I am not a fan of the term, “Digital Native.” This implies that today’s students (including college students) are SO familiar with technology that they need no training. After all, they grew up with the technology, so they know how to use it, right?
Well, they know how to do recreational things. They know how to use social media and how to play games. But when you ask students to use technology for academic purposes–they struggle. They still need to be taught.
A couple of months ago, a very popular technology guru “put down” a teacher because they showed them every step to do something. “Let them figure it out on their own,” was the sage advice. I interceded for the teacher, saying that my own students seem to be incapable of following CLEAR directions (written or spoken), and do not have the initiative to figure it out on their own. The guru then attacked me, saying, “I will believe in your students even if you don’t.”
So I put it to the test. With the limited time we had with ukuleles, students only learned the C and F chords through late October (10 minutes, maximum, every-other-day). I decided to test their ability to play these chords by having them make an instructional video to teach others how to play the chord. To earn a specific grade, they had to complete specific tasks. One of the tasks at the A Level was to use picture-in-picture or split screen to show a closeup of specific chords when they were teaching how to play those chords.
Every student has access to an iPad and iMovie. How do you use split screen or picture-in-picture? Ultimately, you move your cursor in the iMovie project to where you want to add the picture-in-picture or split screen. Then you choose a second video (or the same video) to drop into place, and a “…” option allows you to choose how you want to embed that video. After the video is in place, you can reposition a picture-in-picture box, and you can even resize the image to zoom in.
How did I learn this? A 20 second search in YouTube for “picture in picture iMovie iOS.”
I didn’t give these instructions–these are digital natives, who can read the instructions, and can search using Google and YouTube, right?
I have nearly 400 students in choir. Do you know how many were able to do picture-in-picture or split screen in iMovie on iOS? NONE. I had one student that spent $6 to buy another program that would allow her to do it (and she earned an A). Otherwise, students were quite content to earn a B, as it did not require extra work or effort. 400 digital natives–and not a single one could figure it out. That educational guru sure was right!
As we continue with the ukulele in the coming months, I will show them how to do picture-in-picture and split screen in iMovie, because I want them to be able to make instructional videos not just for ukulele–but for other things they are passionate about. And I also want them to know the work that others do to prepare those videos. But I have to SHOW them, because they will not figure it out on their own (or tap into the knowledge of others on their own initiative).
Interested in using the video assessment idea to use with your own classes? (Ukulele, recorder, playing tests)? Here is a PDF of that assessment.