This week's Do Now Round Up focuses on one particular Storify project from Berkeley High School's Arts & Humanities Academy Fall 2012 Senior Interdisciplinary Project. For their final papers, students were assigned to explore the multiple narratives surrounding a variety of socio-political issues, with particular attention to how these narratives are developed, articulated, and perpetuated. They worked in groups of four and were responsible for first selecting a topic. This did not have to be an issue with a clear pro and con, but students were encouraged to consider topics that seemed to generate completely distinct interpretations based on audience or intention. One of the topics investigated video game violence...which fits perfectly with last week's Do Now. To view the other projects and better understand the assignment, you can access it all from this Storify post.
It may be poignant to add that Amanda Levin, the teacher who facilitated this project, is part of the advisory committee of KQED Do Now. Her students have been active participants in the weekly Do Now conversation. Her Storify assignment is a clear progression from Do Now as her students continue to explore social media as a viable resource for information gathering and distribution.
Today, science demands sophisticated skills not generally taught as part of standard science curricula. Ideally, science instructional strategies teach a body of knowledge and cultivate other abilities required for the practice of science. For example the scientific community values collaboration and teamwork, critical and focused observation, the use of technology for data collection, evaluation of information, and communication skills. All of these skills can be cultivated through the use of media making projects. For this reason, student media-making projects are an excellent way to introduce these 21st century proficiencies.
A good first-step media project to use with students is a narrated slideshow. The programs used to make one are relatively simple and students can either take their own photos or find properly licensed images on the web in addition to using their own voice to narrate the story. KQED has developed a new tool for educators to assist in the understanding of how to create a slideshow as well as the implementation of such a project in the science classroom.
Do you think creative, funny internet memes could be considered artwork? If not, how you would categorize them? Describe one of your favorites and/or send us a link to it.
All over the internet, "People are creating images and sharing them with strangers for the purpose of communicating their personal experiences." Art takes many forms, and PBS's new web video series, Idea Channel, poses an intriguing question in this recent episode about memes and art. The internet offers an opportunity to share individually-crafted punch lines and images on a global scale, but what do we call this act of creation? Art? Jokes? Procrastination fodder? Or all of the above? In contemporary art, successful works are not necessarily made by hand or even tangible—making a visual representation of an idea, whether it goes viral or not, is a creative act.
This week, KQED's Arts & Media education team descended upon the University of California's Arts, Media & Entertainment curriculum institute (UCCI), which "brings together educators from around the state to collaborate on the creation of model high school courses that anchor traditional academic learning in real-world experience."
We are working with teachers, observing their curriculum design sessions, and sharing resources and tools for integrating media-rich projects into their courses, which cover a range of topics including media production, theater, and writing.
Caitlin Barry poses an important question about using media and technology in the classroom in her article in the Huffington Post, Defining 'Media Literacy’ (2/7/12). Her question hinges on the skill-set we seek to offer students through the integration of media and media making in the curriculum.
“Most teachers want to do cool activities with their students, and many schools are getting the funding to deck classrooms out with everything a teacher could need. The problem is not with the teachers, but with the very definition of 'media literacy' itself. What is it, really?”
In addition to the practical skills of digital competency, a key component of media literacy is about managing the digital world, making sense of the deluge of information available online. How do educators help students to develop the critical thinking skills needed to negotiate this constant stream of information coming from everywhere and nowhere? What is important and what is trivial? Who should they trust? What should they dismiss?
Thinking about the type of media message can offer a useful starting point for students. Are they viewing factual information, news, personal opinion, a blog post, gossip, advertising or some combination of any of these? Is the distinction clear? Secondly mining the source of the message offers context and frames a “search savvy” mindset. Where/who does it come from and what does that tell us? KQED MindShift offers good advice in 12 Ways to Be More Search Savvy which outlines strategies for examining sources.
For example, “On the site Who.is, searchers can find details about the source: where it’s located, when it was established, and the IP address.” (MindShift, 12/27/11). But then there are open source sites like Wikipedia - can students trust Wikipedia as a reliable source? “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.”(Wikipedia’s vision) Information can be accessed and re-written by anyone at any time, and not necessarily checked for accuracy.
The golden rule is not to rely on a single source, but to compare and contrast different sites and sources to determine credibility and the factual basis of information. This is especially important when doing research.
In addition there is value in thinking about the source in terms of intention. All information, including factual information is presented through the lens of interpretation. No thinking person is without bias or purpose in organizing information or framing an argument. How are the so called “facts” colored by the bias of the author? Training students to identify sources, personal agendas and differing perspectives is important. Edutopia'sNews Literacy: How to Teach Students to Search Smart offers useful tips for evaluating news, although many of the strategies listed apply to navigating the online world more broadly.
