History Challenge

New Tech Perspectives: A Vlog 

Submission Due Date: April 1, 2022 

Designed for Middle and High School Students 

Table of Contents

·      The Challenge

·      Assumptions and Logistics

·      Process

·      Meridian Support Resources

·      Presentation of Learning

·      Evaluation Rubric

·      Essential Questions

·      Student Proficiencies

·      Curricular Correlations – Common Core and C3 Framework

Range of Activities

·      Research Issues Shaping the Dialogue around the Continued Rise of Technology

·      Analyze One Current Technology from a Personal and Societal Perspective

·      Predict Future Societal Consequences

·      Primary and Secondary Source Research

·      Analyze One’s Own Relationship to Technology and Translate into Vlog Narrative

·      Digital Literacy Skills – Video – Pre-production, Production and Post-production

·      21st Century Skills: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Presentational Skills

The Challenge

Neal Postman writes, in his seminal book, Amusing Ourselves to Death (p. 11):

“Lewis Mumford, for example, has been one of our greatest noticers. He is not the sort of a man who looks at a clock merely to see what time it is. Not that he lacks interest in the content of clocks, which is of concern to everyone from moment to moment, but he is far more interested in how a clock creates the idea of ‘moment to moment.’ He attends to the philosophy of clocks, to clocks as metaphor, about which our education has had little to say and clock makers nothing at all. ‘The clock,’ Mumford has concluded, ‘is a piece of power machinery whose ‘product’ is seconds and minutes.’ In manufacturing such a product, the clock has the effect of disassociating time from human events and thus nourishes the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences. Moment to moment, it turns out, is not God’s conception, or nature’s. It is man conversing with himself about and through a piece of machinery he created.

In Mumford’s great book Technics and Civilization, he shows how, beginning in the fourteenth century, the clock made us into time-keepers, and then time-savers, and now time-servers. In the process, we have learned irreverence toward the sun and the seasons, for in a world made up of seconds and minutes, the authority of nature is superseded.”

There is a lot to take in in that quote!

This Challenge asks you to consider the following question: What other recent (i.e., loosely the last five years) technologies or product innovations have had similar effects on how we perceive the world; have managed to re-construct our perceptions/understanding of our own daily existence?

Be specific. The ‘Internet’ won’t fly. Neither will Smart Phones. But aspects of the Smart Phone could. Thinking in terms of space, time and distance may help.

What’s the Digital Story format for this Challenge? A Vlog.

Read on.

A few words about what a vlog is and isn’t….

Here is what a vlog is not: a non-stop talking documentary of the vlogger making a smoothie; flossing ‘just so’; dirt bike racing; or cleaning the garage. A good vlog has a theme. That theme can certainly be about cleaning the garage, but the story being told needs to take the viewer on a journey with the vlogger in that activity. The goal is to get your viewers to go on a journey with you; not watch you during your daily activities.

This all suggests that a good vlog requires planning. First, what’s the theme? A walk in the woods? Discovery of the best ice cream in town? Looking for all of the plugs in your house to gauge possible energy usage? A cemetery tour? Second,  what’s the journey or story you are telling? And it shouldn’t be what they – the audience – want to know. It’s about what you – the vlogger – want to say. Here’s why.

The driving force behind successful vlogging is character. This format leads with personality. Vlogging asks you to turn the camera on yourself, in a setting of your choosing, and essentially talk, unscripted. This is a peer-to-peer storytelling format that often features a sort of ‘behind-the-scenes of the vloggers’ personal life in what appears to be an unscripted, natural setting.

In this Challenge, you may be vlogging as a team, which adds an extra narrative dimension to the task.

Deliverables include:

  • The Vlog (this is the only Meridian Stories deliverable)
  • Summary of Thematic Ideas (at teacher’s discretion)

Assumptions and Logistics

Time Frame – We recommend that this digital storytelling project takes place inside of a three to four-week time frame.

Length – All Meridian Stories submissions should be under 4 minutes in length, unless otherwise specified.

Slate – All digital storytelling projects must begin with a slate that provides:

  1. the title of the piece;
  2. the name of the school submitting;
  3. the wording ‘Permission Granted’ which gives Meridian Stories the right to a) publicly display the submission in question on, as linked from, related to or in support of Meridian Stories digital media; and b) use or reference it for educational purposes only, in any and all media; and
  4. We strongly recommend that students do not put their last names on the piece either at the start or finish, during the credits.

