Ten Common Challenges We’ll Face This Fall – Challenge #7: Creating Projects

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One of my most popular presentations, the one that I’m most frequently asked to give, is 10 Common Challenges Facing Educators. When giving this presentation I outline challenges that classroom teachers often face and present some resources and strategies for addressing those challenges. In preparation for the new school year I’ve created a series of blog posts based on that presentation. Today’s post is about resources students can use in developing multimedia projects.

Video Projects
I like having students create videos as class projects because a well designed project requires students to develop a number of skills. In the case of having students create documentary videos or instructional videos, they have to first research their chosen topics and know them well in order to produce a quality product. If you’re having students create fiction-based videos they need to write and revise a story line. The same is true for any type of video project you design. Your students need to research, develop a story line (or story board), revise the story line, create the first draft of their videos, then revise their videos after getting input from peers and teachers. For the web-based video creation tools that I recommend, view the slides below. In those same slides you’ll also find links to information about Creative Commons, Fair Use, and Copyright.

Much like when you have students create video products, when you have them create a podcast they should plan out the story line or talking points ahead of time. Doing that provides students with a structure to work within which can help them develop clear audio messages. And much like video projects, your students are going to want to revise parts of their podcasts. The first time a person hears his or her own voice on a recording they often cringe. (After years of hearing my own voice on recordings I still sometimes cringe).

My favorite tool for creating podcasts is Apple’s Garage Band. If you have access to Garage Band, I think that is the tool to use. If you don’t have access to Garage Band, the open source program Audacity is a good alternative. You do have to install Audacity on your computer in order to use it. Some teachers cannot download programs to their school’s computers. In those cases there are some nice online tools to try.

Aviary offers a good online audio recording and mixing tool called Myna. Myna offers a great set of tools for recording and mixing multiple tracks. The benefit of using Myna over a tools like Audacity is that students save their works to an online account that they can access from any Internet-connected computer. Aviary now offers an education product that allows teachers to create and supervise students’ accounts. If you’re a Google Apps for Education school, you can add Aviary to your list of tools through the Google Apps Marketplace.Watch the video below for a demonstration of Aviary’s Myna audio recorder and mixer.

If you just want students to quickly create short audio messages, Vocaroo is a handy tool. You cannot edit using Vocaroo, but you can download your recordings to use in an editing service. Vocaroo recordings can also be embedded into your blog or website.

At its most basic, blogging is writing for an audience. Last month I outlined and explained what I think are the three fundamental purposes of blogging as a classroom exercise. When talking to teachers about blogging one of the things that I always share is the idea of printing out your students’ blogs at the end of a quarter, semester, or year to show them and others how much good work they did. There is something about the visual of seeing 25, 50, 100, or more printed pages that really gives students a tangible sense of accomplishment. There are many tools available for downloading and printing blogs. The two tools for printing blogs that I most often recommend are Anthologize and Blog Booker.

This is part seven of a ten part series of posts about common challenges facing educators. If you’re interested in having me speak about this topic or others at your school or conference, please contact me through the Work With Me page.


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!