The other day, Tess put on this strange voice and started babbling something about â€œeating pasteâ€ and that it was â€œacid free.â€ I asked her what in the heck she was talking about, and it turns out she was acting out a YouTube video that her nine-year old friend had shown her, one which, with an astounding adeptness I didnâ€™t know my daughter possessed, she brought up to show me about 30 seconds after turning on the computer. It was a really stupid clip about eating glue stick in school, one in a series of stupid clips of some girl talking strangely and babbling nonsense. Funny to a nine-year oldâ€¦silly to me. (Somewhat unsettling, actuallyâ€¦parentable moment.)
But anyway, here is the kicker. After we watched it about halfway through and I forced her to turn it off, she turns to me and says â€œHey Dad. Can you show me how to make one of those video things?â€
Next thing you know weâ€™re visiting family over the weekend in Connecticut, and weâ€™re surrounded by people with stories. The 92-year old boyfriend of my 81-year old step-mother, and my 81-year old brother-in-law, all of whom should write books. Anyway, out comes the video camera and Tess is hamming it up as reporter, asking them all questions, good questions (with a bit of coaching) and getting them to tell about their lives. Sheâ€™s making video. She wants it on YouTube. Thank goodness the interviewees have little idea of what YouTube is.
Today when I was checking out Andy Carvinâ€™s snippets from the NPR Summit, I heard Euan Semple mention that â€œweâ€™re not sitting in the consumer channel anymoreâ€ when it comes to interacting with media. And I immediately thought about Tess. How cool is it going to be for her growing up with the ability to create and publish whatever floats her boat (as long as itâ€™s not about paste.) And how nice that would be if she had some support to do that from the teachers at her school. (More on that laterâ€¦)
Now, I keep thinking about my visit to Google last week to do the Teacher Academy keynote. What struck me was that almost all of the Googlers (Googleites?) had an open computer with them no matter where they were. I snuck a glance over at one woman who was sitting next to me as we watched a demo of Sketch-Up and noticed she had about three IM windows going and was typing away at some document. She wasn’t just consuming. It didnâ€™t take much to realize that she wasnâ€™t fooling around; this was work. And she was smiling…
My kids’ll get it, cause, like it or not, I’m their father. Wonder what it’s going to take for us to make every kid a “prosumer” as Don Tapscott calls it…
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Mrs. Durff says
When do we get to see Tess’ debut creation on YouTube, sans paste…
Mr. Andy says
I would like to see Tess’ video also. My 2 ten year olds and my 6 year old made a video last week. The were off with snow days of course. I helped them post it to youtube.
I hope tess gets as big as kick out of it as my boys.
Here’s the link if anyone is interested.
You draw some good point about how our society is shitting its ability to communicate. We no long have to be major writers in order to have our work, ideas or message available to the masses. We sit at our desks and exchange intellectual stimulating ideas with colleagues half way around the world. You tube and other programs allow our students to visually express their ideas freely with the world they live in. We as educators canâ€™t stop this from happening, but we can facilitate our students with using critical thinking and practicing professionalism. This could even be a good outlet for them to publish a class project (with the permission of their guardians). This is a cool and new way for every one to share their ideas, feeling, and beliefs. With a little critical thinking and an open mind we can take the next step in communication in education. The tools are out there and its time for use to adapt. We can take these classroom distractions and use them as a technological tool.
Jim Coe says
Thanks for your reflection, Will. Tom and I are working on some creative ways to give our students access to professional grade hardware and software to tell their stories. We have a group of boys with a talent for jumping and grinding things on a skateboard. These boys also have a knack for not completing their homework/classwork. This week we will propose a deal where they have access to technology to produce DVDs of their highlight reels if they start coming to class prepared and ready to work. They get to tell their story. We get boys who are engaged in class.
Another thought: If your daughter is starting her amateur film career at her young age, imagine what she will be producing as a teen and young adult. You think the consumer-generated ads and shorts we see today are witty? Just wait till Tess and her contemporaries come into their own…
YouTube is getting big now, every one i know doesnt stop talking about it?
A couple of weeks ago my 13 year old daughter made her first post to You Tube, an Anime music video. She was excited but as she said it was just a remix now she wants to do something “new and cool”. Maybe focus on her hobbies and where she lives. So we are talking about what to do… show the hard work that goes into figure skating, interview family, maybe do a video of the winter ocean surfers (she thinks they are crazy), the shell fisherman working in the ice. Her list is growing. I told her she could do them all and more. Just have a blast.
Meredith Broderick says
We started making films as final projects with my studentsâ€™ (special education 4th, 5th, and 6th graders) about 5 years ago. Right away I was amazed at how motivating filmmaking is in a classroom. Now for the past 4 years we have Film Fest in June.
The problem is that not many other teachers embrace this format of publication in my school.
But Kids do, boy do they, they learn how to work the cameras’ download the film to computers, use garage band (audio) and edit in I-movie, rather deftly, (more so than I as I am not a natural geek at all, there I confess the tech stuff does not come naturally to me.)
This year we did an election day film festival, about NY elections and the importance of voting, we had 6 films. Our best film was stolen from a republican party idea, that we read in Time Mag to keep control of the Congress, entitiled â€œTake 5 people and Voteâ€
I as an film producer, notice I didnâ€™t say â€œmakerâ€ have learned to let them go. Teach, and them give them the tools and let them make movies,movies, movies. The result is that kids will read, write and yes the thing that is hardest to get them to do rewrite, and they will work collaboratively to solve real world problems. All the time having a blast!
The video sounds really intresting
Andrew Pass says
I send out a daily newsletter with lesson planning ideas related to current events. Today I referenced the merger between Syrius and XM. But I asked students to consider hwo people will access music in fifteen years. Certainly some people will make their own music. But Will, to be honest, sometimes I like being a consumer. Sometimes I like sitting down in front of the television and watching a really stupid television show or going to a movie theater and just wanting to be entertained. What’s going to happen to professional productions as more and more people become “prosumers”?
David Jakes says
“And how nice that would be if she had some support to do that from the teachers at her school.”
As much as I hate to say it, having students make videos for YouTube is not even in the consciousness of the teachers I work with. And its not that we haven’t tried-we’ve done a lot of storytelling but those efforts have stalled now. I see now what I’ve always seen, and that means I see what we’ve always done. Maybe we need a new Instructional Technology Coordinator…
I think back to the MACUL conference in Grand Rapids two years ago when two third graders pulled me over in the exhibit hall to show me what they were doing with technology. They were podcasting with GarageBand, and very excited about it. As I was walking away, proud parents were videotaping all this, and I couldn’t help thinking, well, when they get to high school we’ll take all this creativity, energy and enthusiasm and turn them into note-takers.
I hope your daughter makes movies her entire life, and I look forward to seeing her first.