When every student in the school knows how to use a particular piece of technology like how to make a video, then technology can be used to its fullest potential as a tool in the classroom. Over the past month, I worked with the computer teacher in our 5th and 6th grade school to help every student in the school make their own video. Our hope was that once they knew the basic steps of how to create a video, they could use this knowledge in their core classes. We thought that if students knew how to make a video, teachers would be more likely to use video projects as a part of their instruction.
Right now it is too early to tell if this is going make teachers more comfortable with video projects. It certainly has to help. Even if they don’t, this project will not be a loss. The student gained valuable experience on the computers, most of which pertains to several other functions on top creating and producing a video.
Through this project I have learned the importance of having students engaged in a project that helps them learns different skills. While working on a video project, students learn word processing skills. They learn how to transfer and convert files. They learn to save often and how to ctrl-alt-delete when the computer crashes, a regular occurrence with movie maker. They learned these, and a whole host of other skills that don’t pertain strictly to video work.
I will be the first to admit that this was not an easy undertaking, especially for the teacher. Just imagine 450+ students working on their own movie! There was bound to be some deleted files and frustrated kids, but at the end of the whole thing, it was a great learning opportunity for all involved.
We need to do this more in our schools. Students need to have the time to learn the technology that helps them learn. The problem is that there are not many opportunities where all students get this chance. That is why we chose to do this with 5th and 6th graders. This is the last time in our district where all of the students go to a computer class. Once in middle school and high school, a student is required to take one semester of keyboarding and that is it.
Look at what your own system is doing. When are the students learning how to use the computer, and what are they learning? If they are spending a semester learning the ins and outs of Excel, they may not be learning the right stuff. Students need to be learning those technologies that they can use for their own learning, and video projects are a great way to start.