Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Joy of Connections

Here is our latest video production project thanks to the power of the network. After you watch the video, read the process of how it came about and why I love having Dean Shareski in my network.

So one of the things I love about Twitter and Google Reader is the wealth of ideas that it brings. I can't recall whether I saw Dean Shareski's post via Twitter or his blog on Thursday night but I know it led to a great Friday morning.

Dean poses the question "What does Joy have to with Learning" and shares a video by some students at Wartburg College. He then poses the following questions about doing a similar video in your school.

So please complete my mulitple choice question in the comments and add any insights you have because I need your help in understanding what to do with joy in schools.

With regards to creating a video like the one above do you:

  1. Do it because it's not only fun but likely does address some cirriculuar outcomes but you might have to look them up later. Fingers crossed.
  2. Do it and to heck with the outcomes, doing joyful things with students is important.
  3. Do it but perhaps as an extra-curricular activity because you're not sure where it fits with a robust curriculum but still think it's important.
  4. Not do it at all.
If I had to answer my motivation behind doing the video it would fall under #2 although it did address curricular objectives in our case. To be honest, I really just got caught up in how much fun the kids were having in the video. We have a couple video production classes so we could easily incorporate this into the class and add value. So that night I emailed our video teacher and said we needed to have some fun on Friday and learn a new skill.

We spent the half hour before the students came into first period trying to pick a song that was appropriate and the kids would know the words to (much more difficult than it would seem). We also tested how we would record each student, which turned out to be very easy in our iMac lab even though we hadn't used the cameras in this way yet. We came up with a couple song options and then waited to see if the kids would think it was as much fun as we did.

As they started to file in, we told them to sit down and get iMovie going. They were curious because typically they are in charge of working on whatever project they are working on so we don't spend much time telling them where to go as they walk in. Next we showed them the Wartburg video and the excitement rose. We then presented our song ideas and they didn't hate them but one student suggested another song which everyone liked better so we went with it. Then with no other instructions than to have a good time with it we had them start capturing and played the song.

Pure joy and hilarity ensued for three and a half minutes. Then after we finished the song and the laughter died down, we exported and moved the movies to one computer for the editing. Over the next several days we synced all the feeds, imported the mp3, edited the different cameras together while trying to get as many people in as possible, exported the video and uploaded to our YouTube channel. During this process students came in during study hall, before and after school to work on the cut, comment on its progress and often just laugh.

So while we did learn some new editing and camera skills, more than anything we just had fun as a class. Sometimes that's as important as anything else to keep progressing.

Thanks for a great couple days Dean.


  1. Awesome video! I love making videos like this. I would have to answer #1. (Although, I'd probably make videos even if I couldn't use them later) I just finished making this video with the teachers at my school for a talent show. It wasn't for any purpose other than to entertain the kids, but ended up getting them to start hitting my blog for other instructional ideas. All in all, I'd call that a win! For your viewing pleasure:

  2. I think I am most excited about how well this works in a group webcam setting. As a computer lab teacher, I'm frequently frustrated by having 31 computers in a small room.... which makes using webcams and mics a challenge, especially given that mine are in 4 parallel rows facing each other. Add to that the fact that there isn't anywhere close to have as a 'podcasting' quiet room.... and we underutilize the tech for creation.

    Would you mind posting some more specifics on how you synced up the tracks from all the computers into iMovie? I'm wondering if I could have the students in each row collaborate to make their 'row' a movie, and then I could take all four rows and make them into a final product. Then they get to do the video editing, not just me showing them.