Digital storytelling, innovation and video creation in the San Ramon Valley

Allison Recker News & Features, Schools (K-12) Leave a Comment

Adopting some of the best principles of their Silicon Valley neighbors, the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation (SRVEF) has created a high-tech style ‘incubator’ program to develop new STEAM curriculum. Now in its fourth year, the SRVEF Imagineering Enrichment Program tests new curriculum offerings, using the vital enrichment program format to evaluate edtech and develop classes that are easy to implement and sustain across the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

In the Imagineering program, certified teachers in the district propose promising topics that have been difficult to implement in a regular classroom environment or would require extensive curriculum development and investment to prepare the groundwork for broader use. For Summer 2018, the program has exciting plans for expanding video creation with WeVideo. WeVideo is already used in a few classrooms in the district schools. However, this effort will broaden WeVideo’s availability and utility as part of regular class plans.

In one classroom, 4th grade students created videos about goal setting. In this project, students use video to talk about a goal they set, reflected on how they achieved their goal and what they learned about themselves through the process. You can see the full compilation below or on YouTube:

Cecilia Brear is the Imagineering Program Manager for the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation,  “As a team, we are always looking for something new that can be added to help distinguish our program from the many other enrichment programs available to students. The WeVideo team is helping us to navigate the software, identify best practices, and share insight into how other educators are using the tools.”

The Imagineering team is receiving support from WeVideo to implement a more methodical approach to video production and storytelling. Jon Williams will lead this summer’s sessions. Jon is a fourth-grade teacher and district Teacher on Special Assignment who provides instructional support and coaching to all SRVUSD educators with Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching. The pilot classes are offered to SRVUSD students entering 3rd, 4th & 5th grade in the fall.

Jon said, “We are looking to move beyond augmentation and redefine how we tell stories, convey emotion, and build peer-to-peer empathy.  Ultimately we want to create a curriculum that can be easily replicated across our district no matter the student or teacher’s technical skill level.”

For the Imagineering program, the Foundation worked with the experts on the WeVideo Education team to establish a WeVideo account with access to the full breadth of WeVideo Education capabilities. The pilot program includes access to the WeVideo Essentials, a vast asset library of licensed and royalty-free video clips, photos and audio clips,  and WeVideo templates, which allows the district to develop specific templates that help guide projects and make the most efficient use of time.

K-12 curriculum development is typically a long cycle. According to Cecilia, “It can take from one to three years to research, evaluate, revise, implement and refine new course offerings.  Testing software and hardware, troubleshooting technical integration, working with vendors, and evaluating age appropriate projects are usually the hardest and most challenging parts of developing new curriculum. Our Imagineering classes are designed as short, intensive modules so we can focus on refining the initial challenges of new course offerings. Support from vendors like WeVideo enables us to accelerate implementation dramatically.”

The summer Imagineering projects will have students creating simple personal narratives that provide the opportunity to identify something that makes them unique and helps them better understand who they are. The goal is that when students identify what makes them special, the process will build their own confidence, and as they hear their classmates’ stories, develop their sense of empathy.

Cecilia concludes, “We hope that this pilot will be a model for effective story creation that focuses on the learning outcomes rather than the technology tool. SRVEF’s  partnership with WeVideo is happening at a crucial turning point as schools search for affordable and accessible solutions to make video production accessible to a greater number of our students. The WeVideo platform seems a compliment the diverse technology assets and needs in the schools we support.”

About SRVEF Imagineering:

The San Ramon Valley Education Foundation (SRVEF) is proud to offer Imagineering, a beyond school enrichment program for San Ramon Valley Unified School District students. The goal of Imagineering is to spark student interest in choosing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) classes in middle and high school with the ultimate goal of identifying more STEAM majors who will ultimately become highly sought after talent in the US corporate workplace.