As a person who produces video and audio and one who teaches students to be producers as well, I have often heard about the struggles of teachers who would like to have students produce work. What is preventing classroom teachers from moving to that step in their classrooms. Well, it could be many things. It used to be a lack of technology (though if you check out the link below I have listed several free and low cost ways of capturing and editing video and audio). It is sometimes a lack of professional development about how to teach the specific application, for example, "I will once I sign up for that iMovie class". But overwhelmingly I hear, "It just takes too long". The fear about losing instructional time is a real one. No one wants to embark on a grand educational side trip so students can film a 1/2 hour blooper reel instead of learn about osmosis.
This summer I had the pleasure of teaching at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast for the University of Maine's Summer Technology Institute 2013. The morning strand I conducted was on multimedia and I had a great bunch of people. As part of that training, I put together the process I use with students to keep them focused on the goals of the project. Whether it be a podcast, a video or a slideshow presentation, students go through a process similar in many ways to writing. I'm sure there are many other acronyms to cover this but I came up with B-PREPD. Brainstorm, Plan, Record, Edit, Present, Debrief (cue Lion King Scar Solo here). Many of those steps are not new to teachers, especially those who teach writing, however, I think the last two steps get overlooked. Technology allows us to present to a wider audience and therefore we need to plan for that from the beginning. If we want students to get better at producing for the medium, we can learn from peer and self critique when the process (and product) are finished.
Possible debriefing questions might include:
How did the format of this project help or hurt the message?
How is it clear that the audience was considered in advance and planned for throughout?
Were there elements of the project that distract from the message (fonts, transitions, sound effects)?
If we truly want students to produce, we have to let them do it and reflect on it. If we model how to focus on the goals at hand and plan from there, the learning will be deeper and more meaningful then that T/F multiple choice vocab test could ever be.
Check out the full version of my workshop below with LOTS of links to tools that can help with each step of the process.