Whether it's a journalistic article, a mood piece, an audio recording, a video shoot, or a commercial, teachers have been producing media productions with their students for a long time. However, the possibilities are multiplying as the means of production become simpler and technologies offer new opportunities for dissemination. Over time, the student newspaper, published on paper, has given way to the blog; student radio has become a podcast. And what about video production? No need to carry an arsenal of cameras and wires to make a short film! A simple smartphone can now suffice in many cases.
These media-based projects have the potential to motivate students for a variety of reasons. Not only are they put into action, but they must also call upon their creative and critical thinking skills, their resourcefulness and their sense of organization. Teamwork is usually on the agenda. And if they can also choose the theme on which they will work, then they will be delighted because they will be able to put their knowledge to good use.
"Creating media is a way to allow students who don't often have the opportunity to excel to show what they can do. Students who struggle on traditional assessments, or for whom they show no interest, can thrive when they have the chance to work with a medium that interests them and communicate in a language that is meaningful to them. Creating media serves as a link between the classroom and the world students live in when they are not in school," also believes Matthew Johnson, Director of Education at HabiloMediaCanada's leading media education organization.
Moreover, the democratization of technology has also opened the door to new opportunities for dissemination. Thus, when students can disseminate their creations on the Web, this has an additional effect on their commitment to the task. There is no question of producing only for "the school" or their parents: a real public could come into contact with their productions, comment on them, and even share them, in some cases. In doing so, they become creators in the digital world rather than just consumers of content. Isn't that exciting?
As a teacher, however, it can be unsettling to begin a media production with students. HabiloMédias' research In fact, the research shows that "most Canadian teachers do not create media in the classroom. Yet media creation is one of the most challenging activities for students.
Where to start? Which tool to use? How to disseminate the achievements? How to evaluate them? In this dossier, we would like to answer these questions. In passing, we take the opportunity to address the essential issue of media literacy. Indeed, media production also means searching for information, citing sources and being aware of the quality of the information transmitted.
The range of media products that young people can create is vast: blogs, podcasts, videos, music, websites, applications, video games, etc. We will limit ourselves to blogs, podcasts and videos in this issue. However, you will see that the starting point is generally the same and that there are many similarities in the process. Finally, the dissemination of the productions is always a source of pride for the students. It's enough to make them want to do it again!
- The starting point
- The need for media literacy
- The school blog
- The video
1. The starting point
Creative media can be applied from kindergarten through high school (grade 12) and beyond! It can be used to assess student learning in all subjects. Indeed, media is relevant to all subjects and all age groups. It is simply a matter of adapting the tasks to be completed and the scope of the project to the grade level.
Digital media production is a good way for students to gain knowledge on a variety of topics while developing their digital literacy.
Every time, media production allows us to work on several dimensions of digital competence:
- content production,
- information culture,
- technological skills,
The educational intention
As with any school project, it should begin with an educational intent. It is not about doing "one more" project with the students, but about using the media project to address a topic that has been planned.
In addition, you can also refer to the framework for categorizing educational objectives, Bloom's taxonomyThis will guide you in setting up the learning sequence to be carried out by the students. This will help you determine your objectives.
The rubric can be constructed from the content elements you wish to see in the production. This is not a contest of technical skill and the work does not have to be professional (it may be good to remind students who may be tempted to strive for perfection). Creativity and originality can also be part of the evaluation criteria. If it is an audio or video production, do you want to assess speaking? Alternatively, you may wish to have students create a work plan and evaluate it.
It may be worthwhile to build the rubric around a successful example that you can review in detail with the students. In fact, it is always inspiring (and reassuring) for students to be able to look at examples (or even counter-examples) of productions already made, whether by other students or by professionals.
It is essential to schedule a number of class periods to complete the media production, depending on the scope of the project. All media projects require some planning, especially if you need to borrow equipment (e.g., computer or tablet cart) or set aside time in a room (e.g., creative lab, library) for production. In addition, you may also decide to allow time for students to complete a project at home (e.g., to do recording and editing).
Again, this will help guide the students through the project (e.g., a period for choosing the topic and beginning the research, a period for completing the research, a period for production, etc.). They will be able to better organize their work time.
The choice of tools
"It is not necessarily true that students are more knowledgeable about technology than their teachers; in fact, some studies show exactly the opposite," reads the Classroom Guide, Making Digital Literacy Part of Your Classroom Practice of HabiloMédias.
