Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Research Based Digital Stories

Students in the Introduction to Environmental Studies course (ENVL 1011) were asked to create short digital ethnographies on what it means for a product to be "green". Each student was assigned a product a category and was told to create the digital story using their Nokia N95 to collect images, video, and audio. The stories were then assembled using Adobe Premiere Elements. The stories incorporated concepts and frameworks of sustainability that we discussed were discussed in class, with their own concepts of what it means for something to be good for the environment.

Two of the three examples presented here use stop animation. I was pleasantly suprised by the creativity that students used in developing these stories. I believe that the digtial story structure encouraged these students to put more time and thought into the project than would have been the case with a traditional powerpoint presentation to the class.




Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mini-Documentaries for Public Policy Advocacy

The Introduction to Public Policy course is designed to give students an understanding of the dimensions of public policy studies in the areas of policy analysis and policy advocacy. Using Nokia N95s students were required to participate in a class video blog on public policy issues. In addition to writing a public policy analysis paper, the students were also required to interview a person who has been affected by the public policy issue they were examining. This interview was then used as the basis of a mini-documentary, that was meant to present the policy advocacy element of their presentation.

An example of these mini-documentaries can be seen below:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Congratulations Jacie!

This is a non-curriculum example of using the mobile device in an academic setting. Seton Hall values what is referred to at our school as "servant leadership". This is leadership in service to the broader community. As part of this focus, each year the University selects the students who best embody the spirit of servant leadership and present them with an award. This year, one of our Environmental Studies majors received the 2009 Student Servant Leader Award. Unfortunately, Jacie is not from New Jersey and therefore her family was unable to attend the ceremony. Using the Nokia N95 and the Flixwagon application, I was able to live stream the presentation of the award to Jacie for her family to view online. The video is also archived online and can be embeded in the format below on any webpage.

This is a good example of how mobile devices can provide benefits in higher education, by providing a simple and instantaneous connection between students and their family members. Creating a stronger bond between the University and the broader Seton Hall family.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Live Streaming an Out of Classroom Learning Experience

As part of my Introduction to Environmental Studies course, I take students on various weekend field trips. One of the elements of the course is to introduce students to the diverse, and often unexpected, natural wonders throughout New Jersey. To this end, students read, among other works, John McPhee's "The Pine Barrens" and Robert Sullivan's "The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City". We then take weekend field trips to these places and experience what is discussed in the books. The Meadowlands trip is one of the more popular with students due in large part to the wonderfully entertaining and educational ecotours provided by The Hackensack Riverkeeper. Unfortunately, since these trips take place on weekends, some of the students are unable to attend. This fall, my course was a pilot program for a new mobile computing program, SHUmobile, at Seton Hall University. This program is exploring the use of smartphones as teaching and learning devices. Using the Nokia N95s that students were provided through this pilot program, we were able to live stream video from the boat. Students who were unable to attend could view the ecotour live or watched archived clips at a later date. The livestreaming was made possible by a free mobile software application called Qik.

In addition to the live streaming video, some students took geo-tagged photos using their N95s, which has a built in GPS unit, and the Nokia Location Tagger application. Click here to see the photos displayed on a map using OVI.

The video clips from the ecotour are posted below.

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P.S. Since this time I have been using another free application called FlixWagon, which like Qik allows you to livestream video, but will also archive the recorded video directly onto your OVI channel.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Creating Reflective Digital Stories to Examine the Role of Place in Environmental Outllook

The connection between personal memory and the intensity of feelings about the natural environment plays a large role in the development of one's environmental consciousness. Students were asked to identify a place in nature that holds some strong personal memories for them. Using Nokia N95s, the students were required to capture still photos of this place and were asked to reflect on what made this place important to them. Using Adobe Premiere Elements, the students constructed digital stories that explained the role this place has played in developing their own environmental consciousness.

The Arthur Kill

Clover Lakes

Wildcat Ridge

Delaware River

"The Pond"

"The Beach"

"My Backyard"

Two more examples from the Fall 2010 class, which used the Nokia N97 and Premiere Elements.



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