This video was created by students for the Parkway Digital Film Festival.
For about a year and a half I’ve been working on my first book with some of my colleagues describing and highlighting the film festival that we used to run in our district. Last week at the METC conference in St. Charles, Missouri, I finally saw the final product in print and got to hold it in my own hands. Needless to say it was a very exciting to finally physically see the hours and hours of work that I had done preparing, writing, revising, and editing in print. I still haven’t sat down and flipped through the entire thing because of my responsibilities at the conference but I have my own copy and and found that it’s also available on Amazon. I’ve gotta say, it’s a pretty great feeling to see all of that come to fruition. Thanks to ISTE for helping make it happen.
It seems that there’s never enough time to add anything new to our classrooms or our lives without taking something else away. I’ve often thought about how much I’d like to be given the gift of time to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish. While no one has ever actually been able to give me time, I have learned some things that have made me a little more efficient (at least when it comes to my computing time). The biggest one of these is simply using keyboard shortcuts to navigate my computer or some software a little easier or more quickly. If you’re not using keyboard shortcuts yet, I encourage you to try them. It might take a little while to get used to them, but once you do, it becomes second nature.
Most of us know about the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste, but for those who don’t, this can be very helpful and save time from right clicking every time you need to copy and paste something. Each of these shortcuts require you to hold down the “Control” key (ctrl on your keyboard) and pressing another key. Just to be clear, you don’t have to hit them at the exact same time. For each of these, hold down the “CTRL” key first and then tap the key that has the command that you need. For instance to copy, hold down “control” and then tap the “C” key. This will copy whatever you’ve selected on your computer to your virtual clipboard and have it all ready for you to paste.
- CTRL-C – This command makes a copy of whatever you’ve selected (text, picture, etc.) and places that copy onto the virtual clipboard ready to paste somewhere else.
- CTRL-X – This command cuts whatever you’ve selected (text, picture, etc.) and removes it from the document you are working on and places that copy onto the virtual clipboard ready to paste somewhere else.
- CTRL-V – This command takes whatever is currently copied to the virtual clipboard and pastes that item (text, picture, etc.) wherever your cursor is in your document.
While these are nice and very convenient tools, there are a number of other shortcuts that you may not know about that you can use in your browser. These shortcuts work regardless of the browser you use (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome) and can be just another way to get some time back from your tasks.
- CTRL-T – This command opens up a new tab in your browser and puts your cursor in the URL bar ready to type in the website that you want to go to.
- CTRL-SHIFT-T – This command opens up the last tab that was closed. This is especially useful if you accidentally close a tab because you misclicked and shut that tab. This is also great for monitoring your class. If you’ve noticed a student has quickly shut a tab, walk over and use this keyboard shortcut and it will pull up the tab that was just closed.
- CTRL-H – This command opens up the browser history on that computer cateorized by date. This can be especially useful for that website that you were looking at yesterday but you can’t seem to remember where it is today. Open up the broswer history and look through the websites you visited.
- CTRL-D – This command will bookmark a website and add it to your favorites.
- CTRL-K – This is called the “query” command and it will put your cursor up in the URL bar or the search bar (depending on your browser) readying you to type in a search term into the default search engine for your broswer.
- CTRL-# – This one is a little bit different. This command lets you switch between tabs in your browser based on the order that they appear on your screen. If you have three tabs open, “CTRL-1” will open up the left most tab in your browser. “CTRL-2” opens up the second tab. “CTRL-3” opens up the third tab, etc. (See image below)
This is in no way a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts but all of these work in all broswers and can certainly help save you some time. If, for some reason, you can’t get some of these to work, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help. To make these a little more accessible, I’ve created a cheat sheet that you can print out and keep by your computer to remind you what each of these do. If you get in the habit of using these shortcuts, you’ll have just a little more time and be a little more efficient. I can’t give you the gift of time, but these will save just a little bit of it.
Click here to pull up this picture and then you can print it
Today I had the opportunity to present a session at the Global Education Conference entitled From Inspiration to Red Carpet. The presentation was recorded and can be seen for posterity online by following this link. If you watch, I do hope you enjoy it. The following slides are those that I prepared for this presentation.
The Global Education Conference will continue for the rest of this week with some amazing presenters and topics. I do hope you’ll tune it. For a complete schedule visit their Sessions and Schedule page.
Next week begins the Global Education Conference, a free, online, week-long event meant to bring educators, students, and organizations from around the world together to discuss and learn from each other. This year I have the great pleasure to be a presenter and am looking forward to not only sharing my work with hosting film festivals, but learning from the many other presenters who are participating in this event.
