Orientation Session Highlights: Learning to Bookcast

30 08 2011

Storms threatened – and actually knocked Ryan off line – but those us who could gathered around the firepit in the Bookhenge where it was safe and dry.

We began with an appropriate poem – Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” and responded to a Reader Response question about our own “road less traveled” and how that decision had affected our journey.

I introduced Reader Response theory and explained that it would be an important influence on our work this semester since research (Oldfather and Dahl, 1994) suggests that part of the decline in the motivation to read of students in middle schools and high schools may be traced to instruction that lacks opportunities for self-expression and personal response.

That’s why we’ll explore both Reader Response (Rosenblatt, 1938/1995) and Pink’s six elements of creativity (Pink, 2005) along with other theories of literacy, literature, and learning to create opportunities for students to join the “participatory culture” and use technology (low and high tech – from writing to multimedia) to respond to literature.

Our mantra as we design learning opportunities will be “Does it get in the way of the live sense of literature” (Rosenblatt, 1938). And a big question, perhaps an essential one, will be “Can we teach creativity?”

We’ll learn more about Reader Response and Creativity theories in our collaborative critical inquiry called “Waves of Change” – a jigsaw activity in which we each research our assigned theory(ies) and contribute to a VoiceThread.

Our current collaborative critical inquiry is dedicated to the exploration of the literary quality of young adult literature. We’ll be bookcasting two of the most recent young adult novels recognized for their literary quality. The first comes from the American Library Association’s Printz award winners of 2011 and the second from the Eva Perry Mock Printz short list for 2012.

Bookcasts are different from the more familiar book trailers in purpose. The goal of a book trailer is to encourage others to read the book. The goal of a bookcast is to cast as in “to set forth or let loose” a creative response. Bookcasts can reflect connections that are text to text, text to world, or text to self.

Examples of bookcasts and ideas about how to create them can be viewed in our Orientation Bookcast Gallery. Other exemplars can be seen here You’ll see that using images plus music plus narration is effective with many variations on this theme. You can create cartoons using ToonDoo or Pikistrips and then bring them into iMovie or MovieMaker. Xtranormal is s simple way to create a bookcast but you don’t have a great deal of choice of scenarios and characters. PhotoStory, an audio slide show tool, is highly recommended for those with PCs. iMovie will help you accomplish the same with a Mac. See the Bookcasting tools & resources

Remember that you have the option to make an overt connection to the book that inspired the bookcast. The connection can be explained as Scott did in his response to Louis Sachar’s The Cardturner or as subtle as in Lara’s Bones of Iraq inspired by Janni Sumner’s Bones of Fairie. None is required though. Alison chose to make no direct reference in her response to Punkzilla. See all of these bookcasts in our Orientation Videos and more exemplars in the Project Specs for Bookcasts . . . Note another popular format is the Common Craft style demonstrated in the Shiver response.

Because ours is a participatory culture and everyone is learning to sample, remix, and mash-up, it is imperative that we as English teachers learn to advise our students about copyright and fair use. Remember “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” We have “great power and great responsibility” to teach our students the “new literacies” and the new media literacies include understanding copyright and fair use. Excellent source for guiding decisions – Code of Best Practices for Media Literacy Education (American University’s Center for Social Media)

I want you to learn to approach these decisions as ones requiring critical thinking and reasoning. Be bold in using our fair use rights while defending the copyright/intellectual property ownerships of the creators.

The four factors for determining copyright and fair use (Stanford University Libraries based on Section 107, Copyright Law) are 1) Purpose and character of use, 2) nature of copyrighted work, 3. Amount and substantiality, and 4. Effects on the market or creator’s ability to make money off his/her work.

Things used to be so simple when the classroom only extended to its four walls. Now, with the Web, our classrooms extend to the far corners of the world.

There are a couple of scenarios that we had small groups discuss and share their decisions. The first concerning googling for images – decided with the help of Bill Ferriter, teacher and blogger. Decision: You must use images for which the owner gives permission for use. And when the owner requests attribution or any other special specifications, then you must honor his/her requests. For example, Flickr Creative Commons is a great resource for images and many are available to use with only an attribution requested. Learn more about tools and resources for bookcasting in the Bookcasting section of Personal Learning Environments . . .

The second scenario concerned royalty-free music. Incompetech is a favorite. For others, check out tools for bookcastng Also, more and more school libraries are purchasing “stock libraries” of music that students and teachers can use for multimedia productions.

When students learn to create media and what it means to own one’s creative work, then they are much more likely to value and respect the intellectual property of others.

Avatar Makeover with Bill Lovin/Ajax Quinnell was a short but pretty intensive session. I saw some changes in appearance right away. If you have questions as you evolve your personal look, just let us know.

For archived UStream of session, slides, videos, and chat log, see our Archived LIVE Classes . . .

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