For two semesters now, I’ve written into the plans an option for students to do a video essay for the argumentative essay instead of writing a traditional position paper. So far only two students have attempted a video, with mixed reviews. In the first case, the student did a good job with using the technology, but the argument itself was a bit confusing. It’s unclear if this is due to the use of the technology or if the student just had trouble rationalizing her argument. In a written paper it is easy to quickly dismiss the argument as poorly written and unsupported by the evidence in the paper. But with a video, it is not as clear. With so few students choosing this option, it seems a waste of time to dig into supporting arguments in video form. This is something I will have to do as more and more students choose to do video.
Presently this is the only criteria I have listed in the instructions:
- 3-5 Minutes in length
- documentation required (use APA style)
- work needs to make a claim and support it (in other words, this work should have a thesis and support that thesis just like the position paper)
- research (at the very least, for images, video, and audio) required
Grade will be determined by how well video essay meets criteria and how the essay is suited/developed for the video format.
In preparation, I ask students to:
You will need to script your work. Beyond the obvious (you need to determine what claim you will make and how you will support it), you should storyboard your work. An easy way to do this is by creating a table using a wiki (why a wiki? this way, you can keep it as a resource for your final portfolio). To create a storyboard, simply create a two column table in a document. In the left hand side you may put an image or a description of an image. In the right hand side, place any notes or voice overs that you may include. I’d suggest you list your purpose in a brief heading/ abstract.
I found most of this assignment on the internet and have adapted it to fit my needs for this assignment. I also had to update the technology instructions to fit the tools available today. I give them an example of the storyboard and then give them some steps to follow in creating their video using Windows Movie Maker. Students are required to submit their storyboard and a works cited page with the video essay. I won’t have an example until we work out all the kinks or until a student knocks this assignment out of the park.
My first post about Twitter, Little Known Facts about Twitter in the Classroom, talked about some easy uses for Twitter in the classroom. I said, Twitter is connected to everything. I can update my Google calendar and ToDo tasks via Twitter, and I can set it up so Twitter will broadcast my blog posts from my blog to Twitter with a link sending people back to my blog to read the post. Think announcements for students with that one. It’s also connected with a very nice polling site, Poll Everywhere, that lets your respondents vote in your polls via Twitter. Twitter makes their API available so any company can develop tools that will work through Twitter.
This post follows up that and talks about the calendar and ToDo updates via Twitter. If you’re busy, like most people are, you might find that your calendar and a ToDo list are very helpful in keeping you going. I rely heavily on both in my everyday life. Usually when I’m out and about, and I need to either add an event or meeting to my calendar, I find it a hassle to pull up my calendar program and add it. Same thing with my ToDo lists. But I’ve found that sending a text message directly to Twitter can do that for me. All I have to do is text a direct message to my Google Calendar or Remember the Milk ToDo service and it automatically posts to my calendar or list. Click the links for more information about each.
I use this when I schedule conferences with students. I grab my phone and send a text message to 40404 with “d gcal Meeting with ‘Student’ Tuesday at 11am.” The d is for direct message, which is private on Twitter, and gcal is the Google Calendar Twitter name. The rest is the event I want added to the calendar. When I get to a computer, all the appointments are there in my calendar. And since I sync my Google calendar with my Blackberry, they show up on my phone calendar too within minutes. The screencast below shows you how this all works.
Part II of III tips for using Twitter in the classroom. Part I covers using Twitter via text messaging on your cell phone, Part II update calendar/ToDo list via Twitter. The last tip will show you how to use Twitter with a polling service PollEverywhere.