This summer I had the pleasure of collaborating with some outstanding media educators at the 8th annual Generation Connection (TGC) summer camp in Gainesville, Florida, where we helped campers (age 8-80) use digital media to document their experiences on the camp website.
The Media Spot has been working with the TGC since year one to work with participants to create documentary videos on their travels around Central Florida, encouraging critical thinking about how we can use media to shape, share, and reflect on what is important to us.
This year we were lucky to have the help of Katherin Garland, Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at Georgia College & State University, and Dan Storchan, the Educational Technology Manager of Digital School Solutions (DSS) in New York along to help us focus on the decisions we make when “framing” our experiences for our audience through various media.
On Monday, Katherin and her former student, Brittany Jones, a graduate of the University of Florida’s Journalism program, gave a great lesson on how filmmakers “frame” camera shots, and combine them to communicate visually. This set a tone of professionalism throughout the week, and gave us all some filmmaking vocabulary to work with. Katherin and Brittany returned throughout the week to edit video with campers. Katherin said of the experience:
“The Generation Connection was a perfect demonstration of how we learn naturally. Using relevant materials that each camper was interested in and balancing learning with social interaction, proved to be a useful way to help everyone become more media literate.”
Dan was embedded with campers on their travels, collaborating on all aspects of video production, and helped developed themes for each day’s clip. He also introduced the camp to Twitter as a way of using mobile phones to share and catalog quotes and notes for our fans watching online (see our camp Tweets at TGCYear8). Dan reflected on his experience in his blog post, Summer Learning with DSS.
I notice that each year, campers (of all ages) show up with more gadgets and know-how — in some cases more than us media educators. This year we had kids and seniors carrying smart phones. Seniors knew about Twitter coming in, and for the first time, two seniors worked with me to edit a video without a kid taking the lead. Some kids brought their own video production equipment, and many could shoot and edit on their own. However, as the significance of the digital culture that surrounds us outside of camp becomes clearer to the older generations we work with, I’ve noticed that their interest in and understanding of the need for media literacy increases. And it feels good to be prepared to work with them to build it! Using the tools is only the beginning — thinking about how we use them, and how they affect who we are and how we interact with each other is the next level — and TGC is helping their campers move in that direction!
See all of the 2010 Clips and visit TheGenerationConnection.com for more on the camp, how to get involved, and to watch 8 years of Clips of the Day!