The Hollywood Treatment at NECC

June 28, 2009 1 min read

Here’s a report from the National Educational Computing Conference from guest blogger and Digital Directions intern Tim Ebner:

NECC ‘09 kicked off Sunday with a Hollywood-style awards show complete with freshly popped popcorn. This ed-tech version of the Oscars featured digital shorts produced and edited by students and teachers from across the country.

Each video demonstrated the many ways that multimedia tools can be used to engage students in creative learning environments. One of the videos, “Library 2.0: Surviving in a Digital World,” used Chroma Key imaging to superimpose students within historical settings, so that they could re-enact wars and important battles throughout American history. In this role, the students themselves were experiencing and living out the history they had only read in a textbook.

The awards show’s emcee was ed-tech guru and NPR contributor Mario Armstrong, who came dressed for the event, sporting a red and black “Star Trek” uniform. Armstrong welcomed the crowd with a Vulcan salute and talked about the potential uses of video as a technology tool for the future.

“We still haven’t seen videos’ ultimate impact,” said Armstrong. “If you think about the Internet and all of its text-based uses, teachers naturally gravitated toward it. Now, you can make the Internet much more video-based, by tagging materials, archiving clips, and opening up materials to creative-commons licensing, so I think we have yet to see what video can do in the classroom.”

Armstrong also noted that so many students, as part of the digital generation, easily grasp the complexities of video and multimedia tools. That means it’s often the students showing their teachers something new about the technology.

Like all good awards shows, the ed-tech celebration ended with the announcement of a winner. From among the four videos screened and selected by ISTE, which sponsors NECC, the crowd voted using interactive clickers to select their favorite digital story as “Best Picture.”

And the winner … Karen Rose and her 3rd grade class from the Melissa, Texas, school district, singing a parody of a Madonna song—“Living in a Digital World.”

To see a full listing of digital story contestants and contributors, visit the channel page of ISTE Vision. Throughout the week, this site will also be posting video from inside the conference here in Washington.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.