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African-American Studies Project
Posted 12/03/2018 11:57AM

Using WeVideo to Capture the Power of the Spoken Word

by Stacey Roshan, Upper School Math/Technology Coordinator

One of my biggest goals as technology coordinator is to help teachers create assignments and projects to empower all students to find their voice and showcase their unique creativity. We know that students have such different learning styles and means of expressing themselves, and by embracing technology, my job is to help teachers design lessons that reach all different types of learners.

In our African-American Studies course, taught by Cathy Melanson, students recently created a video project to interpret famous historical speeches.

Podcasting Speeches: The Power of the Spoken Word
This assignment will ask you to deliver and record speeches, letters or the words of those who participated in or engaged in Revolutionary War politics. Controlling the "voice" of the African American was one of the many ways to perpetuate their servile status. This assignment will ask you to give those voices back!

Since we have a site license of WeVideo at Bullis, we decided to use this tool to have students create and edit their project. One of our reasons for purchasing a site license of WeVideo was to allow all students - regardless of whether they have a Mac or a PC - to have access to a powerful video editing tool.

Using WeVideo, students were tasked to create an audio recording of their assigned speech as well as add imagery to match the narrative and further evoke emotion in the viewer. Students were graded on speech delivery and rhetoric quality; students needed to demonstrate a clear understanding of the meaning of the words and the context in which it was being delivered. To further enhance the overall production, they were assessed on the visuals they chose; the imagery should be powerful and synchronized with the words of the speech.

After all students created their WeVideo projects, we used Flipgrid to showcase the projects. Most people know of Flipgrid as a video discussion platform where students record directly within the platform. But Flipgrid also allows students to upload video projects to the "grid." We wanted to create a nice visual of all student projects on display, so we decided to upload each student's video project to Flipgrid. In this way, students could easily see the work of their classmates.

The most powerful part of this assignment was that Cathy was able to hear a different voice from her students. This is something that I have seen time and time again when assigning video projects to students. When Cathy and I sat down to recap things, she remarked that the most powerful project was created by the student who is quiet and shy in the classroom. Through his recorded speech, he was able to deliver real passion with old English, which is not an easy task. What's more, in using WeVideo to edit, he pulled in music to complement the speech along with well-synchronized images to further evoke emotion. This project allowed the student to find a powerful voice and creatively express his interpretation of the speech.

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