Over the past five school weeks, I have been supporting our United States History teacher, Kevin Randolph, and the juniors in his class on a project, entitled, Reflections:What Does Vietnam Mean? It was invigorating working with Kevin and the students on this project. I was able to introduce the students to a use of a wiki to support the project. The assignment that the students were asked to complete was:
To create a 1 – 3 minute film that must have still photos and a musical soundtrack which answers the question: what does Vietnam mean? The film may also include recorded narration (including a written script to turn in), credits and can have an interview segment.
All elements used in the creation of this film must included in a citations sheet using MLA format. NoodleBib should be used to generate the citations. The citations should be incorporated to the image on your script or storyboard.
The use of the wiki enabled both myself and our school librarian to introduce students to additional search strategies, use of library databases for research, and copyright and Creative Commons. It was interesting to see that two groups of students actually began to use the tool for its intention and used their wiki page as a way to collect information, primarily picture file locations to support the project.
The students were given the option to use an application that best supported the creation of their trailer. The majority of them choose to use Microsoft’s PhotoStory 3, which provided a tool to support to use their use of still images with a soundtrack. After a 15 – 20 minute orientation, most students were able to quickly create their trailers and focus on the content, their story, without being bogged down by the technology. A few more adventurous students wanted to incorporate video and turned to Pinnacle Studio 9, which we own several licenses or Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker.
As with many of the digital storytelling projects that I have seen, including Marco Torres’, some students were able to create powerful projects. I am including the results of one project that is particularly compelling, that the student posted on YouTube (funny how students are so quick to employ new technologies quicker than their teachers). I am including their 1 minute trailer [youtube]6QvW9ynbrfo[/youtube] and their final project [youtube]gsJ_aIeaeeQ[/youtube]. Both of these examples were created using nothing more than Windows Movie Maker. Just think if given more time and better tools, what the possibilities could be.
I will be posting all of the final projects on the project wiki over the next few days and will be podcasting both Kevin’s reflections on the project and several students over the next few weeks.
When time is spent collaborating to develop a solid project, a solid essential question is asked, students are shown how to use simple tools that do not get in their way, ample time is provided for students to immerse themselves and collaborate, exciting results occur. I hope that you check back to see the finished projects and hear (and participate) in the audio reflections.