Helping students tell different kinds of stories via video

A while back I did a post about having students create “how to” videos for your school using the Common Craft model of simple illustrations with an informative voiceover. This is a very common GenYES student project, with students creating videos about how to use the technology found in their own school.

Now Common Craft has posted a blog showing their behind the scenes process of planning, shooting, and editing their latest video — Electing a US President.

This is a terrific post for a number of reasons:

  • It proves that no matter how experienced you are, creating a video is a process of trying things, seeing what works, and the intertwined nature of risk-taking, mistakes and creativity. We often don’t let kids have enough time for the crucial “oops….aha!” part of the process.
  • It emphasizes the value of editing. Editing is where an author turns a bunch of sounds, words, and pictures into a story that has an intentional impact on the viewer.
  • It shows the value of powerful non-fiction storytelling. Digital storytelling should not be confined to personal stories and feel-good vignettes. Putting together a coherent video about how to save a file to the network server, how to recycle, or how to set up a classroom laptop cart might seem simple, but it’s harder than you think, and a great learning experience.

Here’s the video – show your students and tell them it’s their turn to explain something that other people will find useful.

Electing a US President in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.


One Reply to “Helping students tell different kinds of stories via video”

  1. Hi Sylvia!
    Thanks for the nice post and sharing the video. We’re so excited that you and others have been able to take inspiration from our videos – especially in the classroom! As you mention, the last year has been a huge learning experience for us – and we learn almost every day. We’ve learned to accept imperfection and focus on the issues that will make the biggest difference each day. Over time, addressing these imperfections one-by-one, we end up with a product and expertise we never imagined – with pulling out our hair to get there. We call it “solving problems as they need to be solved”. Thanks again!


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