1. glue
  2. Held it together.
  3. Decorated it with stickers.
  4. Colored the back with marker.
  5. Wrote my name on the back.

When the Teacher Learns

Multimedia: Video- shooting assignment

The more I do, the more I love. I’m finding myself increasingly more intrigued and motivated by producing and teaching multimedia. Photography and video are not exceptions to that. I’ve always loved photography, but just tried my first hand at video last summer at ASNE. I feel like it’s one of those things where we say “eh, it can’t be that hard.” And then you slip your SD card into your computer and only have 20 usable seconds of 30 minutes worth of shooting. That may or may not have been my experience…

Regardless, I loved every second of it. I find the challenge of video fun. I love having a vision and making it work. I love the raw emotion involved in film. I don’t currently teach video, but I do push it as an effective multimedia tool, so it’s good for me to teach myself and experience it like my students do.

I figure the best way to share my takeaways from this assignment is to compile a list of what I (the teacher) learned through this experience.

  1. Tripods are important…but also extremely difficult to use when moving often. Major apologies for the bumpy road at the start of the video (and a few spots in the middle).
  2. There is such a thing as a pan that is too quick. Sorry for those of you that suffered from motion sickness while watching.
  3. Audio is important. Mics are important. The mic made a huge difference in the sound quality. I would have preferred to have some natural sound from the shooting environment in this video, but I didn’t plan well enough to make it happen.
  4. There’s also such a thing as too many shots. I found myself loving several short pieces that when put together looked choppy. It’s important to use purposeful clips that are long enough to capture attention and tell a part of the story, but not distract or bore.
  5. Editing can be frustrating. Very frustrating.

Despite all of the challenges, I’ll definitely continue to shoot video and hopefully get more than 20 seconds worth of usable material as the years go on.

Here it is: A quick little preview of yearbook for our new 2016-17 staff. Enjoy!

Students Gain Video Experience through Videolicious

Teaching Multimedia: Final Assignment

This lesson plan is placed at the beginning of a semester-long introductory journalism course where students learn a variety of multimedia tools throughout the semester and work towards a final multimedia package that they create at the end of the semester. This particular lesson is designed for teaching Videolicious: a video app that enables students to shoot video, plan and record voiceovers and piece together a professional looking video without a DSLR camera or any editing applications. They learn the basics of shooting and are able to tell a story with the device in their hands.

Find the lesson here. All links and handout are provided within:

Or download the PDF here: MultimediaFinal_LessonPlan

Here, you can also find the Camptasia tutorial for my class as they learn how to use the Videolicious app and shoot their videos:

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.18.51 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.19.00 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.19.08 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.19.18 PM

Learning to Love Podcasting

Teaching Multimedia- Audio 3 Blog Post

I never knew I could love podcasting so much, and now I want my students to love it as much as I do!

This one was a little bit different of an experience than the podcast with myself. Here’s a quick list of what I learned.

  • Your interviewees should be prepared. I prepared mine, but I think they were too prepared. I sent them a list of questions to think about (which was good), but at times, I felt that they were too prepared (you’ll hear that in the awkward silence about halfway through). They would pause waiting for someone else to answer. Part of that was because I had more than one interviewer, which I actually loved because they had a great connection.
  • Work on your own responses. I’m thinking I wasn’t born to conduct live interviews, because my responses are awkward and short. You’ll hear the words “cool,” “awesome” and “great” way too many times. That makes me feel awkward listening to myself. Sorry that you have to listen to me do that… learner here.
  • Use good technology. I used AudioBoom again, but this time I used an IPad and a much better mic. I was really happy with the quality and sound of this interview.
  • Write questions and a script ahead of time. At first, I thought “I’ll wing it.” And then I thought, “better not.” I was so glad I was prepared, but I also wish I would have allowed myself more freedom to have conversation and ask more follow-up questions.

Props to people who do this for a living! It’s interesting to me that what I usually consider easy when teaching, like follow-up questions, ends up being difficult when I have to do it myself. It’s actually pretty humbling.
Enjoy this podcast on Girls on the Run, an international non-profit organization.

Graphics and Such

Teaching Multimedia – Graphics Blog Post

Here’s a peek into what you can do with graphics these days:

  1. Map: I created this map this summer at ASNE Kent. In retrospect, it’s way too much content. The point here, though, is that maps can be a unique way to display information. This one was made in Piktochart and was paired with a story about the state of Ohio keeping drive-in theaters alive.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 12.06.37 PM

2. Polls

This is a poll my yearbook students can use while discussing yearbook distribution made with polldaddy. See more info on the free site here:

3. Timeline. This timeline was made with Capzles and displays some of the events that our publications staffs participate in throughout the year.


A Social Media Challenge to Students

Social Role – Week 10 Blog Post

Here’s my challenge to my students (and all students for that matter). Answer these two questions honestly:

  1. How can social media help a publications meet their reporting goals and are they being used to meet them?
  2. What will you do to be responsible on your own social media sites?

