Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Slide Me To Vietnam

With the IT Academy's new curriculum in high motion, the students were divided up into classrooms for three and five session custom mini-course workshops. For the "Slide Me To Vietnam" workshop, the end product was a highlight video for the non-profit organization, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Vietnam Health Project.

Ten students enrolled in this workshop and they each had their own section to the movie. Using iMovie on Macs, they sorted through 12GB's worth of pictures, animated a slideshow, and recorded their voices to tell the story.

Session 1 was sweet and simple. During the morning survey, the lead instructor Ann asked the students what exactly is a landfill community? They had a vague interpretation to the extent of "people that live in a landfill." By the end of the three hours, the students understood that these families live and work on the landfill. They sort through garbage for 12 hours a day while earning only 7 dollars for the day, and their children cannot attend public schools, as their parents never had the access to acquire birth certificates for them. By the end of the session, the students developed sympathy to help these families and could not wait until next session to begin their portion of the video.

Session 2 started with an introduction to iMovie. iMovie is a program we've never had a chance to teach at ITA. The students' energy drained as they sorted through hundreds of pictures. When they needed to record their voice-over, the fatigue echoed through their voices.

The students temporarily lost the sense of teamwork and instead of working together to make sure the video contained consistent transitions and text, they went on with their own creativity. The hectic rush at the end of the day to upload to YouTube the preliminary draft, made the environment even more stressful. At the end of the day the students anxiously wanted to leave, but before they left Ann asked them why they were doing this project. Ashanti simply replied "to help those children." Suddenly the purpose behind the project became the focal point, which showed as we shifted gears in the third, and final, day of the workshop...

Here is one student's draft from the end of day two:

Session 3 came two weeks later and the students knew they HAD to finish the video. Before they began to work, Ann distributed Thank You cards created by the children of the landfill community. Even though they lived over five thousand miles away, at that moment the distance did not seem so far. As a class, the students did a peer critique of each draft. They understood that consistency was the key to allow the videos to piece together and forced each other to perfect their section. In only forty minutes, they finished. The students rendered their final product and Ann pieced together the video simply by clicking and dragging. Watching the video as a class, the students were proud of their new creation that would be donated to the organization.

And now, you can view the product of all the hard work and effort to make the following video slide show:

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