We set a "rough cut" deadline for the project -- just like with their essays, students were expected to have a complete draft at the beginning of class, and then gave each other feedback at the beginning, with time to add and revise at the end. Some students produced works that were closely inspired by what we had watched in class, including one whiteboard drawing video about the influence of technology on daily modern life:
I teach students English at a project-based school with a 1-1 laptop program.
The official write-up for the Visual 2Fer went like this:
Your task is to create a multimedia version of any of your 2Fers written so far this year. Here are the requirements:
1. The final product must be visual and play no longer than one minute. (You will probably have sound, too, but I'm not requiring it.)
2. You must faithfully represent one of your thesis arguments -- you can't change your thesis. Your examples might change a bit though, depending on what kind of visuals you find or create.
3. Any content that is not created by you MUST be cited, but you do not need to follow MLA format -- just include the link either on that slide/section, or all listed at the end.
The rest is up to you! These will be posted on our public blog for consumption by the general public, so make sure your work is professional.
After so many months emphasizing the writing skills students need for college, this assignment was a pleasant reminder that fluency in other mediums is also useful. After four years of term papers, these kids may find themselves in any number of careers and/or creative pursuits that have them presenting ideas in this way.
The assignment was also a nice warm-up for our Public Information Campaign project, where students created campaigns around issues relevant to Philadelphia. In that project, students had complete freedom in choosing the medium(s) for their work, but had to complete an annotated bibliography first -- another reminder that every quality product requires good research and planning.
As I wrote in an earlier resource for Digital Is, at Science Leadership Academy we sometimes worry that our multimedia-rich education is a stark contrast to what our students will be facing when they graduate and enter more traditional college environments.
A typical Journalism class at SLA. Except I'm usually seated at the big table with everyone (really). Photo by Sam Lovett-Perkins.
When students at SLA hear about "digital learning" at other schools, sometimes they are patient... and sometimes, just sometimes, they roll their eyes.
They love that they belong to a community that's on the cutting edge of technology integration in the classroom. They know the difference between moodle and drupal, about firewalls and bit torrents and advanced permissions. They have done more multimedia project work than most college students, and blogged way more than the average American.