“There are a ton of these out there.” That was my first response when watching this North Texas, student-produced video. But there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact I would suggest that more classes create, craft, and produce message commercials — but not so much for the world as for their local community. I wish someone would do it here so that our school board might get their heads in the right place and out of their …
Did I say that out loud?
What made me decide to post this was the initial teacher blog post. It is followed (reading up) by reflective articles from students. Here’s the text of the initial post and a link to the video (YouTube) and the blog.
As a teacher, I’ve always believed my job is to pose questions, not answer them. Fittingly, this whole project began because of a question. The class was reading Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” and the students were wrestling with a seemingly simple question: Could children, using the internet, have a dramatic impact on the world around them? Could they influence public opinion, and make a mark on their world?
Perhaps I should’ve seen what was coming, but it still caught me off-guard. Their question to me was simple enough, though: “Can we try it?”
It did seem the simplest way to settle the question, and so began the greatest experimental education project I’ve ever had the privilege of leading. The scope of our project was mind-boggling. First, figure out the most pervasive internet message-spreading tools. Then, determine the best way to harness them to our advantage. Next, craft our message such that it will spread as best as it possibly can, and finally, prepare all the supporting tools, media, and gear required for such a huge endeavor. I never imagined the variety of tasks that would be required:
- Negotiating with principals for space/allowances
- Negotiating with the district for extra desks and props
- Contacting websites, publishers, recording industries
- Researching all kinds of legalities about Fair Use
You name it, we probably did it. Here’s the best part, though: We had to get the entire thing done and released in four months, using no more than two hours a day, five days a week.
What follows is the account of that adventure – the highs and lows, good moments and bad, through the eyes of the incredible students who made this project happen. If I am to be credited for this, let it only be as the organizer or the conductor of the symphony. The students were the talented musicians who crafted this masterpiece.