Example 2. Group Commercials Teen Project

In 2013 my job as a teacher trainer took me to Croatia and Slovenia where I was able to work with various teen groups in creating digital stories with their mobile devices. Students had 45 minutes to get into small groups, plan their 30 second commercial, create the commercial, and present it to the class. Students created their video commercials with their own mobile devices and video/image editing apps. This was the first time these students were allowed to use their mobile devices to learn and the first time I worked with them, but we had a very successful experience.

Students were divided into groups of 4 with this mission:

The KLM company specializes in creating apps that help make life easier for teens. Your team is responsible for creating a prototype of an app that solves a problem teens face. For example, you might invent an app that solves the problem of bullying. You will show the KLM company’s board of directors a video commercial of this new app showcasing its skills. Air time is expensive so we must keep the time limit to 1 minute or less.

Students were allowed to brainstorm, which looked like this:

Image of students in Slovania brainstorming to make a commercial. Image by Shelly Sanchez Terrell. Used with permission from the author. All rights reserved.

I was fortunate that one of the teachers, Marijana Smolcec, filmed me without my knowledge working with the students at her school in Ogulin, Croatia. She created a fantastic 5 minute video that highlights the process of the lesson. This is what the process looked like:

  • Welcoming and self introduction

  • Digital citizenship

  • Division of groups for an initial storytelling task with images

  • Group mission given

  • Student example of the task was shown

  • Students were divided into groups with delegated tasks

  • Group storyboarding and planning

  • Commercial production/edits

  • Presentation of the commercials

The stories from the various classes I worked with in Slovenia and Croatia were collected in LinoIt and Padlet. These are free collaborative sites that work as a sticky note board. A teacher can set-up and allow students to upload images, video, links and comments via sticky notes. The students do not need to register unless the teacher selects this setting. They click on the wall and submit.

Screenshot of student stories and commercials on a LinoIt created by Shelly Terrell. Used with permission from the author. All rights reserved.

Here is a detailed lesson plan for students working in groups to create a cultural myth. It has assessments, grouping tips, objectives and more (Dees, 2012).

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