Submissions – Keep in mind that each school can only submit three submissions per Competition (so while the entire class can participate in the Challenge, only three can be submitted to Meridian Stories for Mentor review and scoring).

Teacher Reviews – All reviews by the teacher are at the discretion of the teacher and all suggested paper deliverables are due only to the teacher. The only deliverable to Meridian Stories is the digital storytelling project.

Teacher’s Role and Technology Integrator – While it is helpful to have a Technology Integrator involved, they are not usually necessary: the students already know how to produce the digital storytelling project. And if they don’t, part of their challenge is to figure it out. They will! The teacher’s primary function in these Challenges is to guide the students as they engage with the content.  You don’t need to know editing, sound design, shooting or storyboarding: you just need to know your content area, while assisting them with time management issues.

Digital Rules/Literacy – We strongly recommend that all students follow the rules of Digital Citizenry in their proper usage and/or citation of images, music and text taken from other sources. This recommendation includes producing a citations page at the end of your entry, if applicable. See the Digital Rules area in the Meridian Resources Center section of the site for guidance.

Location – Try not to shoot in a classroom at your school. The classroom, no matter how you dress it up, looks like a classroom and can negatively impact the digital story you are trying to tell.

Collaboration – We strongly recommend that students work in teams of 3-4: part of the educational value is around building collaborative skill sets. But students may work individually. 

Process

Below is a suggested breakdown for the students’ work.

During Phase I, student teams will:

  • Brainstorm about what recent technologies or products have changed our communal relationship to society. This is a VERY BIG question to contemplate. There are no right or wrong answers. There are only insightful observations. Here are two examples (that you cannot use) to get your mind going:
    • Smart phones now also serve as personal locators: you can know exactly where a person is – your child, your best friend – at any given time. How has this idea changed our sense of relationships?
    • Texting has usurped phone calling; perhaps even more: face to face communication. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Or both? Here’s an offshoot idea: have cell phones changed the way we …walk?
    • Other starting ideas (which you can use): Fitness tracking bands; Microsoft Word or Google Workspace; Crowdsourcing…
  • Choose one technology – one in which you and your team have personal experience because the narrative format is a vlog and vlogs are, by their very nature, personal in nature. The story you are about to tell is about your relationship to this technology and how it has perhaps changed you, your team, and others around you.
  • Explore three things.
    • First, all the qualities that you can identify about the product or technology. Dissect it. Look at its component parts. Research what primary and secondary sources are saying about this product; what it can do; and what it represents for society.
      • Be sure to consider the economic model that is driving this technology. For example, is personal data the primary currency?
    • Second, how you and your friends or family interact with this technology. Can you, in exploring this relationship with technology, recall one or two specific incidents that illustrate the larger ideas about technology and society that you want to communicate?
    • Third, articulate those larger themes and ideas; the resonance or ramifications, as you and your team see it, around you. You are answering the question: what are the plausible ramifications for society at large with the introduction/ expansion of / further evolution of this technology, this product, or perhaps, this action, that you have identified?
      • Teacher’s Options: Summary of Thematic Ideas – Teachers may require teams to write up a two-page summary of these three driving ideas, with clear references to at least three primary or secondary sources.
    • By the end of Phase I, your team should have identified the primary components of your proposed vlog which incorporate these three layers: 1) the technology itself; 2) your personal uses of this technology and the changes it has wrought; and 3) the societal ramifications, as they are now and as they might be, in the near future.

During Phase II, student teams will:

  • A vlog is a short, personal, visual journey. Not a literal journey from point A to point B. A narrative journey. And that journey can take place anywhere that is local and interesting to your team. The first question to be addressed: is this a one-person vlog that has been created by the team or is this a team vlog whereby you all will appear on camera?
    • If this is a team vlog, take a deep look at a) the possible inclusion of interviews in your vlog; and b) the best way to effectively communicate conversations and dialogue.
  • You know what it is what you want to say. But you may not know two things: how to say it – the tone – and how to support it visually. Let’s start with the latter.
  • What do you want viewers to see during this vlog? One of the best ways to decide is to spend time, as a team, screening favorite vlogs. What is working? What makes you trust this person and what they are saying? What makes you care about this person and their stories? Try to identify a few visual strategies that are working in their vlogs and see if they can be adopted into your vlog.
  • Here are a few other ideas related to the visualization of your story to consider. Is this a moving vlog whereby the camera is following you around in involves multiple locations? Or is this more of a stationery vlog whereby the vlogger(s) are settled in one setting designed to visually reinforce the content of the vlog?
    • Remembers, vlogs generally are not complicated videos. It’s their casual, no fuss, highly domestic qualities that help to define the format. Try not to over-produce.
  • Once you have identified the location(s) and proposed visual movement of your vlog, next focus on the person delivering the information and your tone. In general, one of your objectives is to win the trust of your viewing audience. The vlog doesn’t happen in one-offs, like this Challenge. They are usually part of a series of weekly entries where you are building an audience who have learned to like and trust you; who often want to be your friend. What can you and your team do to create that connection?
    • Vlogs also tend to work if they feel authentic; if the audience can get a genuine glimpse into the daily inner life of the vlogger. Is trying to create this connection a part of your plan?
  • Now that you have the content, the visual plan and the speaking tone, rehearse. Vlogs are not fully scripted. They are extemporaneous. They are a) ordinary people with b) a few ideas organized in their heads who are c) talking to the camera as if having a conversation with a good friend. The ideas you and your team are communicating may be complex. So rehearse a couple of times to be sure that the ideas are coming across clearly and that the ‘voice’ of the vlog, as well as the visual setting ,are working.
    • Be sure to spend some time discussing the sound design of your vlog. Sound design may involve simply relying on the natural sounds throughout, or the addition of music and sound effects to emphasize an idea or point.
  • By the end of Phase II, you should be prepared to shoot the vlog.

 During Phase III, Student Teams will:

  • Pre-produce the scene:
    • Finalize locations for shooting;
    • Create costumes, props and other set pieces, as needed; and
    • Prepare the logistics for the actual shooting of the vlog – paying attention to lighting and time of day.
    • Shoot the video.
    • Edit the video, adding stills and graphics as desired.
    • Post-produce the video, adding music, sound effects and graphics.

Meridian Support: The Digital Storytelling Resource Center

Meridian Stories provides two forms of support for the student teams:

  1. Meridian Innovators and Artists – This is a series of three to four-minute videos featuring artists and innovative professionals who offer important advice, specifically for Meridian Stories, in the areas of creativity and production.
  2. Media Resource Collection – These are short documents that offer student teams key tips in the areas of creativity, production, game design and digital citizenry.

Recommended review, as a team, for this Challenge include:

Meridian Innovators and Artists Media Resource Collection
Margaret Heffernan on Nonfiction

 

Liza Bakewell on Memoir and Nonfiction Writing

Tom Pierce on Producing

 

Scott Nash on the Importance of Character in Storytelling

Scene Work: Camera Angles and Movement

 

Digital Rules: The Starting Line

 

Conducting and Interview

 

Video Editing Basics

 

Presentation of Learning

Meridian Stories is a proud partner of the non-profit Share Your Learning, which is spearheading the movement of over five million students to publicly share their work as a meaningful part of their educational experience.

The workforce considers Presentational Skills to be a key asset and we encourage you to allow students to practice this skill set as often as possible. These short digital stories provide a great opportunity for kids to practice their public presentational skills.

According to Share Your Learning, Presentations of Learning (POL) promote…

  • Student Ownership, Responsibility & Engagement. POLs can serve as a powerful rite of passage at the end of [a project]. By reflecting on their growth over time in relation to academic and character goals, grounded in evidence from their work, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. Just as an artist wants their portfolio to represent their best work, POLs encourage students to care deeply about the work they will share.
  • Community Pride & Involvement. When peers, teachers and community members come together to engage with student work and provide authentic feedback, they become invested in students’ growth and serve as active contributors to the school community.
  • Equity. POLs ensure that all students are seen and provide insight into what learning experiences students find most meaningful and relevant to their lives.

Meridian Stories’ own research indicates this to be a really useful exercise for one additional reason:  Students actually learn from their peers’ presentations – it is useful to hear a perspective that is not just the teacher’s.

It is with this in mind that we you encourage you to plan an event – it could be just an end-of-the-week class or an event where parents, teachers and student peers are invited – to allow the students to showcase their Meridian Stories projects. For more free resources that will support this planning, visit Share Your Learning.

Evaluation Rubric – New Tech Perspectives: A Vlog

CONTENT COMMAND

Criteria 1-10
Technology and Society The key issues you have identified driving the debate around technology and society are insightful and relevant
Singular Technology Analysis The analysis of the select technology, and its component parts and societal ramifications is thorough and thought-provoking
Technology and You The analysis and reflections on the relationship between the technology and the students’ lives is insightful.

