Monday, October 5, 2015

21st Century Skills

Our video Incorporating 21st Century Skills in the Classroom, produced with Jobs for the Future, has been uploaded to the Students at the Center Hub. This website is funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation and offers a wide range of resources for families, students, and educators interested in student-centered learning.

In this 20-minute video, U.S. History teacher Charles Willis and Chemistry teacher Leanne Collura share their strategies to teach not just their subject matter but 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  We spend a few days in their dynamic classrooms as Willis's students take the lead in exploring the lead-up to the American Civil War and Collura's students apply stochiometry principles to air bag design.

Revere High School principal Lourenco Garcia also highlights how the school's flipped classroom model develops 21st century skills by giving students more agency in the learning process.

This school is amazing and I loved getting to know the students, teachers, and staff there! I hope to have a chance to visit and further document their development.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Transmedia Story Full Launch!

Melissa Ludtke and I have just launched the website for our transmedia series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods. Now we add a website - functional on desktop and mobile - to the project's presence on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and iBooks. Our launch coincides with the 20th anniversary of Hillary Clinton's declaration that "women's rights are human rights once and for all" at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

The project explores girlhood in 21st century rural China through the eyes of two Chinese-American adoptees and the girls they meet in their "hometowns." The first of six stories has been uploaded, and the remaining installments will come over the next few months.

I have learned a lot about this new medium through our collaboration, and am excited to add more stories!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Circle at Strong Oak's

On Monday my assistant Anna Graham and I had the privilege of filming a circle meeting of Boston's Restorative Justice Collaborative in the Berkshires at the home of Strong Oak Lefebvre.  Strong Oak (center, with talking piece) is an indigenous restorative justice leader and one of the founders of the Visioning Bear circle to prevent sexual violence.  (Visioning Bear has been recently addressing other issues of concern as well.)

In typical circle fashion, the conversation was honest and spontaneous and involved a lot of personal storytelling - in part around the question of what it means for non-native people to use a tradition that originated with native peoples. Participants also talked about what drew them to circle practice in the first place.

It was a moving conversation, and I hope to include it in my upcoming documentary, The Circle: A Story of Murder and Reconciliation in Boston. If you are interested, please follow the film project on Twitter or like it on Facebook!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Camera Format Workshop

I had loads of fun today doing a camera format workshop with my Intermediate Video class at Rhode Island School of Design. We shot video on six different cameras ranging from tiny consumer cameras to large-sensor cinema cameras.  I was amazed at how much the GoPro Hero can do for just $400 (including the ability to monitor etc. from a cell phone using a free ap) and how beautiful the Black Magic Cinema camera's images are... I guess I see what all the hype is about!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Inquiry-Based Learning

I spent several months observing and filming a senior composition class taught by English teacher Jenny Wellington, and with editor Shondra Burke put together a video called Inquiry-Based Learning at Pittsfield Middle High School. I learned so much from Ms. Wellington's masterful unit design, classroom setup, facilitation of student-moderated discussions, and supervising of meaningful student projects and presentations. It's wonderful to truly see students at the center of their own learning!

This video was funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation and will appear on their Students at the Center Hub.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Robot at Radcliffe

We really enjoyed meeting Francesca Rossi and her robot friend at Radcliffe last may. Francesca is a computer science professor at the University of Padova in Italy and her research focuses on artificial intelligence.

She introduced us to Pierre, a NAO humanoid robot made by French company Aldebaran. Pierre is designed to be a companion for elderly people, children, and others needing help around the house.  Francesca borrowed Pierre for the day to show him off at the Radcliffe Fellows certificate ceremony for the 50 fellows.

We interviewed Francesca briefly as part of a new video we are producing for the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard - a signature video that the institute will use for their capital campaign.

In 2012 we produced a series of 10 videos which included portraits of fellows Radhika Nagpal and Douglas Rogers.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Story 2: Touching Home

Melissa Ludtke and I are so excited to launch iBook story 2, Touching Home, in our transmedia series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoodsThese stories anchor our project’s global social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and our website.

In this story, two American adoptees meet girls who grew up in the rural towns where they were abandoned as babies. The Chinese and American girls discover kinship in their shared beginnings and set out to explore differences of experience and attitude that their distant childhoods created.

Videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics, and audio narrations bring the girls’ blossoming friendships to life – and enable viewers to glimpse life as a girl in 21st century rural China.

The iBooks series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods anchors a transmedia project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and a narrative website. At the heart of the story are two American adoptees who return as teens to the towns in China where each was abandoned as a newborn. There, they meet girls who grew up in these towns and learn about what their own girlhoods might have been like in 21st century rural China.  The girls open a fascinating cross-cultural dialogue about family life, school, work, and their aspirations. The project’s social media platforms engage a global audience with interactive news and commentary about girls and women’s lives in contemporary China.

The Touching Home story is available for purchase for $3.99 on iPads, iPhones, and Macs here.