Media literacy builds this questioning skill-set, challenging us to go beyond the simple search, the string of factoids and hyperlinks, to critically engage with information at a deeper level. As Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University explains: We are not only what we read,” …“We are how we read.”
One of the most common questions that I encounter during media production trainings with educators is, "Am I allowed to use copyrighted material in my project?" From using John Williams' classic "dark side" theme music in Star Wars for the opening credits of a digital story about the Hayward Fault to bringing in an excerpt from Ken Burns' Jazz… to even using random images found in a Google search, the kinds of uses I hear range in a variety of ways… but the question is consistent: Can I use this?
The concern is serious for educators who do not want to get in trouble with their school administrators or perhaps the district office. They also want to be able to tell their students clearly what the rules are and prepare them for a future of media authoring with ethical practices.
Copyright law has several features that permit quotations from copyrighted works without permission or payment, under certain conditions. Fair use is the most important of these features.
So what is considered Fair Use?
Copyright law does not exactly specify how to apply fair use, and that gives the fair use doctrine a flexibility that works to the advantage of users. Creative needs and practices differ with the field, with technology, and with time. Rather than following a specific formula, lawyers and judges decide whether an unlicensed use of copyrighted material is "fair" according to a "rule of reason."
Here's a great video from the Center for Social Media's website that explains fair use for media literacy educators --
In review, The Center of Social Media explains the importance of examining the use of each piece of copyrighted material by asking two key questions:
• Did the unlicensed use "transform" the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?
• Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?
If the answers to these two questions are "yes," a court is likely to find a use fair. Because that is true, such a use is unlikely to be challenged in the first place.
KQED and California Academy of Sciences have joined forces again to present a second module of Science Lab! Eighteen dedicated San Francisco educators answered our ad and met at Cal Academy on November 8 to start session one
KQED's Science Lab is a free series of workshops designed to support K -3 educators integrate media and technology in the classroom to enrich teaching and learning science.
This Science Lab blog is our space to:
Share comments and reflect on the way digital media is impacting education
Provide highlights of each session and class assignments
Recommend free online PBS and KQED educational media resources to enrich science instruction
Offer strategies on how to use media in the classroom as an effective teaching tool
Offer free and easy-to-use ideas on how to use video and audio podcasting with young learners
Read interviews with Cal Academy's Ed team, SF educators and others!
Shout out to Cal Academy! We are grateful to the museum for hosting six sessions on site and allowing us to use the exhibits as our learning lab. Cal Academy's education team, Helena and Sarah, know science and more importantly, know how to make it fun in the classroom! That's why KQED Education is proud to partner with California Academy of Sciences.
Check out this video that provides an overview of Science Lab.
Hush! Hear that? Silence in the Steinhart Aquarium November 8, 2011
When visiting the museum, teachers are accustomed to noise and lots of it, usually the sounds of excited school children darting from exhibit to exhibit screaming about the cool and mysterious animals they see.
But for Science Lab teachers who have access to the Steinhart Aquarium after hours, the museum is quite a different experience. Being surrounded by leafy sea dragons and sharks without the chatter of second-graders makes studying these creatures a peaceful and hypnotic experience.
In session one, teachers were given time to start the science inquiry process by plopping themselves before an exhibit to observe, notice and wonder. Modeling these first few steps and validating student’s interests does wonders to build enthusiasm and curiosity for a topic.
Q1: What was the most interesting observation you've made at the Steinhart Aquarium?
What's In Your Digital Toolbox? November 15, 2011
Do you remember the 8mm film projector, overhead projector, pencil sharpener as the most important pieces of technology in your classroom? Or did you just Google 8mm film projector?
Digital media and technology have shifted the way educators teach and the way students learn. While many classrooms are fortunate to have a working computer and internet access, not every teacher uses it to its full potential. There are certain skills and confidence a teacher must have in order to use digital media and technology effortlessly and productively in the classroom. And in each school there seems to be a 'digital-divide' between tech savvy teachers and non-tech savvy ones. However, most educators, tech-savvy or not, are aware that the teaching practice must shift as a whole and mirror how students are learning and accessing information.
Q2: How are you, as a teacher, making changes to your teaching practice with the onset of digital media tools such as video, audio podcasts, blogs, etc? What equipment, knowledge and training is needed for everyone to add to their digital toolbox?