STORYTELLING COMMAND

Criteria 1-10
Vlog Quality The Vlog format succeeds in its mix of personal intimacy with informative ideas
Narrative Clarity The digital story conveys a journey that has a clear and consistent tone, is well organized and delivers an engaging narrative
Host Personalities The host personalities – through their words, actions and emotions – are focused and deeply engaging

MEDIA COMMAND

Criteria 1-10
Visualization The choice of how to present the story and the quality of the visual mode reflect a thoughtful professionalism
Editing The digital story is edited cleanly and effectively, resulting in an engaging viewing experience
Sound and Music The sound design choices enhance the audience’s engagement with the vlog

HUMAN SKILLS COMMAND (for teacher’s only)

Criteria 1-10
Collaborative Thinking The group demonstrated flexibility in making compromises and valued the contributions of each group member
Creativity and Innovation The group brainstormed many inventive ideas and was able to evaluate, refine and implement them effectively
Initiative and Self-Direction The group set attainable goals, worked independently and managed their time effectively, demonstrating a disciplined commitment to the project

Essential Questions

  1. How is technology shaping human society and what are the ramifications for the future?
  2. What are the essential components of a select, relevant technology and how do those parts work together to shape behavior?
  3. How does technology personally affect the daily life of the student and what are the consequences, positive and negative?
  4. How does one create a vlog – a personal, theme-based narrative – that is both informative and engaging?
  5. How has immersion in the creation of original content and the production of digital media – exercising one’s creativity, critical thinking and digital literacy skills – deepened the overall educational experience?
  6. How has working on a team – practicing one’s collaborative skills – changed the learning experience?

Student Proficiencies

  1. The student will explore the macro issues emanating from the evolving and complex relationship between humanity and technology.
  2. The student will analyze the component parts of one topical technology and deduce how that singular technology is plausibly shaping human interactions.
  3. The student will create a greater awareness about their own relationship to their select technology and technology in general.
  4. The student will know the challenging narrative elements that go into creating an engaging and informative vlog.
  5. The student will utilize key Human Skills, with a focus on creativity, critical thinking and digital literacy, in their process of articulating their ideas into an engaging visual narrative.
  6. The student will have an increased awareness of the challenges and rewards of team collaboration. Collaboration – the ability to work with others – is considered one of the most important 21stcentury skills to develop in students as they prepare for life after secondary school.

Curricular Correlations – C3 Framework and Common Core

The New Tech Perspectives: A Vlog Challenge addresses a range of curricular objectives that have been articulated by two nationally recognized sources:

  1. The C3 Framework published by the National Council for Social Studies; and
  2. Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts

Below please find the standards that are being addressed, either wholly or in part. 

C3 Framework – NCSS

D1.1.6-8. Explain how a question represents key ideas in the field. D1.1.9-12. Explain how a question reflects an enduring issue in the field.
D1.2.6-8. Explain points of agreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question. D1.2.9-12. Explain points of agreement and disagreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question.
D2.Civ.6.6-8. Describe the roles of political, civil, and economic organizations in shaping people’s lives. D2.Civ.6.9-12. Critique relationships among governments, civil societies, and economic markets.
D2.Civ.14.6-8. Compare historical and contemporary means of changing societies, and promoting the common good. D2.Civ.14.9-12. Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
D2.Eco.1.6-8. Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society. D2.Eco.1.9-12. Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
D2.Geo.4.6-8. Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places. D2.Geo.4.9-12. Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
D2.Geo.7.6-8. Explain how changes in transportation and communication technology influence the spatial connections among human settlements and affect the diffusion of ideas and cultural practices. D2.Geo.7.9-12. Analyze the reciprocal nature of how historical events and the spatial diffusion of ideas, technologies, and cultural practices have influenced migration patterns and the distribution of human population.
D2.His.2.6-8 – Classify series of historical events and developments as examples of change and/or continuity. NA

 

Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts

Standard Grade 8 Grades 9-10 Grades 11-12
Writing 1

 

Text Types and Purposes

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Writing 2

 

Text Types and Purposes

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Speaking & Listening 1

 

Comprehension and Collaboration

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Speaking & Listening 4

 

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
Speaking & Listening 5

 

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

 

Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

 

Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

 

Speaking & Listening 6

 

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Language 1

 

Conventions of Standard English

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.