More information about this conference can be found on their website as well as a schedule of presentations and the topics that will be addressed. I certainly hope some of you will tune in to the conference that so many have worked to create. If you’re interested in tuning into my presentation, here’s the information you’ll need.
Title: From Inspiration to Red Carpet: Showcase awareness with a film festival
Description: Educators are constantly looking for ways to make their content relevant to their student’s lives. With the advent of the cloud, sharing video online has grown exponentially and many of the students that sit in our classrooms are already directors, actors and authors. This session will address the value in using student-made digital video projects and describe how to developed a program to bring digital video into the classroom. Through the creation of film festivals spanning grades k-12, 21st century students have the opportunity to enhance their skills, build relationships and collaborate for authentic audiences around the world.
Yesterday I wrote about how content can be the basis for mentoring when you take an initial text and, using the same kind of content, morph it into something similar but different. Yesterday it was Gary Brolsma’s, Numa Numa video. Today I want to talk about a second way to look at mentor texts, that of technique. In the writing workshop this can take the shape of students analyzing a particular style of writing and emulating it in one’s own works. Continuing my theme of thinking about how this can translate to video and the creation process when it comes to that medium, the techniques that are used in movie making can often be imitated through software. One of my favorite ways this is done is through animation.
The following video is one created by a group of elementary students who were studying ancient Egypt and tasked with telling a story about an event. Rather than write a paper, they chose to tell their story through clay-mation and create their own video. With support for their technology integrator and teacher, they created a storyboard to guide them through their story and began the revising and rewriting until they had it just the way they wanted. By their own admission, they hadn’t ever written that much for an assignment ever before.
Once they had written the story and felt ready they immediately began diving into the clay to make the characters. This was the fun stuff. The stuff they could do without planning, or so they thought. Having never created an animated movie before, they had no idea what was in store for them. They knew they had a story inside that they had written out, but making it come to life in clay was a completely different thing. To guide them, their teacher had them look for examples to show them how to go about making an animated video. They found a few and got started, but after only a few frames, they realized they needed more direction and turned to the teacher for help. The teacher, who had also never created animation before called in reinforcements in the form of the building’s technology integrator. Without this available support, there’s a very real chance that the project would have died right there as the teacher was not what you’d consider a techy. This is the end result.
From where I sit, this was a successful project. The students told their story and showed their understanding and ability to transfer their knowledge to a new medium. However, there are many lessons to be learned through this project’s story including:
- The students who created this video were creative and resourceful, but they didn’t create clay-mation. They had seen it somewhere and it it had inspired them to try something new. In one of their minds they had a mentor piece that guided them to this point.
- We can’t assume that because something has to do with computers that students will be able to do it without support. They needed feedback, guidance and instruction to be successful.
- Bringing in new mediums can change the scope of a project making it more challenging or complex.
- When given choice and opportunity, students can and will create content that surpasses what we had envisioned.
My next example is from a middle school. In this student’s class they were reading, To Build A Fire, by Jack London. In this case, the student was talented when it came to drawing and also wanted to create an animated story taking an excerpt from the book as her inspiration. She had seen animation techniques and wanted to try something a little more advanced and ambitious. This is her creation.
In this case, the student was inspired by technique as well as content and went about creating because of it. She knew of the techniques and chose to put them to work in their own project.
When a work (be that a video, text or other medium) leads someone to explore a space that is unfamiliar to them and gives them guidance, it can most certainly be classified as a ment0r to the new work. Whether it’s mentoring content, technique or both, these are the basis for much of the creation going on in today’s world.
As this series goes on, it strikes me that each of us involved are adding to the thinking of and mentoring each other through our writing. Thinking about Kevin’s example of the choose your own adventures through video, or Tony’s project with his kids, I will take these “mentor texts” with me as I work with teachers and add to their thinking while they add to mine. The more I think about this subject, the more I see the inspiration that mentor texts can bring to students.
Tomorrow I will pull in the final way that mentor texts can influence the decisions that our students make and inspire them to create. Until then, be sure to check out the posts of the others participating in the series and please, let us know if you are thinking/writing about mentor texts as we are. We want to learn from you.
More on mentor texts this week from:
All posts are being aggregated at Mentor Texts in the Digital Writing Workshop.
Tonight is the film festival for my district and I wanted to briefly record some thoughts that I have as we go into the evening about how this will benefit students and bring an authentic audience to their work. In the next few days I expect to take some time and reflect on the event itself, but right now, I still have a ton to do. If you do a podcast or are interested in what this might look like, feel free to contact me. If you’d like to see a little bit of how we run ours, visit our site.
