Understanding of current events occurring throughout Latin Americaby Stacey Roshan, Upper School Math/Technology Coordinator
Our Spanish III classes, taught by Maris Hawkins and Bryan Whitford, recently did a News Broadcast project in WeVideo to demonstrate their understanding of current events occurring throughout Latin America. Prior to this project, the class had been reading articles focused on current events occurring throughout Latin America. Maris actually publishes her own set of articles each week, intentionally written at a reading level appropriate for students in Spanish II and higher, with topics ranging from El Chapo's trial to iguanas being reintroduced to the Galapagos Islands.
The purpose of the "Las noticias" unit is:
- to allow students to read and understand news articles related to actual events happening in the Spanish-speaking world.
- to make connections between current events in the US and Spanish-speaking countries
- to understand how current events reflect upon the culture of each country.
After students had read their assigned article, they were asked to further investigate their topic using authentic resources (materials developed by a native speaker for a native speaker). Because students had read an introductory article at a reading level customized for them, they were able to able to gain solid background knowledge, making them better able to understand the authentic resources.
Using WeVideo to Demonstrate Understanding
For this particular project, we had students use WeVideo to creatively present the information they learned from their reading and research. The WeVideo project was completed in small groups. The goal was for students to demonstrate a solid understanding of their assigned article and then expand on the topic using the authentic resources they found.
While students have been reading articles and conducting follow-up research throughout the year, this WeVideo project allowed them to harness their creativity and express their understanding in Spanish (with an emphasis on using a variety of tenses and an effort to expand their vocabulary). With video, students can write a draft, rehearse, and record/edit/re-record as they see fit. This process of watching their own presentation, reflecting on what they have recorded, and revising is a powerful addition to the learning process. In offering students a way to record and replay their response, students can gain a self-awareness that is not possible without the technology.
This project also provided students a chance to learn some new video editing features, such as using picture-in-picture video, green screen, layering multiple tracks on a timeline, and adding background music to produce a more professional newscast. Students took advantage of the vast royalty-free library available in WeVideo (which allows them to find the media they need without navigating to other websites).
Tech Resources to Empower Students to Take Their Video Editing Skills to the Next Level
To help get the class up and started, we created this tutorial for them to watch before beginning the editing process -- Creating a Newscast with Green Screen in WeVideo.
Students clearly enjoyed this project, as multiple students referenced this project specifically in their end of trimester feedback surveys --
What has been your favorite unit so far and why?
"I liked the news unit because we worked with current events. We also had a really fun project at the end."
What is one thing that you are proud of in class this year?
"I am proud of the WeVideo I made. We got a good grade on it and I did most of the editing."
Overall, this was a fun project that provided an opportunity for students to engage more deeply with the articles they were studying in class. Video is a great way for students to practice their verbal skills and communication. As Maris noted, "when creativity is involved, more students will push their expression in Spanish to discuss even more."
Based on the success of the News Broadcast project, Maris and Bryan plan to do another WeVideo assignment in their next unit. Students will be studying entertainment in the Spanish-speaking world, so WeVideo will be a natural fit. The consistency in using the same tool for a follow-up project will allow students to apply lessons learned the first time around in their second project. Since WeVideo and video editing is new to most of our students, it is wonderful that they have the time to creatively experiment, reflect, and apply their new skills in producing multiple video projects.