What is true, however, is that young people quickly learn the basic functions of technology tools. A good practice is to offer a few tools, let students choose which ones they will use, and then reward their comfort level by having them become experts with their peers. Teachers do not have to master all the tools. Many tutorials are available online to learn how to use them. Instead, teachers will guide students in effectively searching for information and resources.
"To conduct a project, instead of teaching how to use a particular video creation tool, I gave students choices. If they wanted to try something, I encouraged them to learn it on their own." confides Matthew Farber, University of Northern Colorado.
Before starting a new project, it is always interesting to discuss it with colleagues. Have any of them already integrated this type of project into their teaching? Or who know of relevant digital tools? Maybe some of them will want to start at the same time as you. You can then experience it together. This way, you can advise each other and learn, just like your students! In addition to being motivating, it is a safe approach for everyone.
There are now all sorts of ways to share your students' productions. There is no reason to keep them private anymore, especially if you don't see the students' faces directly and they don't include personal information. To publish the productions on the Web, we will present different possibilities later in this file. To share them with the community, consider your school's newsletter, social networks (Twitter, Facebook) or even École branchée!
If students are under 13, you may want to create a class account on social media to prevent them from posting themselves. In any case, you can let them post anonymously to avoid embarrassing situations (remember to keep track of the pseudonyms used!).
2. The need for media literacy
Before moving on to the creative aspect of a media production, it is relevant to devote a moment to the informational aspect. Indeed, media production necessarily means researching and organizing information, citing sources and being aware of the quality of the information transmitted. It is not because young people use technology that they are efficient researchers and that they respect copyright. Moreover, it is relevant that they be introduced to the world of the media, which has seen its business model completely transformed with the development of digital technologies.
Researchers Normand Landry and Sonia Lefebvre have already established 5 reasons to get involved in media literacy :
- To develop skills that will enable students to use digital media technologies to their fullest potential and understand how they work;
- To develop in students a critical view of the media, media content, and the actors who produce and distribute this content;
- Promote ethical and responsible conduct with the media, particularly on the Internet and social networks;
- To develop students' information skills, including research and analysis of information;
- Develop skills that will enable students to express themselves and exercise their creativity using media technologies.
The Centre québécois d'éducation aux médias offers, among other things a resource explaining journalistic ethics. This will allow young people to understand the rules that govern the work of the media and that ensure the credibility of journalists. In a context where your students get a lot of information from social networks (not to mention TikTok in particular), it may be relevant to discuss this topic with them. Journalists must be rigorous and ensure that the facts they report are true; young learners will have to do the same in their own productions.
Here are some other resources to guide you:
On the development of information skills
- The urgency of educating the media (issue of École branchée magazine dedicated to the subject)
- Develop your information skills (self-training from Campus RÉCIT)
- Demystifying information skills: planning, searching, evaluating and using information (a file reserved for École branchée magazine subscribers)
- Developing and mobilizing information literacy (an episode of the Digital Plan podcast)
On effective information retrieval
- How to search the Internet efficiently? (HabiloMédias file)
- Identify sources of information (CQÉMI)
- How to authenticate an image? (CQÉMI)
- Tips for checking images online (THE École branchée)
- Doing research can be learned (Martine MottetProfessor of Educational Technology, Faculty of Education, Laval University)
- Interactive guide to copyright in schools (a site of the Centre de services scolaires des Milles-Îles)
- Demystifying copyright applied to digital works in education (a file of the École branchée)
On how to cite sources
- Citation of sources (Laval University)
- Intellectual property: key concepts (HabiloMédias file)
3. The school blog
Writing has always been a part of the school world. What if you suggested that students keep their own online blog or journal?
An example from yesterday
In 2002, Mario Asselin, now a member of the Quebec National Assembly, was principal of Institut Saint-Joseph, a private elementary school in Quebec City, when he has set up a very specific program. Each student in Cycle 3 (grades 5 and 6) had their own blog and published their creations and thoughts publicly. The e-Portfolio Project is featured on Mr. Asselin's blog. "Learning to publish" is still a concept that is dear to him.
An example from today
At Rivière-du-Loup High School, students now publish their school newspaper directly online on a website. In addition to journalistic articles and columns, the INNÉdit also contains podcast interviews and booktubesliterary reviews on video. The three media genres are thus found in the student newspaper! For its part, the student newspaper of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste school in Longueuil is also available online on a Wix platform, just like many others!
A sample activity to complete:
- Writing a newspaper article (HabiloMédias)
- The SCOOP! activity collection by École branchée is full of ideas where media production, including blogging, can act as a backdrop to learning and enrichment.
