Technology meets demonstration of knowledge. In the past students have completed tasks for the final that included examination of information that we have covered throughout the course. This was done through a variety of writing assignments. This year I wanted to try something new. Students worked on creating their final video projects that demonstrated their knowledge of events that we weren't able to cover in class.
The twist is they had to do it in a Forrest Gump style video. Students created a timeline of the 10 most important events describing what they were and why they were important by analyzing the lasting legacy of the events. They then created a 5-10 minute video where they showcased their understanding of the events. This video was to include a story similar to Forrest Gump where he recalls his experiences during these incredible historical events. Students were to utilize a video capture software called screencast O'Matic, but other chose other methods. The technology wasn't as important as the final product.
I wanted to include the final products students created in World History. There are some great examples of creativity. We wrapped up the year with presentations of these projects.
This was my first attempt at this activity, so there are some great examples of content and storytelling, some examples of good content, and some that could be better. In the end that is what happens when you attempt new things where students don't have examples to use as a baseline. There is also the issue of time, how much time do you give, for some it seems there is too much time, others, not enough. In the end I enjoyed the activity, and think the students did as well. They were excited to see each other's work.
Final note of the presentations before I forget- To keep them all engaged, I asked everyone to fill out feedback sheets for each video presentation. Students were asked to provide constructive critiques of the work of their peers. I asked them to include at least 3 positive things and 2 areas for improvement. We then shared out these ideas. Sometimes students volunteered, other times I randomly called upon audience members. Each time we discussed the presentation in terms of the rubric I provided for them. It was a powerful piece of learning. Students were provided immediate feedback not only from me, but their peers. They were able to hear what others thought, as well as see their work in relation to that of their classmates. The really cool thing is the students in the audience were in line with my ideas for feedback for the most part. At times they had deeper insights about things they liked, or ways to express their critiques that was meaningful and reflective.
With some tweaks, I will use this lesson again. It may or may not be an end of the year task, but it definitely is a great activity to allow students to create something more meaningful than a MC test.