April 4, 2013

How to Make a Student-centered Video

dairy‘Student-generated’ now has a face–a lively and creative group from Loreto Secondary School in County Meath Ireland. They combined their talents and came up with a fun, engaging PSA to promote dairy.

I fell in love with the video and asked Mr. Tom Kendall (Head of ICT as well as a math and ICT teacher) to summarize the adventure so I can share it here. By the time you’re done reading the next few paragraphs, you’ll be amazed at the inquiry-driven work, the risk-taking employed at ever so many levels, their problem-solving and critical thinking that went into the creation of this four-minute video. If you’re an inquiry-based class or an IB school with an eye to your end-of-year Exhibition, this is a wonderful example. Enjoy:

Aiming for Viral: We Take Dairy and This is Crazy!

A behind the scenes look at the making of a student-created video.

We want to make a Video!

This school year, six Transition Year students in my Digital Publishing class approached me for advice on creating a video for a business competition. In Ireland, Transition Year students fall into the 15 to 16 age bracket.

The competition challenged students to form their own mini-advertising company with the goal of designing and implementing a campaign to promote the importance of dairy to their peers.

What type of Video?

The students’ initial thinking was to create a video clip featuring a narrative by their campaign’s cardboard mascot, Udderly the Cow. After further brainstorming, however, the girls decided to set their sights on a music video that might have viral potential. While far from easy, it generated killer enthusiasm within the team.

The students began by studying a number of videos that had gone viral in the past year. They also discussed characteristics that make for viral appeal. After a few weeks, sure enough, the students surfaced with a set of lyrics. They had put their creative minds together like only young people can do and drafted a set of dairy-friendly lyrics to match the melody of the pop song, Call Me Maybe, by Carly Rae Jepsen.

We need a Singer.

The next phase of the students’ production was to secure a singer for their music video. With a keen eye on promoting their message, the team chose to hold school-wide lunchtime auditions for the singer. The winning voice was that of 17 year old Margaret. After being selected, Margaret went on her way, rehearsed and recorded her rendition with the support of one of the school’s Music teachers.

Quiet on the set!

Once the team began shooting video, it became apparent that if they were to meet the competition deadline they were going to need help. As such, the team took the strategic decision to “crowd source” a portion of their video.

By crowd source, I mean the girls made their dairy-friendly lyrics available to as many students in the school (and beyond) as possible. Willing volunteers were encouraged to take the lyrics and shoot their own little dairy video clip. Once shot, the volunteers submitted their respective clips either via email or on memory cards.

Along with speeding things up, two additional “wins” of this approach were, one, the team was able to tap into a wider pool of creative content than if they just shot the video themselves and, two, there would inevitably be more views of their video once it went online.

Left on the editing room floor

With a looming deadline and short on digital editing experience, the team looked to a 16 year old lad, Pauric, from a nearby school who enjoyed working with digital video. With video clips and soundtrack in-hand, Pauric crafted multiple drafts and edits until he and the team agreed on the final cut. As with any such process, there were last minute submissions and then more last minute submissions!

Gone Live!

With the support of teaching staff and their peers, the team screened their video to a number of junior cycle classes during school time and then launched it on YouTube on March 11, 2013. The view count as of March 27 is over 4,300 and the team is enjoying reading and responding to comments posted from as far away as California and Australia.

The business competition results are pending with the team hoping their entry will qualify for the finals come the beginning of April.

And now–drum roll–here’s the video:

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, presentation reviewer for CSTA, Cisco guest blogger, a monthly contributor to TeachHUB, columnist for Examiner.com, featured blogger for Technology in Education, and IMS tech expert. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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