Out on a Limb with a Nano Cam

The above video was filmed by one of my students for a class project. I’m sure I’ll post it on Teacherly Tech as well under some other context, but I want to talk here about how happy I was to see this video. It doesn’t have anything to do with being out on a limb, by the way, and it wasn’t shot with a Nano. I’m the one who is out on a limb.

I’ve had my students doing interviews as one of their assignments in the research process for years. This is the first time I’ve asked them to submit the interviews as videos. I’ve wanted all along to do something like this, but I couldn’t provide the necessary equipment, and I wasn’t sure the students could get their hands on it. So I held back.

A few months ago, though, two things happened. I noticed the rate at which YouTube was growing, and I bought an iPod Nano that came with a very simple video camera. That’s when I decided it was time. I believed video cameras had reached enough of a saturation point that I could get away with requiring my students to use them. I thought it was likely that they could at least find someone to borrow a camera from.

Still, I was nervous about making it a requirement. I didn’t know what would happen.

Then today I logged into Blackboard to see the video posted above along with a question about whether it was done correctly.

Whew. Yes. We are here. This is happening. They can do it, and I can too.

Obviously, this is from a student who had some prior knowledge of cameras. He used three different cameras and edited the footage. They won’t all look like that. They won’t all think to sit in front of a drop cloth in a garage with shop lights shining on them. But how great is it that we have someone to set a benchmark for the class, to show us all what we are capable of? And how much better is it for the students that they have something like this to show for their work in the class when it is done?

Is it okay that I did it like this, he asked. What do you mean? Is it okay that you kick butt on an assignment? Go right ahead, please. Go right ahead.

See the in-progress class project site from the same student here.

These students are working very hard, but they are doing a great job, and I am happy.

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