Multimedia for Social Change

Liz and Jason’s Presentation
May 4, 2011, 10:15 am
Filed under: Reflections

Aprendamos Presentation


Liz – Project Update and Reflection on Mobile Activism Research
April 20, 2011, 9:26 am
Filed under: Reflections

Project update:

This is the last week of Aprendamos, and the projects are pretty much done! Right now the students are taking cameras home to take pictures of the aspects of their community that they discussed in class, and hopefully they’ll relate it to the posters they drew:

I wish we got to use MapLib in the classroom or at least a desktop program to let them annotate their maps, but we didn’t have time. So instead, we did the project in pieces:

  • drawing the posters
  • writing descriptions of them on notecards
  • typing up the descriptions on the computer
  • taking pictures of the parts of their communities that are represented in the posters

And then we can put those pieces together and still put it on MapLib for the students and their parents to see.

Mobile Activism Research

Ubiquitous Information – Mobile Phones in the Classroom

This research studied mobile phone use in primary and secondary school classrooms in New Zealand, and the key finding was that students enjoyed using the phones and thought they could be useful, but only if used in a very structured way.

Here’s something that reminded me of the elementary school we’ve been going to:

“Students saw the biggest advantage in using the internet via the mobile phone being that sites were not blocked by the school system. One of the features most appreciated by Year 12 was the ability to view YouTube videos” (33).

The complete lack of internet access in my class was definitely a problem, but even Jason’s class had difficulty using the internet just because of all the blocked websites, YouTube in particular.

I wonder if using cell phones would solve any of those problems. There are some major roadblocks for us, though. I doubt the parents and teachers would approve of using cell phones in class.

The study found that even a lot of the students themselves didn’t think cell phones could be useful for education, and that they were just for text messaging. That was a surprise to me! In fact, the older students in the study all decided they preferred not to use the cell phones by the end of their semester. The younger students all loved using the cell phones, on the other hand — perhaps because they didn’t have as many preconceptions about what cell phones are useful for?

I defnitely think IDEPSCA can get more use out of cell phones, though. They’re already using Mobile Voices (which we all got to learn about last week!), but I know they want to find more uses for it in more of their programs. For Aprendamos, at least, I think using cell phones could be interesting if used sparingly, or maybe just as a way for students to engage in learning after class is over.

Liz – Updated Timeline and Reflection on Yesterday
April 6, 2011, 12:14 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Updated Timeline

Note: the in-class tasks are specific to the class I’m working with, and Jason has seperate tasks in his timeline for his class projects.

Deadline Task/Deliverable
Thursday April 7th
  • Students type up map descriptions, fix up map posters, and take photos at home to add to maps.
  • Liz: take home posters to scan
  • Meet for ~30 minutes with Mariella, discuss website plan, internet access followup
Monday April 11th
  • Deliverable: MapLib tutorial document with screenshots, and plan for using MS Paint if no internet.
Tuesday April 12th
  • Students annotate posters on MapLib OR with MS Paint
Thursday April 14th
  • Students continue work on projects
Tuesday April 19th
  • Students discuss projects
Thursday April 21th
  • Wrap-up, last day of Aprendamos session
Friday April 29th
  • Staff meeting. Deliverable: a plan for Aprendamos website or an updated website.
May 4th
  • Deliverable: embedded students project examples online.
  • Deliverable: class presentation
  • DONE: Deliverable: Grant proposal. (Submitted April 1st)

Reflection on Yesterday

In my class yesterday, as soon as I took out my laptop I was surrounded by a mob of students trying to guess my Windows password! They were so into it, too! They asked me for hints, so I told them it was 8 characters (letters or numbers) long. One of the students even went so far as to write down a list of random combinations and kept asking me if each one was my password, lol. Leave it to an elementary school student to try brute forcing on paper. That would’ve been a perfect opportunity for a little math lesson on permutations, but I didn’t remember enough about it. 😦 But I was surprised at just how engaged the students were. They even asked me about it an hour later during their recess!

During the second half of our class, Jason came by and we split the students up into groups, each supervised by one of us and each sharing a laptop. The students started to type up descriptions of the parts of their posters and how they represented aspects of their communities. That went pretty well, except for one student in my group who kept trying to find the keyboard shortcut to close the program. But they were all pretty interested in using my laptop, and actually fought over who got the next turn to type. Some of the students said they had a computer at home, while others didn’t. The difference was very clear. One girl was typing fairly quickly using both hands, while two of the other students, who didn’t have computers at home, typed using one index finger, hunting for each key.

That got me wondering… if their school doesn’t really have a computer lab, when will the students learn typing techniques? When will they learn all the basics of using a computer? And what about ergonomics, like how to sit at the computer and how often to take breaks? That’s something that even my private elementary school with multiple computer labs didn’t teach. I really wish it had.

I wish I could just buy a bunch of laptops and give them to every student there! I wish I could just fix everything! I’d really like to at least get the chance to share more computer tips with the students, though. Like a fun Computers 101 mini-class. 🙂 Maybe over the summer, when Jason and I continue working with Aprendamos.

