A trick question for you:
Between great devices and tools for everyone in class, or a tech-less project that would help students see new possibilities for themselves, which would you choose?
If you were to face such a choice, you’d choose the second option because it matches what you do as a teacher. The problem with the choice, though, is that it’s a false choice for most of us, as we can have both! Great devices and tools – used well – are especially strong for the goal of helping students understand that they have undiscovered potential.
That potential is all the more potent when it comes to video. Students for whom revising their writing is akin to having teeth pulled can spend hours working to get a video just right. Not only is it engaging to them, it’s a backdoor to helping these students understand that they can improve their work in powerful ways, generating an excellence (when guided well) they may not have produced before, and enjoying the praise of others that comes so easily with strong video.
My nonprofit, NextVista.org, focuses on ways that digital video tools can help students see themselves and their learning from new angles. Our signature project is a video contest in which we ask students to explain something they might encounter in school in 90 seconds or less.
Students put together these videos with media of their making, or with Creative Commons-licensed media from specified sites, properly cited. All submissions are reviewed before posting, and we provide feedback students can use to improve their work before it is judged. Finalists earn certificates, gift cards, and more.
Thanks to WeVideo, we are offering an additional prize: a GoPro camera for the best video submitted using WeVideo’s editor. This piece about the structure of poetry was submitted as part of our fall contest was the WeVideo Go Pro winner:
Our goal is always to have the videos on our site help students realize that they can help others through their insights on how to learn something.
Feel free to have your students give our Creative Bridge Video Contest a try over the summer. We get notably fewer student entries with the summer contest (for obvious reasons), so their chances are relatively strong. You might also point them to the finalists from all our contests, which can help them have a better sense of how to push themselves.