In my opinion, Rushton Hurley gave the presentation of the week at FETC 2016. This session on creating service learning videos with students was accessible, relevant, combined multiple content areas and skills, used technology in a meaningful way, and I think students will really like it.
NextVista for Learning is a program that encourages students to improve their communities by creating videos of approximately 90 seconds in length. Students often select a local charity that interests them. This helps the student learn more about a need and service in the community, raises awareness for the not-for-profit organization, and helps to deepen the relationship between the school and community. Everyone wins!
Build research skills
Develop communication skills
Use creative commons licenses media
Create compelling stories that support the mission of the not-for-profit
Have students understand their power to make a difference through these video projects
Sounds pretty ambitious, doesn’t it?
Rushton’s presentation made it all very “doable.”
Start with a brainstorming activity to help students find a local charity
Students write a letter to the local charity
- describing their intent
- request support of the charity, including permission to record video
The teacher provides a cover letter to be included with the student letter
- introduction to the class
- the goals for the charity and for the student
The students need to define the story that they wish to tell.
Create the story arc
- introduction to the not-for-profit
- what is their mission?
- what is compelling about their work?
Have students go through the process of pitching their idea to others. Share the storyboard/arc and allow other students, teachers, parents, etc. provide feedback about the plan for the video. This is an opportunity for students to learn how to receive feedback in a constructive way. Always say thank you, write down notes about the suggestions, do not engage in arguing each point. The students creating the video retain control of the project, and can keep the suggestions that they think best.
Create the video. Capture video of the not-for-profit in action, of the people who are being served by the not-for-profit, or whatever is needed to tell the story. Students should be open to allowing others to provide the voiceovers if they have someone who can speak really well to tell the story. The student does not have to be the recorder, the subject, the actor/actress, etc.
Edit, edit, edit. Show the video to others for additional feedback.
Finally, if doing this with a class or group of students, have a premiere night with parents and community so the videos can be shown to a broad audience.
We may cringe a little at this but, as Rushton said, “…when students do work for the teacher, they make it good enough. When students do work that will be seen by their friends and the community, they make it good.”