Collaborative Video Projects: The Power of a Student Newscast

Image source: Brenda Bernal

One way to promote student engagement is by providing students with real-world hands-on learning experiences. An excellent way to do this is through student-produced video projects.

In 2008, Mary Anne Peters, Julianne Burgess, Elizabeth Sadler, and Zachary Arlow created the LINC for Youth Photography Project and LINC for Youth Video Project at Mohawk College to help newcomer youth learn English in a collaborative environment. The foundation of these unique classes is grounded in multiliteracies theory, youth culture, and technology. At the College, I teach in LINC Youth Video Project (LYVP) with my teaching partner, Emily Imbrogno, and media technician, Zachary Arlow. LYVP is targeted to newcomers ages 18-25, with Canadian Language Benchmarks 4-5. LYVP has students create video projects on topics connected to newcomer youth experiences and interests.

 Some short group video projects students have created include

  • commercials and public service announcements
  • instructional videos to complete a process
  • short films
  • video definitions

           In addition, every year LYVP students work collaboratively to create a major video project that examines matters important to them. From January – May 2019, LYVP students made a news broadcast. The process is outlined below.

The first task in making the newscast involved asking students to identify issues newcomer youth wanted to learn more about and could be shared in a video to a larger audience. Once students narrowed down the topic choices, the class was divided into groups of 4-5 students to generate a list of research questions for their topic. Groups then did research to find answers using library and online resources. Through this process, students learned about citing sources, and utilized note taking and summarization strategies to gather information. Students then took their questions and conducted on-camera interviews, using Nikon cameras, with college students and instructors.

Using their video footage and research, each group was able to organize and piece together a news story. Once their individual news stories were formulated, groups wrote narration and shot additional video footage to bring the stories together and edited them using iMovie on Mac computers. Finally, music, special effects, and text were added to make the stories complete.

In total, the class created five different news stories and brought them together with two student anchors to build a 20-minute news broadcast!

Our broadcast included the following feature stories:

  • Sponsorship to Canada – examining the experiences of instructors and students who were part of this process
  • Smart phone technology use by newcomer youth
  • Challenges of intercultural dating and relationships in Canada
  • Identifying the most important holiday in Canada
  • Exploring food choices of college students

 A student from the class drew a promotional poster for the screening of the newscast. This poster was sent in email invitations to guests and displayed in the College.

On May 2, 2019, LYVP students held the live screening of LINC News: Local Student News in the college performing arts theatre. Two students from the class emceed  the event. The news broadcast was shown on three large screens in the theatre to an audience of 100 people, comprised of students, educators, staff, and community members. After showcasing the newscast, LYVP students took questions and comments from the audience pertaining to their project and learning experience, which required them to take in, think, and reply in English on the spot!

Once the screening was finished, students were asked to complete reflective questionnaires, which gave insight to teachers of what students learned and enjoyed doing during the project as well as the challenges they experienced.

Video projects like this not only allow students to actively develop their English communication skills, but also help them to develop their knowledge in

  • digital technology and video production
  • research
  • interviewing
  • teamwork
  • time management
  • problem solving
  • presentation / public speaking

Since joining LYVP in 2012, I have noticed that these video projects promote student engagement, student success, and the opportunity for learners to use skills that are integral to their education and work. These projects create opportunities for newcomer youth to use their voices to advocate for themselves on the issues that matter to them. It’s empowering!

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