Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Slides + YouTube = Infomercials 2 Inspire

In 2008 I finished my 1st Masters degree and the during the exit defense of my portfolio I was questioned about the image below. The image was created by me as a visual reminder of a quote from Robert DuFour's "Failure is NOT an Option."

The sign reads: "Veterinarian & Taxidermist"
The slogan reads: "Either way; you get your pet back!"

Let that marinate..............................


I interpret the meaning of this sign to apply to education. Our kids are enrolled into our system of learning for over a decade and in the spring of their 12th year the family and our community gets those kids back as young adults. 

Question that motivates me is HOW and WHO am I returning to the world after they experience my learning experiences and environment for a year... Was I the veterinarian that healed and empowered them?!! Or was I the taxidermist that returned a shell that was hollow on the inside and ill prepared to succeed in our world? 

The learning experiences we provide MAKE A DIFFERENCE to the student. Not all assignments must fit into these standardized boxes for assessment. We can choose to expose and sharpen a skill that aligns with a standard in a relevant way. Rigor does not have to sacrificed at all. 

Students are social media natives. Most students are GAFE savvy. Many teachers are making the empowered choice to learn and implement GAFE tools. For this post I wanted to show a very simple example that I implemented after being inspired by my wife (English and Reading teacher at Naperville Central).

The lesson was designed for my AP Environmental Science class. The objective was to communicate how the current economy must change in order to be more sustainable for future generations regarding materials (matter) and energy. My assessment was very straightforward:

  • Critical Thinking: evidence the student connected the concepts from the book "Cradle 2 Cradle" to the objective
  • Creativity: generation of an infomercial (informative commercial) that markets their plan for change
  • Communication: evidence that the message of the student resonates with the viewer/reader
  • Collaboration: infomercials shared via a published hyperlink so that all other students can view and comment. 
Slides is a simple presentation tool. I asked students to use slides as their tool and after creating their slides to publish them to the web so that Google Slides would convert their presentation into a url that can be shared and viewed over social media and more! GET THEIR MESSAGE OUT:)

There are many other (and better tools for this) tools to create audiovisual messages but they tend to require a little bit of instructional time on how to use. My students know Slides so that is what we went with. Some kids wanted to add music to further engage the viewer... great idea!

So, we used YouTube to find the music that would play in the background of the published slide show. As you view the examples below be sure to:

1. click hyperlink to music 
2. open slide show and start it
3. open your mind and let the messages sink in

All student infomercials link

Students can share via a link in Twitter or Tumblr.... http://goo.gl/dGlgbt  

Or Students can embed their infomercial on their blog or website....