With maker activities being centered on interest-driven learning, a flow state of participation often results.  “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29). Time blurs as participants engaged in creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.  Only a few times did any of the kids ask about the time, and this occurred towards the end of three hour sessions.

Maker education is self-differentiating.

The nature of the maker workshop activities permitted the participants to differentiate the activities for themselves.  Some of the kids picked up the processes being demonstrated as well as had visions about what they wanted to create faster than some of the other kids.  They were given the materials, permission, and encouragement to move forward independently.  Other kids needed a little bit more instruction and scaffolding.  The two facilitators then could provide them with the extra instruction.  Peer assistance and instruction also came naturally in this exploratory environment of experimentation, testing, revising, producing.

Age levels and gender are blurred.  Age and gender does not affect participation, engagement, and interest.

The traditional education model is to group kids by manufacture date, in other words in their cohort groups by age and date of birth.  As stated above, the maker workshop I facilitated over the past few weekends was open to kids from age 7 to 13.  The group ended up with 7 year old twin girls and a few 13 year old boys with a mix of ages and genders in the middle. Interestingly, the kids, themselves, made no comments about this diverse group.  It didn’t seem to phase them at all.

Because the nature of maker workshop activities being self-differentiating, the age and gender did not make a difference.  All ages and both genders were able to complete the tasks presented to them.  Because there were no expectations regarding the quality or types products, they all were successful in producing some form of the projects.  In fact, the younger girls came up with some robot construction strategies that were “copied” and co-opted by some of the older boys.

The benefits of diverse groups in maker education (and other educational settings, too) cannot be understated.  Diversity of groups often leads to broader perspectives, deeper problem solving, and richer products.  Diversity is enhanced through multi-age, mixed gender groups.  As David Kelley, founder of IDEO consultants and Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, notes, “Diversity is the number one thing that correlates to better innovation” (http://knight.stanford.edu/news-notes/2013/d-school-founder-taps-into-humankinds-innate-creativity/).

Maker education activities are multidisciplinary and authentic.

Maker education activities make for a beautiful integration of STEAM.  For example, while the kids participated in the From Puppets to Robots, I noted the following disciplines being addressed:

  • Science:  Participants explored physics through movement, fulcrums, weight loads, light.
  • Technology:  Participants deepened their understanding of robotics through online simulations related to what they were building in real life.
  • Engineering: Several of the workshop projects required the participants to use engineering skills – building a robotic arm that could pick up objects, building a 3D self-standing robot prototype.
  • Arts:  Visual arts were used as participants created their shadow puppets and storyboarded their shadow puppets shoes; as they drew out their 2D robot prototypes and then built their robot prototypes.  Language arts became important when the participants wrote their shadow puppet stories and when they were continually asked to orally describe their projects to the rest of the group.
  • Mathematics:  Math concepts were needed to measure, cut, and build all of their prototypes.

Maker education reinforces and teaches resilience.

I wrote about resilience in Resilience: The Other 21st Century Skills. . .

Resiliency is not one specific thing, but a combination of skills and positive attributes that people gain from their life experiences and relationships. These attributes help them solve problems, cope with challenges and bounce back from disappointments. Personal resiliency is about our assets – the resources, attributes and skills that help us recover from negative events or feelings, cope with challenges and adversity, and look after ourselves when things aren’t going well. (Kids Can Cope: Parenting at Home and at School)

I realized the power of maker education to build resilience during one of the workshop sessions.  Eight year-old Dylan was building his robot prototype.  He constructed the robot’s leg and selected a heavy can for the body.  The legs couldn’t hold up the heavy body.  Dylan became teary-eyed insisting that this what he wanted.  Both his mother and I stressed that part of prototyping is using failure as information about what is possible/not possible, what needs to change.  We assisted him in choosing new materials for the robot body.  He ended up building a robot prototype that worked!  His mother told me “on the side” that Dylan has difficulty dealing with frustration when things don’t work out as he planned.  Hopefully, that day he received a small lesson on tenacity and resilience.

Obviously, I am a strong advocate of Maker Education.  For me, it is a natural way of teaching and learning.  I understand that this is a different model, way of thinking for many educators.  It is a risk to make changes in the classroom, but I believe that educators want what’s best for their students.  I “preach” to my pre- and in-service teachers to try one small change.  In this case, I would ask, “What are you already doing well in your classroom that could be further enhanced with some maker activities?” and then reinforce, “Just try it.  What is the worse thing that could happen? It fails and you move on.  What is the best thing that could happen? It adds to the students’ learning experience resulting in increased engagement and deeper understanding of the concepts.”

