Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Video as Refelective Practice

One of the things that I enjoy about the summer is the number of campers that visit our campus, and specifically our college. I try and make time with at least one group each summer. Last year I had the opportunity to work with middle school students and we built played around with physics and mousetrap cars. This summer I had the opportunity to work with a new group of students, they were high school students part of the GEAR-UP program. I brainstormed with the lead on the project and we discussed all the different activities I could help out with during their week long experience. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that using Flip Cameras to document their camp experience and to use this as a reflection for the week. I had about an hour and a half with them every day from Monday - Thursday.

This was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I have had teaching since I had my own classroom. These students challenged me in a way that caused me to pause and really think about what we were doing. The best part about this was that I was able to articulate the reasoning behind this to the students, and once they understood the "Why?" it was easy to move forward with the project. I had forgotten not only how powerful honesty can be in a classroom, but that empowering students to take charge of their own learning can be the best thing I could ever teach them.

I missed the last day to travel to ISTE, but a student sent me their speech at their luncheon on the last day:

I am honored to speak with you today about our instructors that have spoken with us throughout the week. I would like to start with Ms. Bethany Smith. Ms. Smith has taught us a lot of things we did not know about the MAC BOOK. It is very much different than the average laptop. She has been helping us on our reflection movies for the week on our flipcams. Unfortunately do to time CONSTRAINTS we can’t show you our finished products, but they are available online. She is a very intelligent, a fun person, and has a lot to share. We would like to say, Thank you!

They worked hard on their video projects, but it wasn't the end product I was the most proud of, it was the journey they took to get there.