Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Technology Does Not Guarantee Rigor

Often teachers integrate technology in a basic, quick and easy form, pat themselves on the back, and assume 21st century learning is occurring. Here is a great example of technology integration failing to provide rigor. More than likely, this assignment brought students to the type of boredom a simple book summary would have. 

Video Synopsis andCritique
            The student outlines the video as a “Book Share.” His/her Language Arts teacherrequires so many per school year. It appears by “summary” as part of the titlethat students are to read a book on their own and create a trailer. Thisproject has three uses. First, it can confirm the student is reading a book.Second, a collection of these videos becomes useful for other students lookingfor their next book. Finally, it is a great way to incorporate technologyconsistently, though alternative video projects could improve the end result.
            Havingnot seen the project directions from “Mrs. Roberge,” I am unaware of herexpectations. If I were to give this assignment, students would need to displaya level of thinking beyond simple summary. I’d like to see the student critiquethe book, make comparisons to other novels or movies, or speak to theirreactions at certain moments.
            Myassessment of the video using NETS-S is low. It is possible that the teacherhas a desire to integrate technology but with limited success. These “BookShare” videos, if this particular video is the norm, seem to be done outside ofclass time and with basic slideshow software. My guess is that the program isuser friendly and easily taught to students (perfect for school integration),allowing the teacher to assign these as long term projects, or as the studentsays “one every marking period.” Yet, the project does not meet many of thegoals technology integration can achieve. I see the possibility for thesevideos to reach a large audience. The project doesn’t even do this at a highlevel, judging by the 63 views and zero comments as of July 29, 2012. It wouldbe nice to see the project get into the “deeper investigations” Edutopia issaid to be targeting with their curriculum (Education Nation, 2010, p. 121).
            Apossible improvement of this project could integrate literature circles withcommon novels and requiring book reviews rather than summaries. Students couldwork collaboratively to read the book and determine what belongs in the videotogether. Then, by switching to a review format, students are using higherlevel thinking skills. In his 2011 book WriteLike This, Kelly Gallagher outlines how to use mentor texts as means togetting students writing for the real world. “If I want my students to worktoward becoming real-world writers, I need to shift the focus of my writinginstruction toward real-world writing purposes” (p. 9). To create thisreal-world purpose, students should research book reviews and movie trailersonline and model their projects after what they find. As Milton Chen writes in Education Nation, “[Students] are hungryfor information on how they might prepare to work in the entertainmentindustry, but they don’t see a pathway from their interest in the arts andtechnology to careers in film, TV, animation, or video games.” (2010, p. 108)These book reviews and trailers are a perfect marriage of the old and new.Reading extended texts like novels is critical to literacy development, butmany students complain about the “why.” The corresponding homework that “killsthe fun of a book” can frustrate even the ones who enjoy reading. Thisconcept brings together novels with real-world writing and projectcreation.

NETS-S Grades andRationale (refer to rubric)
1b. 3/4
The content of the video is on point and follows the basicassignment outline. Judging by video title, I believe the teacher is simplyasking for a summary of the book her student read. In this case, they studentdelivers scene-by-scene summaries for the rising action. The final slides leavethe viewer wondering about the ending. However, the extensive summary gave awaymuch of the plot. Thus, I docked a point, as I believe a high quality book summaryshould concentrate on character outlines, prevailing themes, and generalitiesabout the plot. This reveals too much. For example, the slides outlining thepoisoning of his wine and the girl saving his life (00:35) sounds like a greatscene in the book that has now lost all surprise for future readers.

2b. 2/4
The delivery of the information was frustrating to follow. Thesummaries typed on each screen are often difficult to read with the picturesused as backgrounds. I like the song’s urgency, making the video appealing to astudent audience.

3b. 3/4
The thoroughness of the summary shows an understanding of the plot.Yet, due to the film still shots, I can’t help but wonder if they simplywatched the movie.

4b. 3/4
I give a three out of four because the video simply summarizes thenovel. A perfect score to me would have integrated a personal review of thebook or displayed some sort of cognitive reading strategy other than plotrecall. Perhaps the student could have shared a prediction he or she madeduring reading or compared/contrasted characters with other books as a way tomodel higher-level reading skills.

5a. 0/4
The student clearly pulled still shots from the movie version to useas slide backgrounds. No credit is given to the filmmakers or the musicproduction. In fact, the video does not even provide the author of the book.
6b. 3/4
Creating aslideshow with captions is accomplished nicely. Perhaps the student could haveplaced the captions to the side of each photo for an easier reading experience.

Total: 15/24

NETS Standards for Students
Possible Points*
Earned Points

NETS-S 1. Creativity and Innovation
1b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression (content)
The video shows evidence of spontaneous fluency and originality that is recognized as high in quality.


NETS-S 2. Communication and Collaboration
2b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats (delivery)
The video effectively communicates the student’s knowledge of the subject matter. Presentation is well organized and flow of ideas is easy to follow.

NETS-S 3. Research and Information Fluency
locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media (cited sources)
The video shows evidence that the students did sufficient  background research

NETS-S 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
4b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
The video is evident of critical thinking and problem solving 


NETS-S 5. Digital Citizenship
5a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.

The video contained original footage or had a Creative Commons license with proper credits or citations given to authors of any artistic element used.

NETS-S 5. Technology Operations and Concepts
6b. select and use applications effectively and productively (camera techniques, video/audio editing)
The video shows that student used the camera editing software skillfully and independently, completing the work on time. Images are clear and audio level is easily heard.

Chen, Milton(2010). Education nation. SanFrancisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Gallagher, Kelly (2011). Writelike this. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Granhead2. (2011, June 8). Language arts project #3: video/book summary#2… the golden compass [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtqfXswpgRY
Schulze, Patricia. Book reviews, annotations, and web technology.Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/book-reviews-annotation-technology-137.html?tab=1- tabs

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