Your eyes don’t always capture the world exactly as a video camera would. But the eyes are remarkably efficient organs, the result of hundreds of millions of years of coevolution with our brains. Michael Mauser outlines the similarities and differences between your eye and a video camera.
The next collaborative project between English and Information Technology is going to be this project from the NYTimes Learning Network: Student Contest | 15-Second Vocabulary Videos
If we can fit this into CCSS, the deliverology we are mandated, collection of Data Team results, statistics for evaluations, new systems implementation, and everything else required this year.
Remember when we just got passionate about a great idea and inspired out students by teaching like our hair was on fire and asking for miracles and basking in the meta-cognitive moment that far surpassed anything else we would do that year.
We were teachers then.
Updated: Nov. 1.
A perfect time, we thought, to celebrate with a contest.
So here’s the challenge: Along with our collaborators for Word of the Day — the linguists who run Vocabulary.com and Visual Thesaurus — we invite you to create a short video that defines or teaches any of the words in ourcollection.
You have until Dec. 3 to do it, and all the rules and regulations, plus some inspiration from other students and teachers, are below.
vocabulary •\vōˈkabyəˌlerē,vi-\• noun
Q. I’m in! What are the rules and guidelines?
A. – All words must come from our Word of the Day feature. Each word must be pronounced and defined, and the part of speech must be given.Update: We now have a PDF of all 979 words published through Nov. 1.
–All definitions must come from either the Word of the Day orVocabulary.com. If there are several definitions, you may just use the first one if you like.
– You must be 13 to 19 years old, but can be from anywhere in the world.
– Your video should be no more than 15 seconds, but can be shorter.
– You can work alone, with a partner or in a group, but only one submission per student, please, whether you’re working alone or with others.
– Use your imagination. You can act the word out, animate it, use puppets, draw, sing a song, create a dance, incorporate photographs, create a Claymation, or anything else that will help viewers understand and learn your word.
– Post a link to the video as a comment on this blog post, along with the first name of everyone who worked on the video. We will watch the videos first to make sure they are appropriate before we approve your comment, so don’t worry if you don’t see your link for a day or two.
–The contest ends on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Q. So we only post a link to our video on your blog. Where do we post the videos themselves?
A. Anywhere that you, your teachers and your parents or guardians are comfortable with.
We chose the 15-second limit since we know many teenagers are already onInstagram. You can post there, on YouTube, TeacherTube, SchoolTube,Vimeo or even on Google Docs, Flickr or anywhere else that provides an embed code so we can post your final product on our blog if you win.
We also recommend this Edutopia post, “Five-Minute Film Festival: Vine and Instagram Video in the Classroom.”
Of course, please follow the Terms of Service for whatever platform you use.
Q. Where can I look for inspiration?
A. Vocabulary videos aren’t an original idea — in fact, we originally came up with this contest after we saw an English teacher on Twitter, Brett Vogelsinger, post that he’d had his students make “Vocabulary Vines.”
Bridget Dalton, a professor, has written extensively about developing vocabulary through multimodal expression. In this piece for Literacy Beat, she describes the step-by-step process she went through with her graduate students to have them create short videos like this one:
Another set of examples come from students in John Mynatt’s Irving High School Webmastering 2 classes:
(Please note that some of the video examples above exceed our 15-second limit.)
Q. Updated: How can I choose a word then learn enough about it to make a video?
A. To choose your word, you can click back through our Word of the Day feature to see about 10 at a time, or you can scan this seven-page list of all 979 words we published through Nov. 1, 2013. (Teachers, you might choose the specific words from that list that you’d like your students to use.)
Next, look up the word by putting it, along with the phrase “Word of the Day,” into “search this blog.” Read the entry to learn its definition and see how it has been used in The Times.
You might next head to the Vocabulary.com dictionary where you’ll find a friendly explanation and a rich supply of authentic usage examples from both current and classic sources. Take a look at the entries for retinue anduproarious — both from the Word of the Day — as examples. Once you have a handle on the word’s meaning and how it is commonly used, you can start to think about the most effective way to teach that word in a 15-second video.
Q. Vocabulary’s not really my thing, but I love the idea of a student video contest. What else do you have for me?
A. You’re in luck. Purely by coincidence, The New York Times’s Culture desk is currently running a contest in which young people are invited to submit 15-second “Hamlet” videos. Read more about it and join in.
Thank you for participating! Post the link to your video, along with the first name (and last initial, if you like) of all those who worked on it, in the comments field, below. You can also post your questions there, and we’ll answer them in bold as soon as we can.
No last names please, although if you win you will have the option of having your last name listed.