Resources to Learn More About Maker Education:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

July 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Chapter in Handbook of Mobile Learning: Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices

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The Handbook of Mobile Learning has just been published through Routledge: Taylor and Francis – see http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415503693/.  I am excited to have a chapter in this edited book, Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices.  Here is the introduction to my chapter:

People in the 21st Century are using their own mobile devices – iPads, netbooks, laptops, and smart phones – to be consumers and producers of digital content, and to be active participants in online communities.  They are connecting with one another through mobile technologies in unprecedented ways. Computers, Wi-Fi networks, and smart phones allow young people 24/7 access to technology and to one another.   They are familiar and comfortable with social networking and using a variety of apps via their devices.  Nielson (2010), in a survey of teen mobile device use, reported that 94% percent of teen users identified themselves as advanced data users, turning to their mobile devices for messaging, Internet, multimedia, gaming, and other activities like downloads.

When educators leverage these types of informal learning by giving agency to the students to use their mobile technologies and by providing the structure and skills for their use within more formal educational settings, motivation and learning are increased.  Using mobile devices in educational settings as learning and community building tools can promote interpersonal communication, encourage young people to positively express their individuality and build their student-to-student, and student-to-educator relationships. The strategic and intentional use of cell phones, social networking sites, laptops, blogs, and digital cameras can build diversity and cultural sensitivity, teamwork and problem solving, self-reflection and self-exploration, and communication and self-expression.

This chapter introduces the use of mobile devices as a means to build community and teamwork within a variety of classroom settings: face-to-face, blended, and virtually.  This discussion has four components: research that supports the use of student-owned mobile devices for building community in the classroom, evidence to support the importance of promoting community in the classroom, team-building activities using mobile devices, and the results of a end-of-course student survey about using mobile devices for community building,

. . . and an excerpt:

MOBILE DEVICES USE PATTERNS SUPPORT COMMUNITY BUILDING

People of all ages, almost from all parts of the world, are using their mobile devices to communicate, connect, and share personal experiences.  They are building their own informal learning and social communities via their mobile devices and social networking sites.  This section discusses the research about mobile device use patterns.  It becomes the foundation not only for providing a rationale for the use of mobile devices in the classroom, but also serves as a guide for the types of technologies and activities that are best suited for mobile-driven community building activities.

Mobile Phone Ownership and Use Patterns Among United States Teens

A Pew Research report entitled, Teens and Mobile Phones, released April, 2010, noted that as of September 2009, 75% of American teens ages 12-17 own cell phone.  This number has steadily increased from 45% of teens in November 2004. Cell phones have become ubiquitous in the lives of teens today, with ownership cutting across demographic groups and geographical locations.

As expected, texting was the top activity of cell phone using teens with taking and sharing pictures, playing music, and recording and exchanging videos also being popular uses.

Worldwide Use of Cell Phones

Mobile device use has become a world-wide phenomenon allowing informal learning and social networking to cross over geographical divides.  Pew Research (2011) released a report entitled, Texting, Social Networking Popular Worldwide.  The three key findings from this report that support mobile-driven community-building activities are:

  1. Cell phones are owned and used throughout the world.
  2. Cell phones are being used for texting, taking photos, and using the Internet. Cell phones are owned by large majorities of people in most major countries around the world.  They are used for much more than just phone calls. In particular, text messaging is a global phenomenon – across the 21 countries surveyed, a median of 75% of cell phone owners say they text.
  3. Young people worldwide are likely to use their cell phones for social networking (Pew Research, 2011).

The usage is similar to that seen with United States teens.  Text messaging is prevalent in 19 of 21 countries with a majority of mobile phone owners regularly sending text messages.  Many also use their mobile phones to take pictures and record video (Pew Research, 2011).

Mobile device use crosses across socio-economic boundaries and geographic locations.  People are using them for texting, photo-sharing, and other forms of social networking.  In other words, people are already using mobile devices to build their own informal learning and sharing communities, so it becomes a natural progression and extension to bring this type of learning into the educational environment.

Finally, here is a slidedeck that I use when presenting on this topic:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

May 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

A Little More on the Flipped Classroom

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Crossed posted at http://teach.com/education-technology/educator-connection-flipped-classroom-resources-from-the-teach-100-by-jackie-gerstein

Students having funThe Flipped Classroom has jumped onto the education radar in recent years as a way to potentially alter pedagogical and instructional practices by utilizing emerging technologies. In its simplest form, the flipped classroom is a model of learning where students watch content-related videos on their own time, freeing up classroom time for questions and discussion, group work, experiments, and hands-on and other experiential activities.

