Official Dosomething.org Project

The Problem

The students of Wamego Middle School have formed their own VOD-SQUAD, or Vodcasting Squad to interview individuals from our surrounding communities with expertise in music, photography, business, and other content-related areas. Guest speakers are imperative to help students make real-world connections between subject matter and the real world. Yet, it is difficult to find professionals able to take extensive amounts of time off of work to visit with students. The VOD-SQUAD works with teachers of all subject areas and individuals in the community to bring the expertise of our surrounding communities into the classroom through Vodcasts, or video files that can be viewed from anywhere, anytime. Over the last decade, schools have made great efforts to improve curricula through guest speakers in the classroom, with the objective of exposing students to professionals who share their early and current career experiences. According to student feedback, professionals in the classroom provide a very effective real-life learning experience for students. Vodcasting guest speakers benefits students, educators, and even the guest speakers. It uses basic movie-making technology to link schools and their communities together in the education process. Students on the VOD-SQUAD begin by visiting with faculty and other students about individuals in the community like business owners, musicians, and other professionals who would make exceptional candidates for an interview. Together, they create questions they would like the individual to answer. The students contact the guest speaker, visit them in crews of three, and video the interview. Armed with a video camera, homemade boom-microphone, and a lap-top computer, they create a video file for other students to view using basic movie editing software, and post the interview on the school’s servers, or on the web, depending on the preference of the guest speaker. As a result, student initiative and technology bring real-world expertise into the classroom and curriculum Being a part of a vod-squad engages struggling students in problem based learning, improves attendance, and helps them feel connected to school. Vodcast teams are formed of two self-driven students and a student with a history of struggling with attendance and school work. In this way, a student who has often felt left out is able to collaborate with others, develop technology skills, and contribute to a project they are interested in. Struggling students learn more when they are creating their own learning opportunities, mastering academic content standards, and immersed in hands-on, technology-integrated projects. As a result, the impact of the project is measured through improved school attendance and performance in class (grades) of those on a Vod-squad. Motivated and struggling students alike contribute as they choose speakers, write and conduct and interview, and transform the footage into a vodcast.     See students examples at http://chandlerkids.bravehost.com/ 

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