Mark Hofer and Kathy Swan suggest that students are great consumers of information but aren’t necessarily great producers of information.
And the Common Core and new NCSS standards are asking our kids to do more creating. What does that look like? Mark and Kathy see great possibilities with new technologies that support student-created documentaries.
They’re very convincing. Video creation can align to reading and writing and communicating skills required in the Common Core literacy standards. Video can align to historical content. Video can be engaging.
But, they warn, beware the green pancake. Eating a green pancake will get someone’s attention but the pancake doesn’t taste any different or provide any more nutrition. It’s just green. But we can get very excited about it because, well . . . it’s green. So it must be really good.
It’s the shiny object idea I’ve talked about before. Technology, while important, is not necessary in every step of the documentary creation process. Make sure that kids are focused on the gathering of social studies content, on answering big ideas and rich questions, and on creating original solutions. Then you can begin to incorporate technology.
Mark talked about the idea of using Evidence-Based Arguments as a starting point. Every historical investigation needs to begin with a great question. Then they asked kids to do research and create videos. But what they got was disappointing. What they got was basically text with pictures, a script with a background. It wasn’t a story, it wasn’t engaging, and it often didn’t really answer the question. They begin to realize that they needed to learn more about how to create high-quality documentaries, how to use images and video to actually tell a story.
And eventually they came up with a Four Step Process that students work through to create high-quality documentaries: Read more