WE DID IT!
Ahhh…the sweet smell of success! Well, kind of! I am happy to report that we completed the web 2.0 Neighborhood and Community assignment. While as of this writing there is still a handful of students who have not yet posted their videos, the majority of students did in fact complete the task. And many did an absolutely terrific job! Some students really got into the activity and recorded videos that were close to eight minutes in length! What was truly remarkable was how some students captured the texture of their community. Some videos were narrated, others were silent, and still others were infused with music – from hip hop to jazz – sounds I believe that were designed to reflect the timbre of the community. What was interesting is that I have had to repeatedly remind students that, after they uploaded their videos, the task was to compare and contrast and comment on others’ videos. Students seemed reluctant to do this. I couldn’t understand if this had to do with the perception that they were “critiquing” each other’s videos (because that was not the assignment) or not. They were to reflect on the videos and see what connected their community to other communities.
Despite this, the students seemed to really enjoy making the videos once they got started, and enjoyed the “public sharing” of their work. I realize that an activity such as this one needs to be done earlier, as I see the real potential that it has in creating a sense of community. To use a Vygotskyan concept, scaffolding the activity is essential. The video production/uploading seemed to improve once I held a class in a lab that allowed us to work collaboratively. Again, community is key! Creating the community of workers supporting the task of creating a video display brought together the technology, community and the pedagogy (the lesson). Woo hoo!
If I were to do this again (and I am likely to do so), I would probably schedule a session for imovie, windows moviemaker and create an opportunity for students to blog BEFORE they start their assignment so that they can share ideas and resources.