Machinima - the new diorama

Is Machinima The New Diorama? or Flipping Academic Fairs

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Jokaydia monitors children ages 4-16 in constructing spaces in Minecraft. Students use video capture and editing software to make machinima. This student built space is a historical complex.

Ask a 10-year old how they know something or learned to do something and the answer may very well include “I saw it on YouTube”.  With “Digital Literacy” and Coding being recognized as skills required for future success, and employment, it seems to make sense to update academic fairs to  include digital elements beyond word processing.  Perhaps instead of cardboard box dioramas, sugar-cube structures and  tri-fold cardboard displays we could accomplish learning objectives with machinima, digital storytelling, websites, blogs, wikis and 3-D digital modeling.  This is not to diminish the use of art supplies and creativity in the visual arts.  Manual dexterity and artistic expression is important, but not the primary objective of Academic Fairs.

SSFair

A Traditional Academic Fair Display begins in a school with winners being displayed regionally at a local Mall or Library.

Many of us have participated in promoting, supporting , guiding or  completing the work for a child participating in an academic fair.  I still remember a 2:00 AM crying  moment and my older brother helping me (actually he did the whole thing with exception of the windows that just were perfectly illustrated with a tap of a magic marker) to make a model of the Pentagon.  To this day I know very little about the Pentagon (the empire state building would have been so much easier) but I did learn some geometry, some research skills, collaboration (sort of), time management (after the fact), and I am still a night owl.  It is the process that is important.  The artistic work and use of materials, though an obvious focus to fair attendees, is secondary to what the student learns.  Whatever I learned through my 6th grade Social Studies Project experience, was not reflected in my brother’s ability to construct models.

Machinima made by capturing video in an immersive environment or video game and edited with sound, music and dialog to depict a historical event, literary work, or scientific concept requires research, planning, and time management skills.  Building a model in a 3-D environment like Minecraft requires planning, sometimes research, digital literacy, creativity and time management.  Developing a website requires similar skills.  Each of these digital possibilities requires the same basic skills that traditional academic fair projects require, in addition to digital literacy.  Collaboration is not  typically included as an objective in academic fairs, though parents and older siblings are sometimes involved.  Including collaboration as an objective would align to Common Core Standards and 21st Century Skills and the collaboration would likely include peers.   Parent involvement may actually be flipped in this model, with the student guiding the parent to understand the digital environment, particularly as it applies to immersive or game environments.

Time and space become less of a barrier as a local fair can potentially expand to a global fair with public views and even community “up votes”  on deserving entries.  Collaboration with peers from different geographic locations could potentially help prepare today’s students to collaborate globally as adults.  It seems logical to take advantage of  the use of digital spaces by our youth to include academic endeavors.  The Information Revolution has provided almost anyone the ability to share what they know and are are able to do.  Some of the YouTube videos being watched by 10-year olds have been created  by other 10-year olds, sharing what they know and are able to do.  An academic fair project posted on the web has potential to generate interest and extend learning beyond what an individual child learns from a 20th Century academic fair project.  As educators we can support, guide, monitor and inform this kind of activity by our students.

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Machinima for Education

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A group to support the development and use of machinima in education will begin meeting bi-weekly, starting on Monday September 16 at the Front Range Sim in Second Life.  The SLURL for the meeting is http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Front%20Range/108/26/35 and the meeting will begin at … Continue reading

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Mobile Minecraft and More

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Monday August 26th at 8:00 PM EST two ISTE special Interest groups SIGVE and SIGML ( special interest groups for virtual environments and mobile learning) will join with VSTE (Virginia Society for Technology in Education) at the VSTE Second Life location http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/VSTE%20Island/28/91/24 to … Continue reading

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EduMachinima Fest for Teachers and Students

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The annual SIGVE EduMachinima Fest is unique in that it is for both students and teachers.  Those who enter their work will have the opportunity to create and share their manipulation of images, sounds, music and words effectively to convey … Continue reading

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Failure or Scaffolding to Mastery

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Educators assess  learning  in a variety of ways including observation of behaviors/skill demonstration, artifact production, portfolio development, and testing.  We establish grades, inform parents and students, and record grades in a permanent record.  There is lively debate on assessment (particularly … Continue reading

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FETC – Game MOOC

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During the Summer of 2012, a free MOOC (massive open online courses) was conducted on games for learning. The session was led by Front Range Community College Faculty  who invited educators from around the country to contribute.  Over 400 educators … Continue reading

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2013: Engage For Change

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin Change is inevitable and the new year brings the mindset and … Continue reading

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Connected Hour, Connected Kids

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On December 11 at 9 PM EST ISTE SIGVE in partnership with G.A.M.E. (Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education) will host a Connected Hour using Google Hangout, Second LIfe, Youtube, and an array a kid friendly games.  The December Connected Hour is … Continue reading

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EduBlogger Nominations

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Edublogs annually recognizes social media that promotes and demonstrates value to educators.  It’s great to see when the list comes out as there is always something new and useful.  My nominations focus on the use of 3D immersive environments and … Continue reading

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It’s About Time and Space

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When teachers are asked “What is your biggest challenge?” A common response is TIME; Time to learn new strategies, time to plan, time to make improvements, time to have meaningful collaboration with colleagues, time to practice new learning, time to just … Continue reading