Students and informal learning

I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to contribute to an ISTE book, Teaching with Digital Video, an effort put together by Glen Bull and Lynn Bell. One of the chapters I helped write discussed student-created video in informal learning environments. The premise of this chapter is that rich, deep learning can (and do) take place in settings other than school and without a teacher’s direction. I was able to provide a few examples of such learning in the chapter.

Along these lines, I have been working with a News Media club at a private K-8 school, and one of the things the students wanted to learn was how to edit video and use a green screen. The school just happened to have recently invested in a green screen and video editing software, so the conditions were perfect for trying out the new equipment.

Because this is a club, rather than a core class, combined with the fact that the students are all new to video editing, I decided to start with something small and simple, which in this case was Charades. I told the students which scenario to act out, and we filmed them performing in front of the green screen. After each student had a chance to participate (twice!), we went to the computer lab and did some simple editing. You can click on the link below to see the result of our efforts, a simple 1-minute video:

The thing that excites me about this experience is not the technology, but the students’ response to the activity. I had students stopping me in the hall later that day asking me when we were going to use the green screen again. I could tell their ideas and creativity were flowing. Green screen is cool, but students who are excited about being creative and taking ownership of their own learning is even cooler.

One thought on “Students and informal learning

  1. I’m glad to know about that book, I added it to my Amazon wish list. 🙂

    Your post reminds of one I recently read from Bob Sprankle, “Crazy Good.” How exciting it is to work with students when there is so much enthusiasm and excitement for learning!

    Kudos for your leadership and facilitation roles in this after school club. Those are lucky kids!

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