Rationale for Students CREATING Media:

Many teachers do not feel comfortable giving their students the reins to create their own media in the classroom. I am here to dispute that. Students need to be empowered in their educations. They need to feel involved, and be made aware that what they are doing matters. What better way can we do this for our students, then letting them actually create something?
Renee Hobbs touches on this subject, in her chapter in the book Digital and Media Literacy, in the chapter titled “Create”. She reminds teachers that they can allow students to create a short, structured media project. The teacher can still give instruction, and have parameters the students need to meet. They are not losing any control in the classroom, and that is what I believe a lot of teachers are afraid of if they allow their students to create. She suggests making a “why” video. “This video must be only 90 seconds and has to answer the question why, in a way that demonstrates creativity and imagination.” (Hobbs, 2011, 87) She goes through the stages of production, preproduction; brainstorming, production; creating, and postproduction; editing. Being an English teacher, this process should ring a bell. It looks like the writing process.
Another resource I have come across in my research towards letting students create media in the classroom is a book called A Teachers Guide to Digital Media in the Classroom, by Ted Lai. Lai’s book is one of the most useful books I have come across. It lays out lessons plans and shows teachers exactly how students can create media in a meaningful way in the classroom. This book is supported by Mac, and specifically shows teachers how to use programs such as iTunes, iMovie, pages, and iLife. This book is available for iPhone and E-book as well as a paper copy. The book has so many resources for teachers who do not understand how to use these programs themselves, and therefore cannot teach them. The book comes with teachers website, which includes a training program, teaching them how to use everything, and also how to teach it to students in the secondary classroom. It also has a blog like atmosphere, where student tutorial are given, discussion posts are made available, and ideas are shared across the board. Lai stresses the importance of using different forms of media all together in the classroom. For example, one of the lesson plans described in the book has students using iMovie. They record themselves reading a poem that the created. They can add music from iTunes, and pictures from iphoto. (Lai, 2008, pp 1-42) This is such an easy excellent way to get students into poetry.
By letting students create their own media we open the door to their creativity. They will explore means of their education that hey once would not touch, because they are working within a form that is important to them. They feel more connected to us, and therefore give us as teachers much more respect.

Create A Podcast Public Service Announcement:

Students are always empowered when you let them have a choice in what they will be doing in school. Especially when it is a topic that they are interested in. Many teenage students now a day feel strongly about a specific issue or topic in society today. A public service announcement is a short, usually thirty-second video, or radio announcement, trying to persuade a specific audience to do, or not to do something. They can range from alcohol awareness ads, above the influence drug ads, suicide awareness, food safety, teen pregnancy and so on.

By creating a public service announcement of their own students will be able to take an issue that they feel passionate about and make the rest of their classmates aware of this issue. They will research and find valid information about this topic. Examples can be found on YouTube, or even searching ITunes Podcasts. Students can do this project with other students in a small group of two of three or do the project individually. They will explore avenues such as how tone influences audience, how image and description can evoke emotion in people, and how to make a precise persuasive argument.

This activity would be a great segue into teaching persuasive essays. It will hook your student’s interest by getting on their level and showing interest in them by using their means of communication. Understanding of how to make a good persuasive argument will blossom from this activity, and students will not feel bored or uninterested in the topic. There does not need to be expensive or abstract technology to create this. A simple computer, phone, or recorder will do the job.

Create A Webpage

The Internet is an ever-growing way of not only communication, but also information and entertainment for students. In the English classroom, creating a webpage is a good way of integrating a number of technologies in the classroom. Use of image software’s, music, and writing can be incorporated into the one project.

An excellent aspect of creating a webpage I that it can be used with any topic you chose as a teacher. For example, you could make a page on a how to, do a book review, or make a fact based informational page. Students will always be into getting alone and creating something of their own. Yet another way students can be empowered by creating media in the classroom.

Another positive aspect of students creating their own webpage is that there are so many different ways and different types of ages that they can make. The teacher can set up a class wiki, and each student can have an individual page to contribute to. The new website glogster.com allows students to have a specific education website of their own. They can from the site add their own graphics, video, text, and audio. Face book also allows students to not only create a page of their own, but also allow other students to comment and add to their work.

Of course there are always obstacles t overcome with letting students having access to the Internet during class time. The school should have an access block to inappropriate websites, and when using face book the teacher needs to be there to facilitate the comments and who can be allowed in the groups.

Record A Song

Especially pertinent to the English classroom, writing a song can be a great way for students to experiment with their own writing style. Different types of genres can let students have the freedom to express themselves as young writers. The can do a “band” song, with other students and work in a group, or a “solo” and write their own. This is a great way to introduce students to poetry. Many boys especially and city kids will appreciate this activity. They can write a rap, a country song, a pop song, or even a slow love song. They do not need to feel they need to perform their song, but they should be given the opportunity f they would like to. This would give them the chance to practice public speaking as well as writing in a fun manner.

A relevant way of incorporating this into an English class curriculum would be for students to take a them they have read about of been studying in class, and write a song either following that theme, or even contrasting the theme. This would truly enhance the curriculum and show that students had a firm grasp of understand on the theme that they are studying because they would have to incorporate ideas of their own into them, and use words to make the themes flow.

The students can then think of the tone they want to convey to their audience by thinking of things like what cadence they would use, or what instrument that they would use along with the words. Another idea is that they could use a beat from a previous song and put their own words into it, and explain ho the meaning had changed by changing the words in the song. This could help students to understand how word choice directly dictates meaning.

Works Cited:

Hobbs, Renee. (2011) Digital and Media Literacy Connecting Culture and Classroom. p. 87. Corwin. California.

Lai, Ted. (2008) A Teachers Guide to Digital Media in the Classroom. pp1-142.