I’ve been thinking a lot about authentic audiences for the past few weeks and decided that it might help me to talk through some of my thoughts on the film festival that I run and the reasons that I think it’s so important. If you listen, hopefully you’ll be able to learn from me and, in turn, I would like to learn from you. Below you will find the two videos that I reference in the podcast as well as a link to the gallery of all films that were created for the film festival. Leave me a comment or drop me an email with your thoughts about whatever comes up for you. Thanks for stopping by.
Life of Bus One
Authentic Audience – MP3 file
Last Thursday we hosted our second film festival in the Parkway School District and, from the reaction we got from parents, teachers, students and administrators, it was a resounding success. If you’re interested in seeing some of the films, visit our gallery.
I’ve written about it before, and I’ve been trying to think about what I want to say about the work that students did for it. The stories that we heard about the work that students did was amazing and I’m hoping to get some of those stories out, but, for now, until I decide what I really want to say about it, I’m going to refrain other than to say it was a good night. From watching my own kids walk down the red carpet, to the pride I felt knowing that we had over 1300 people in attendance as we honored the work of approximately 1000 kids, I just simply still don’t know what is the most important piece to chronicle. So, as I think, I hope you enjoy some of the films.
As I’ve written before, I was the coordinator of a Film Festival in my district this last spring. While the night went exceedingly well, upon looking back on it, there are several things that I’ve been looking at for next year. A friend of mine, asked me to reflect on the program through the lens of the NCTE 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment Framework. Because there were so many different types of entries in the program and such a range of curricular areas involved, it’s tough to really bring all of it together so I’ll be general and we’ll see how this goes.
Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
In many cases, one of the main goals that teachers had when they started their film festival projects was to get students familiar with the tools of technology. Focusing on the tools is a starting point in many cases, but once we got beyond how to edit video and where to begin a project, we started to focus more on the evaluating the sources that were found. The process became as important as the final product. We looked at the literary skills that were involved in working through the problems, evaluating possible solutions and working together to become creators rather than simply consumers of information.
Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
One of the biggest successes of the film festival process was the collaborative nature of the work. While some were individual submissions, the vast majority were done as a group. They worked thorough many problems and found solutions that were acceptable for all involved. Additionally, many came away with a new understanding of the possibilities of working together. When talking with students about what they learned, they weren’t just focused on their own part of the project. They were learning from each other and, in many cases, stopped relying on their teachers as the sole people with the correct answers.
Design and share information for global communities that have a variety of purposes
Students who participated in the film festival were creating content that would be viewed by a greater audience. The students were expanding their realm and evaluating the purpose of their films and the response their films would have on the audience both in the festival and later online as they were archived in a gallery.
Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneously presented information
Again, because of the nature of this project, information came from internet sites, databases, books, video, interviews, etc. This proved to be beneficial for teachers as they asked their students to evaluate the reliability of the informaiton they found as they worked through their research process. Then, in most cases, students took that information and created their own meaning from it. This new meaning resulted in a transformational experience in which students were not simply consumers of the information, but made it relevant to their own world and work. Through those projects, students had a far deeper understanding of the material, had exercised their higher-order thinking skills, and created a relevant product that they were proud of. One example of this is “The Great Car Robbery” created by a group of high school students who were studying the Niobe Myth.
Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts
One of the things that we’ve asked some of the students to do is to reflect on the experience. We’ve gotten a variety of responses but mostly, because of our medium, students talked about the challenges of technology and video editing. However, when pushed, those who’s projects were of high quality realized that they learned a great deal through their projects that had nothing to do with the technical process of making the video. They were working with concepts, solving problems and working together as they analyzed and reconstituted the information in a meaningful format.
Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by complex environments
Probably one of the biggest questions that students and teachers had when working with the materials had to do with copywrite and fair use. Because the films that would be shown at the festival would also be shown on the Higher Educagtion Channel, we worked to compile a list of resources teachers could use that wouldn’t violate copywrite. This was tough for many teachers who believe in and use fair use in their classrooms. However, it was a great opportunity to model real world methods and have conversations about the implications of using the work of others. This is something that we’re still trying to work out right now. One of the things that I hope to accomplish this year is to provide other ways to find music, pictures and video for use in films. I’m not sure what this will look like, but I want to show students that there are a number of places that provide royalty-free materials that we can use. This was a learning experience for both student and teacher. Truly, some didn’t think it was worth it. However, I think it’s important to model ethical use of information as we work with students. The film festival was a great vehicle to do just that.
I’ve been meaning to write about the Film Festival for awhile now and just haven’t made myself do it. Looking at the NCTE Framework as a tool to think through the process and the projects provides some insight into how effective it might be in the classroom. There are many changes that will be made this year and the framework will help to work through some of the issues that might be important.