A lot of discussions have occurred, presentations have been made, and blog posts have been written about the flipped classroom: how to implement it; its potential to change educational outcomes and/or why it may not; it’s “fad” status; how it favors students of privilege; and so on. A broad range of ideas regarding the flipped classroom can be viewed through our list of selected articles (see below) from the Teach 100 ranking of educational blogs.

If the flipped classroom is to become more than the educational flavor of the month, the following things should be considered:

  • The flipped classroom takes advantage of modern technologies. Technology, including content-focused video, is providing educators with the opportunity to change and enhance their instructional practices.
  • Administrators, curriculum developers, instructional designers, and educators should examine, reflect upon, and discuss how technology has and is changing the nature of teaching, learning, work, and play. This, in turn, should lead to evolutionary and revolutionary changes in the way instruction is provided, and in which learning occurs and is demonstrated in the classroom setting.
  • The flipped classroom gives teachers and students opportunities for their face-to-face time to be engaging, enriching, and exciting. The content that, in the past, was provided via lecture during class time can now be reviewed by students on their own time and at their own pace. Watching video lectures doesn’t necessarily have to take place at home; it can also be done during class time, study periods, or during after school programs.
  • The terminology related to the flipped classroom needs to fade as educators begin to transform their classrooms to be student-focused and cognitively sound (based on what we know about the brain and learning), with differentiated curricula based on student interests, learning preferences, and ability levels. Technological advancements can enable these processes to occur, and should eventually be looked on as just good pedagogy.

If you’re looking to learn more about the flipped classroom approach, check out these selected articles from Teach 100 bloggers:

For the complete daily ranking of the best educational blogs on the web, visit the Teach 100. To learn more about the Teach 100, or to work with Teach.com, email Teach100@teach.com.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

April 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Photojournalism Activity: Community Service or a Social Cause Event

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Recently, I had an amazing experience attending a local One Billion Rising event.  I enjoy taking photos and video of special events like this one.  I spent the afternoon following the event creating an Animoto mash-up of the photos and video taken while I was at the event.

The process of putting together the video mash-up provided a great opportunity for me to deeply reflect on the event.  I saw and experienced things I did not get to during the event.  This experience made me think this would be a great learning activity.

Goals:

  • To create, as a means of reflection, a video mash-up of photos and video taken during a community service project or a social cause event.
  • To learn some skills related to ethical photojournalism.

Procedures:

  • Ask learners to identify a community service event or an event that is promoting a social cause that they would like to attend.  Examples include serving meals at a holiday event, a dance fund raiser for a charity, collecting food for local shelter, neighborhood clean-up, or a community rally like One Billion Rising.  Many news shows feature weekend events that include these type of events.  For younger kids, this could became an activity for parental engagement.  Parents and/or parent volunteers can help with the travel and logistics.  A Google spreadsheet could be set up to list these.
  • Prior to the events, review with learners how to take photos and videos at public events. As learners will be acting in the role of photojournalists, go over the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics.

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  • Practice sessions can be set up where learners take photo and/or video of their peers during learning activities.
  • After the event:  Decide which video mash-up tool will be used for creating their videos.  My preference is Animoto as it permits the upload and use of photos, video, and text.  Here is a Animoto video tutorial:  http://www.teachertrainingvideos.com/animoto/index.html
  • To further reflect on their experiences and video, learners can answer some of the following questions via a blog post or a Voicethread where the video has been uploaded.
    • What about your community involvement has been an eye-opening experience?
    • Describe a person you’ve encountered in the community who made a strong impression on you, positive or negative.
    • How has the environment and social conditions affected the people at your site?
    • Has the experience affected your worldview? How?
    • Have your career options been expanded by your service experience?
    • Why does the organization you are working for exist?
    • Did anything about your community involvement surprise you? If so, what?
    • What did you do that seemed to be effective or ineffective in the community?
    • How does your understanding of the community change as a result of your participation in this project?
    • How can you continue your involvement with this group or social issue?
    • How can you educate others or raise awareness about this group or social issue?
    • Talk about any disappointments or successes of the project. What did you learn from it?
    • What sorts of things make you feel uncomfortable when you are working in the community? Why?  http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/info/reflection.html

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 16, 2013 at 2:18 am

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