“There’s an audio blip, and it’s obvious!” Steve Kertis of Kertis Creative told Haley yesterday, just minutes before final presentations. of her audio slideshow. “Fix it.” Fern Creek High School sophomore Haley–one of six of my students volunteering to go to work during the first week of summer–looked exasperated, but she went back to editing, eyes glued to the screen, and corrected the mistake.
I saw more focus and effort from the kids than I had at any point during the school year. My Unleashing Digital Storytelling course, collaborating with media professionals from Kertis Creative and freelance photographer Aaron Borton, completed our first media workshop last night. Over five days, two students worked with one coach and learned what it takes to create professional-quality digital storytelling. They all put in roughly 25 hours to create a two minute presentation. A little more effort than sitting in front of a screen, using the web cam to create a monologue, and uploading it to YouTube.
A huge win!
How can schools build more hands-on, experiential learning opportunities like the workshop into the regular calendar? We’re restrained by transportation issues, rigid scheduling, and large class sizes. But there is no doubt that the impact of this type of experience is lasting. Riah asked to borrow a camera this summer, signaling me to text her if there are more opportunities to tell stories this summer. Kaylie wanted to make sure I talked to the counselor so she’s enrolled in the advanced version of Unleashing Digital Storytelling next year. Several parents came up to me and said their son/daughter showed a spark, expressing excitement not seen during the previous 180 days at Fern Creek.
The students are proud of their final products, and rightly so. Check it out:
Special thanks to the CE&S Foundation and Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and Bread Loaf Teacher Network for supporting the workshop.