Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sharing Knowledge and Building Skills with Video Production

One way for students to demonstrate their understanding is through video production.  In my role as LwICT Teacher Leader, I was privileged to work with Mrs. Facey and her awesome group of Grade 8s on a video production project this term.   The grade 8 class was working on a "Power of Media" theme along with Project 11 activities on self-esteem.  Mrs. Facey gave her students the opportunity to produce videos as part of their learning.  Not only did the class create some powerful videos to share, they also engaged in deep, meaningful learning.

Although I was not in the classroom every day of this project, it was evident during my classroom visits that the grade 8s were learning a lot.   Their project included a wide variety of learning activities/assignments, such as:
  • research on self-esteem
  • viewing and analyzing existing media related to self-esteem
  • planning: students identified their target audience and intended message, they planned a style/format for their video and identified setting, actors etc.
  • script writing: students learned to use a two column script to plan for audio and visual aspects of their videos
  • revising and editing: students worked hard to make their work high quality, which involved revising based on peer feedback and teacher feedback
  • videography: students filmed, edited and shared their videos 

When students completed their scripts, they were grouped into video production teams.   The team then had to review each team member's script and decide which video(s) to produce.  When I met with a team at this stage of the project, I was so impressed with the collaboration, negotiation and discussion taking place.  Once a script was selected by the team, they undertook further revisions and planned their set, props and costumes.   Next, the groups assigned roles such as director, assistant director, videographer and editor.  They selected actors to fill each role.   Once their plans were in place, students used the school's available video equipment and filmed footage on an iPad.   Upon completing filming, editors worked in iMovie.  The final products were shared on the class YouTube channel in hopes of reaching their target audiences.  Students started sharing their work and made a plan to reach their targeted audiences.

The final videos are very well done and very powerful.   I would encourage you to watch them below.  However, the final videos can only begin to show the meaningful learning that these students engaged in throughout the project.   I'm sure that my short description above cannot fully convey all of the learning that took place, but from meeting with this class, I know that they gained valuable knowledge and developed important skills through this project. 

Why I Think This Project is Awesome
Yes, the videos are excellent and that definitely makes this project awesome, but behind those videos was a lot of learning that make this kind of project so worthwhile.  As a teacher, I saw a lot of good things happening with this project. 

Purpose for Learning: I've written before about students doing "work that matters" and I think this is an excellent example. Students created these videos because they wanted to share an important message and have an impact with their work.  Some groups focused on educating others about self-esteem while other groups shared messages to encourage and uplift others.  Regardless of the message, students were writing, revising, editing, filming and sharing for a purpose. They had a reason to read, write, view, analyze and discuss. 

Authentic Audience:  Students identified an audience that they wanted to reach and actually shared their videos in places where those people could access them.   I love when audiences outside of the classroom get to see the great work that students are doing!

Building Skills: The variety of learning activities involved in completing this project provided opportunities for students to develop skills in collaboration, communication, problem solving and critical thinking.

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