Liz: An Update on This Week
March 31, 2011, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Reflections

So on Tuesday (the 29th), Jason and I were co-teachers with Aprendamos again. Jason’s class seems to be going much better, which I’m very happy about! My class, on the other hand, was particularly hyper that day. O_O And I mean hyper. Kids were hiding from the teacher, poking each other with pointing sticks, shouting profanities, and screaming “Be quiet!” at the top of their lungs (as if that really worked).

But the good news is they have started on a project, which consisted of drawing posters about the topic of community using metaphors of plants, the human body, and the solar system. So next Tuesday, my plan A is to upload those posters to MapLib and have the students annotate them. Plan B is to annotate them in a desktop image editor like MS Paint or Paint.NET.

The reason I need a Plan B is because the class I’m with doesn’t have any computers, unlike Jason’s class. And according to someone at the school, we may or may not be able to use their wireless internet if we bring laptops, and even if we manage to get that working, a lot of websites are blocked and we wouldn’t be able to get them unblocked! I was very sad to hear that all the public schools in LA block YouTube and basically all social media websites. Oh well.

Based on the feedback we got in class yesterday, Jason and I are going to start making tutorials on how to use the websites for our lesson plans, so we can give it to the other teachers in case they want to use it during this session — and so the teachers we’re working with have an easy reference for using it on the days we can’t be there!

Thanks to everybody for the feedback on our project. It was fun seeing how everyone’s projects have developed so much! (And it makes me feel a bit better to know that our project isn’t the only one that changed a lot from our original plan.) 🙂

Liz and Jason updated timeline
March 30, 2011, 10:13 am
Filed under: Reflections

April 1st: submit grant proposal

before April 4th: Liz: scan student posters

** start making how-to document of lesson plan aimed at Aprendamos teachers

April 4th: Liz: uploading posters to maplib (if internet available) OR: image editing with posters
Jason: work on Voicethread project

April 11th (last week of project): Liz: annotating the maps on maplib OR continue work with image editing
Jason: work on Dipity timeline project

April 12th: update Aprendamos website (small changes only)

April 15th: present website changes at staff meeting

by April 18th: upload example project pictures / descriptions to Aprendamos site

April 18th: wrap-up week, have students discuss projects
Jason: work on and wrap up Dipity timeline project

by May 4th: make class presentation, plan for summer with Aprendamos

– Grant proposal
– how-to for lesson plans
– examples of student work on Aprendamos website

Liz’s Week 10 Reflection: Youth Media
March 26, 2011, 4:44 pm
Filed under: Reflections

The Readings and the Class

The Digital Youth Project White Paper highlights one of the things that irks me about education in the traditional classroom. Learning online, “the outcome emerges through exploration, in contrast to classroom learning that is oriented toward set, predefined goals” (2). I never liked having goals set for me. I wanted to learn what I needed to learn, but not always how or when I was supposed to. I get the feeling that a lot of the students at Aprendamos feel more or less the same way. When I interviewed a few of them, they all understood the importance of education and they all wanted to do well in school. But most of them also said they didn’t like school.

The open-endedness of learning online is probably what I find most exciting about it, because engagement is almost guranteed when you have the chance to set your own goals and then meet them, and when you can let those goals evolve based on what you learn from random exploration. Like Tina pointed out in class last Wednesday, if you forced students to write fan fictions isntead of essays, they probably wouldn’t be much happier. So it’s not the content that makes learning online more engaging, it’s the freedom that comes with it.

Hackasaurus is a good example of learning through exploration and just messing around. It seems like a potentially useful tool once they work out some of the bugs. 🙂 When I first started messing around with making websites, I would just right-click every page I liked and go to “View Source” and figure things out from there.

It was a pretty geeky activity, but like the white paper pointed out, it was also a social activity because I had to ask questions on forums, which meant interacting with people who shared an interest. And of course I shared my websites with all my friends.

The Project

Working with Aprendamos has been fun, though sometimes challenging, especially when co-teaching the 5th grade class on Tuesdays. Sometimes the students don’t want to be there or don’t want to particiapte, and sometimes they just want to run around screaming! But since starting some group work last week, the class has reportedly become a bit more focused. Giving them something to do with their hands seems to help a lot, rather than having them sit still and just discuss topics. Most of the students really like drawing and coloring, so their teacher has incorporated more of that into the class.

This Tuesday I’m going to bring my laptop and try to find out if I can access the internet there. Then I’ll make plans to check out a few laptops from USC to bring the following Tuesday, so they can play around with MapLib if that’s what their teacher still wants to do. I need to figure out a way to discuss the lesson plans with him some more, but I know he’s really busy. Maybe I’ll get a chance to talk to him after his class on Tuesday if he doesn’t get back to me before then. Hmmm… Just wingin’ it. 🙂 But some sort of project will definitely be done, one way or another!

March 8, 2011, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Reflections

I also commented on Making the Case for Fan Fiction on the Civics, Popular Media, & Participatory Culture blog. The gist of my comment: a rant about why fanfiction is not a waste of time and how fanfiction is more than nerdy ramblings posted on the internet.