Tools for blogging
- Google Docs
- Microsoft Word
- Apple Pages
- Can go (for both text and images)
- Spotlight search on iPad
- Self-study Collaborative writing (FRAME21)
With the deployment of digital tools, school radio has given way to podcasting. Although they have much in common, podcasts offer greater creative freedom to young people.
An example from yesterday
In 2010, the Commission scolaire de Montréal encouraged its schools to set up school radio stations and a website had been put online to become a showcase for these projects. "School radio allows for the acquisition of multiple skills and stimulates the curiosity of young people. During their radio activities, students can put into practice educational concepts from their curriculum. Each step of the process calls on the children's creativity: research, writing, oral expression, teamwork, reporting, interviewing, debating, presenting, creating or performing songs and music, radio theater, etc.," the site reads.
An example from today
Mathieu Merciera social studies teacher at the Polyvalente de Rivière-du-Loup, has completed several podcast projects with his junior high school students. He has recently begun creating a series on issues related to the territories studied in Secondary 2 in the Quebec school curriculum. The most recent one deals with access to drinking water in Aboriginal communities in Quebec and Canada. He wrote an article in the winter 2022-2023 issue of École branchée magazine on this topic: The podcast as a tool for raising awareness of social issues.
Examples of activities to carry out
Work on the territory at risk by addressing the issues and measures put in place to counter them, as well as the characteristics related to natural hazards in connection with the science program.
- Classroom Project: A podcast to raise awareness of ambient noise
- The SCOOP! activity collection by École branchée is full of ideas where media production, including podcasts, can act as a backdrop to learning and enrichment.
Tools for making podcasts
Preparation/Editing the text:
- Google Docs
- Microsoft Word
- Apple Pages
- sound trap
- Dictaphone of the mobile device
- Platform PodcastWeb (powered by RÉCIT and BAnQ)
- Anchor (which allows free streaming on Spotify and other popular digital platforms)
- Google Sites
- Sway (Microsoft)
- SoundCloud (paid and limited)
- You can also easily publish in tools like Google Presentations and PowerPoint. Simply add audio to the slides.
- Self-Training The Educational Podcast (FRAME21)
5. The video
Video production with students is still a more engaging type of project. Nevertheless, the equipment has become much simpler over time and making videos is not as complex as it once was. With a basic digital camera, young people can usually achieve very satisfying results.
Let's also say that it is now the medium that prevails among young people to transmit information. Social networks have made it much easier to spread information.
An example from yesterday
Older students may remember the popularity of "lipdubs" in schools in the early 2010s. This was a scripted video clip in which students (or school staff) mimed the lyrics of a popular song. In June 2011, graduating students from Wilfrid-Bastien Elementary School in St-Léonard, Montreal, produced a lipdub to the song Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira. We found this gem on YouTube.
An example from today
The National Film Board of Canada is offering a new online workshop to introduce youth aged 13 to 18 to digital storytelling. The Media School, available in English and French, consists of 11 modules that teach the basics of digital storytelling on a computer. Choosing a topic, story structure, shooting, editing, researching, and writing a narrative are among the topics covered in the modules.
We actually spoke to a teacher who uses the platform with her students. Don't miss to read this article here.
Examples of activities to do:
- Production of a newscast (HabiloMédias)
- Have"I made two virtual reality films against bullying with my students" (a project by Laurent Di Pasquale, teacher in Belgium, presented in École branchée)
- The SCOOP! activity collection by École branchée is full of ideas where media production can act as a backdrop to learning and enrichment.
For more tips on video production, see this free training with Stéphane Hunterof Escouade Multimédia. Subscribers can also read his article in the Winter 2022-2023 issue of École branchée magazine: 4 uses of video in an educational context.
Video production tools
- Google Docs
- Microsoft Word
- Apple Pages
- YouTube channel template (by Matt Miller)
- Video planning template (through Matt Miller, in English)
- Model of a story structure (through Matt Miller, in English)
- Self-training Creative video (FRAME21)
Conducting media production projects may seem overwhelming to some teachers. However, it is a great way to stimulate students' creativity by getting them to create original works. Motivation and commitment will be high! At the same time, students learn about the world of media and develop important information skills to become ethical citizens.
With this file, we hope to have given you some guides and tools that will allow you to experience a first project with your students. Will you try it?
MEDIA PRODUCTION FILE
This file is part of a series produced by École branchée on the theme of media production. See also:
- CréaCamp Discovery with Stéphane Hunter, Multimedia Squad
- Interview with Denis Martel, digital strategist and podcast producer (coming soon)
- SCOOP! digital activity guide (coming soon)
Do you produce media productions with your students? Tell us about it! email@example.com