Earlier in the year, when my tutor Adam instructed us to select a topic for our podcast, I got a little bit too excited by the fact that there was a week focusing on the role and effect of technology within the realm of education. Naturally, being a teacher, I jumped at the opportunity to podcast about it, only to realize shortly after I’d began work on it that I was going to have to later on select a second topic as the focus for my video upload. I'd already used up my opportunity to make a video on my area of expertise.
At first I almost panicked, worried that I probably didn’t have enough to offer with any of the other options.
However, I took another read over our weekly topics, then another, and eventually idea of digital activism started to speak to me. I love social media, I love the connection it allows me to have with people far away and the fact that it keeps me from feeling isolated from the rest of the world, but I’ve also long been a little unsure about the idea of digital activism. I like that social media provides a simple platform for people to express their views, but I’ve often wondered if the online approach to activism actually makes a difference, having seen it occurring in my feed on a daily basis.
Upon beginning my research, I first set out to identify what the historical idea of activism actually is, a summary of the old way of doing it, leading me to the recording by poet Gil Scott Heron. I thought this was the perfect encapsulation, its fierce rally cry still applicable today in the world of social media. Protesting and activism required actual action.
But my research also led me to articles by people like Christensen and Vie, who were able to cite examples of digital activism having positive effect and making actual change. There was evidence of the contrary also, but I generally found that the evidence certainly skewed in both directions and offered up both sides.
I used my iPad to film things and did all my editing using iMovie. I was extreme inexperienced at using iMovie - or making any sort of movie, for that matter - and was a little nervous about the whole situation.
What allowed me to practice my skills was the use of it in the classroom with my students. The students were to compile an iMovie about the phases of the moon, for which they took photos of an Oreo cookie with sections of the creme removed to represent the waxing and waning stages. The students then assembled these photographs into an iMovie themselves. In order to demonstrate this to them effectively, I made one myself - my first. It took a little while but I eventually managed.
I think the thing I found most challenging with this video, or any sort of video that involves me speaking for an extended period of time is the fact that it requires a great many takes. I found that it was easiest if I spoke for one section at a time then spliced the footage together in the order I wanted it to be seen. However, even this proved a challenge as I would find myself stumbling over my words at the very end of a perfect take. As a result, there a number of instances where I have managed to cut and edit the video together within the tape thanks to my ability to occasionally pause at the correct time.
All in all, I found this experience to be exciting, if somewhat challenging. This will be something which I wish to continue to adopt as an educational tool as it is extreme engaging and enjoyable for kids, as well as the fact that it improves their (and my) media skills, tools to see them through the to the future.
BROADER ONLINE ACTIVITY
Since partaking in this subject, I have reinvigorated my Twitter account and assigned it with a purpose - educational microblogging. I have since made it a goal to Tweet about my classroom activity as much as possible and, when I’m at my most active, have been able to post a Tweet a day. Whilst this is not always realistic, I have still allowed myself to be highly active on it, which has gotten me more recognition at work due to my school also having quite a significant Twitter presence, with many of the teachers having their own Twitter pages. It has also allowed me to establish some networking links with others schools from afar.
My Twitter handle is: @myname_isaaron
In addition to this, there’s this blog, for which I’ve drafted many posts, but have only posted a few. That is set to change in the coming weeks when my time is freed up a considerable amount.