This is something I’ve posted about before and will continue to post about because I think it can be a major pro for journalism and reporting. I’ve decided it makes the most sense to combine my thoughts from my the last two weeks of discussion and research on social media.  These sites can serve many purposes, but the real question is whether or not scholastic media staffs are using these sites to their full potential. This week, we were asked how we see our sites utilizing the network or analyzing what they could be used for. Here was my response:

“I see my students continuing to take advantage of social media for reporting. For the most part, social media only help our students meet their goals and most importantly, allows them to meet the other students (and teachers/community) where they are. Instead of generally, I’ll break it down by medium. For starters though, here are a few of their reporting goals:

  • Reaching a large audience quickly (when they need to know/get information)
  • Covering annual activities in unique ways
  • Giving the facts
  • Give the news students want to see/care about it

Twitter: Our students mostly use this site for quick, announcement type updates. The 140 character limit is actually beneficial, because it forces reporters to only give them most important information in those characters. It’s quick for readers and is probably where the most of them are. Other than school announcement-type information, Twitter also allows students to link to extra coverage of things seen in the paper or yearbook and things recently posted to the web. Additionally, in a breaking news situation, Twitter is a great way to spread the news fast.

Instagram: Of all of the social media sites, Instagram probably does the least to help meet reporting goals, but is still very effective in that last goal: giving the students what they want to see. Instagram allows our reporters/photogs to post bigger moments throughout the day or game with captions and cutlines. Students love seeing themselves and their friends featured in staff Instagram photos and the caption information also helps share the news.

Snapchat: Though this site receives much criticism by journalists, it can actually be a great live-reporting tool. And yet again, students are there. Snapchat has been a great source for reporting live events, such as sports games and in school events. Depending on the mood set, students can make this what they want. For our students, Snapchat serves as little more light-hearted, less serious reporting tool; however, that’s something that could shift, so it makes sense to report more breaking news there, too.

Facebook: For our students, Facebook serves a similar purpose as Twitter. The difference? Instead of reaching students, they are reaching parents and alumni there. Same type of news, just for a different audience.”

In the previous week, I did some research on the way multiple schools are using the networks, which led me to my original question. Are schools using them as best they can?

These were the conclusions I reached after quite a bit of browsing:

  1. Most programs that are using socials, are using them for similar purposes:
    1. To bring more viewers to the website by linking to stories or photo galleries
    2. To make followers aware of livestream or other video events
    3. To share school announcements
    4. To help students be a part of events they can’t attend (Snapchat, live tweeting, etc.)
    5. To connect the community and alumni
  2. Rarely do you see any kind of breaking news; the majority is used for opinion, additional viewing opportunity or entertainment.
  3. It’s still working.

Which brings me to my challenge to my students…what do YOU think the purpose is? Are we meeting those goals? (I’ll report back with answers from them)

My second question stems directly from the first. If we are pushing our students to answer these questions and be responsible reporters on social media? Many journalism educators, including myself, push students to exercise that agenda setting power that social media has, but maybe we’re (I am?) are doing it all wrong.

Maybe what we, as educators, should do before we even think about scholastic journalism making a mark in the social sphere is teach our students to do it right first.

It’s tough. I find myself wondering whether I should ever medal into their personal space. Afterall, it’s their social network. I often say to myself “it’s their choice, and I can’t stop them,” but maybe they don’t even realize how to use socials correctly. Is that where I come in? I’m supposed to be teaching them, right?

I truly believe that if our students understood the impact and leadership of their personal role on social media, we wouldn’t see things like this. Therefore, they probably don’t understand the impact of social networks in general, let alone the program’s. For argument sake, I’m definitely generalizing here. There are students that can handle themselves and those students are probably the ones leading the staff accounts (if we’re smart), but does that mean we should just let the others continue?

For so long, I said yes to that. But I’m quickly changing my answer to no. I’m sure this teaching comes with resistance from students, but I’m also thinking they’ll thank us later.

It’s also important that students in the program understand what they are doing to the program when they post things from personal accounts. When they are part of media, I often believe that they should embody that role in everyday life. Just as a teacher shouldn’t drink with students outside of school or wear inappropriate clothing on a Saturday (personal belief), students should also reflect their important roles all the time.
Thank you to my students reading this who do it right. Those of  you don’t…what will you do to be better?

…When it comes to politics

Social Role- Week 8 Blog Post

The Danger of being a passive receiver of information

….when it comes to politics.

One of our assignments this week was to develop a lesson to help our students understand the danger of being passive receivers of information.

In a nutshell, that would be taking the gossip or the hot topic on Twitter and turning it into a story based on hearsay, or not doing the right amount of research to make it good reporting.

It’s not secret that this type of passiveness is dangerous in journalism, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about politics.

Before I even say anything, you should know that I’m not a big fan of sharing my political beliefs or even really of talking about them in general…that’s not what this is about. This is about how our students report on politics.

It scares me sometimes how little my students ACTUALLY know about politics and what of what they think they know comes from people’s Facebook posts or online blogs. I’m guilty, too. Even the most convincing posts (even from people we trust) we have to be careful with.

When we have students interested in covering politics, it’s crucial that we teach them the importance of avoiding this passiveness. Politics can be tough to cover because so much of our thoughts are based on opinion– so in order to really report on something political, they need facts, they need expert sources and they need a sound understanding of politics.

We have a student right now who does some really great opinion writing on politics. Here is one of his pieces:

He’s passionate, he researches and he gets the facts.

Again though, this is opinion writing. If we had a student who wanted to report on the recent Trump rallies in St. Louis and Chicago, it would be really easy to write an article based on the backlash the rallies received on social media. Though some may of those posts may be a realistic picture of the rallies, student reporters (or any for that matter) can’t rely on that alone as fats.

I really do think students are capable of covering politics, especially if it’s something they want their peers to be informed on. It just has to be done the right way.