Flip Video Tutorial November 15, 2011
Below, is a four part video educast series on how to use FlipShare, the video editing program that comes with the Flip Camera. Each section will take you through a particular part of the process. Part 1 is a general overview of the application's interface along with an explanation of how to download the software from the camera to your computer. Part 2 covers how to save a video from the camera to your computer. Part 3 explains how to make simple trims or edits to a single video. And finally, part 4 overviews how to compile more than one video to create a movie with text and music. To navigate through the four videos, you have to click on the icon on the bottom of the frame that looks like a TV monitor -- it is located to the left of the plus sign (+).
Video produced by Matthew Williams
A Passion for Penguins November 15, 2011
What do penguins do all day? How often have you pondered that question?
The Cal Academy’s Live Penguin Cam is where you'll find your answer. The 24-hr real-time video footage focuses on the African Penguins located in African Hall at the museum. In session two of Science Lab, Sarah led the teachers through the guided inquiry process to find out what activities these penguins do during a certain time of day. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of action when we observed the penguins’ behavior, unless you consider the state of resting mesmerizing.
We used the ethogram or observation data sheet that Sarah created to tally the activities of these penguins in 30-second intervals. Create your own ethogram to collect data on your testable question.
Did you know that an African Penguin:
is monogamous and returns with their mate to the same nesting site every year?
male and female share the responsibility for incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks?
lives 15 -20 years in the wild, often longer in captivity? (The oldest penguin at the Academy,Pierre, is 28.)
Read KQED QUEST's blog post to learn more about Pierre and why he needed a wetsuit! Also, check out the video on PBS LearningMedia to learn more about penguins. You'll find another reason to develop a passion for penguins.
Q3: In what way could you use a live web cam, such as Cal Academy's Penguin Cam, in the classroom to enrich science learning?
A Look at Leafy Sea Dragons at Steinhart Aquarium
November 29, 2011
SF Science Lab FY11 participants LayLay and Sue teamed up to present their final digital media presentation on the leafy sea dragons of Steinhart Aquarium. Check out how they navigated through their learning process using open inquiry and investigated the movement of these beautiful sea creatures.
Prediction vs. Hypothesis
by Helena Carmena
November 29, 2011
Through science inquiry, students experience their natural sense of wonder. The observations they make lead to questions, and these self-generated questions spark the interest to do research! Students learn more about the subject of interest through watching media, reading books, talking to a scientist, or poring over websites. Some of the questions may not be easy to answer by doing research but they could possibly be testable with appropriate planning.
Deciding on a question to investigate can be challenging. The study would need to be feasible, meaningful, not too big, and not too small. The question would be one they could realistically answer themselves through careful experimentation or making observations over time.
In the Investigation and Experimentation standards, students are required to make “predictions” to predict a future event. This is good practice to prepare students to later make a “research hypothesis” in the upper grade levels.
A prediction is only part of a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a tentative, testable, and falsifiable explanation for an observed phenomenon in nature. A “research hypothesis” is written with several different components:
If (hypothesis) and (method) ….then (prediction). See the example below:
If…salmon find their home stream by sight (sight hypothesis), and…a group of non-blindfolded salmon and a group of blindfolded salmon from the Issaquah and East Fork streams are released below the fork where the two streams join (planned test), then…the non-blindfolded salmon should be recaptured in their home stream more frequently than the blindfolded salmon (prediction).
Hypothesis writing can be challenging, but is an essential tool for keeping students (and scientists!) focused on exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it. Due to the complexity of writing hypotheses, we focus on writing predictions in the younger grade levels. As you can see, it is important to give opportunities to students so they can practice asking meaningful questions and making thoughtful predictions.
Want Free Access to Thousands of Educational Media?
December 5, 2011
PBS launched PBS LearningMedia, a digital media resource web site, to bring the best of public media content together in one place. PreK - 16 educators can access tens of thousands of digital resources designed for and aligned to core standards for classroom instruction. Create an account today at www.pbslearningmedia.org and start searching for digital resources to enrich the classroom learning experience.
Check out this slide show to help you learn more about this valuable teacher resource.
ITVS, KQED, SFFS and BAVC present: Media Innovators in Education
The Bay Area is rich in media creators and technologists and a hot bed of media innovation in the classroom. The area's leading non-profit media organizations are coming together to honor educators in our community who are using media to enhance learning in new ways.
Join us for a showcase of exciting educational media being created and used in the Bay Area. You'll hear from educators who are doing cool things with media and find out about the unique educational media resources each organization has to offer.
We'll provide wine, hors d'oeuvres, media demos and goodie bags chock full o' free media resources for you to start off the school year.
A mixer and show-and-tell for educators who want to teach with media (or already do)
Thursday, September 8
2948 16th Street
Annelise Wunderlich at annelise_wunderlich@ITVS.org