January 2013
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Film Project Application as Proof of Learning: Information Processing, Senses, and Windows Live Movie Maker
Christine Sabieh, Notre Dame University, Indiana, USA

The educator is often faced with the dilemma of uncertainty. The students are taught; they practice; they assimilate, reflect, and build confidence in their sense of knowing how to communicate teaching material effectively. But the question remains: Will the students do so when faced with teaching in the “real” setting: Will they do what they have been mentored and/or molded to do, or will they just fall into the established education setup they have been employed in to follow—using predetermined instructional methods, lesson plans, and activities?

I believe that the educator has a responsibility to mentor students to become advocates of reform when teaching/learning setups need reform. For such students to be nurtured, the educator must plan that students work on self-efficacy, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Students need to feel secure with the material, be able to critically think about it, plan how to apply it, reflect on it, and judge the effectiveness of the whole exercise. These students need to be able to meet the needs of their future students; these students need to be able to teach, facilitate, and mentor their students’ learning. Simply put, these students need to know how to apply the learning theories and conditions at any moment in a teaching/learning setting to reach out and touch each future student’s learning endeavor. This, I believe, is the responsibility of the educator.

In a pre-post teacher development class, I used the information processing theory, specifically the encoding and retrieval phases, as a strategy to enhance students' learning and understanding of learning theory application in the classroom. Combining the use of senses and projecting the main learning theories in classroom processes, the 25 students created short films using Windows Movie Maker. The purpose of the activity was to have the students show understanding of learning theories by integrating how information in the environment gets coded and used. The students were allowed to use all the senses in creating their film, but they were not allowed, on tape, to verbally communicate, explain, or interpret what the images portrayed for the viewers. The results showed that the students understood the content and were able to creatively communicate that. The planning, executing, and showing of this confidence building hands-on technology exercise proved to be rewarding for use in other learning quests.

As the educator, I wanted to focus on the way(s) students’ process information, how the processing leads to the response(s), and how the students treat the information that comes their way. Partnering with technology, I planned the project-based learning activity.

Aware of the teaching/learning assumptions that are drawn from the theories taught in the course, I facilitated the students’ learning journey. Each teaching of a learning theory was planned as an active goal-directed practice, with performance measures as well as confidence building, self-efficacy, and self-regulatory behavior opportunity. Students were taught the five basic learning theories: cognitive learning theory—information processing; cognitive developmental theories; behavioral theories; social learning theory; learning and motivation, and the developmental theories—moral, psychosexual, and social. The students were given 45 hours of instruction.

The students were given the following instructions to follow in creating the short films using Windows Movie Maker:

  1. Identify the key aspects of each learning theory. Use your course readings and notes to help organize your work.
  2. Think “outside the box” as to how to portray the theories through the use of your senses or images. Note: You are allowed to use your senses in creating the film, but you are not allowed, on tape, to verbally communicate, explain, or interpret what images you portray to the viewers.
  3. Familiarize yourself with Windows Movie Maker. In class, I showed you how to use it; now, you need to practice how to use it. Also, please feel free to find tutorials on how to use Movie Maker on the web.
  4. Plan film. Either select location(s) to cover video footage or camera shots for a storyboard or find appropriate websites for an educational Internet image search.
  5. Import the images, then drag and drop the needed ones in the appropriate the storyboard or timeline frames to complete the narration.
  6. Add the needed effects, music, transitions, and/or titles/credits to produce narrations.
  7. Tweak and edit work completely before saving or publishing the narration.

Two weeks later, the students showed their films in class.

Overall, the movies showed that the students had understood the course content and that they were able to creatively communicate the key issues in the learning theories. I noted that each movie was unique and clearly showed how each student processed the course content. Their motivation and determination were clearly observed as goal directed. Each endeavor, I believe, was a learning outcome success. However, the movies did depict differences in confidence, narration creativity, context selection—ready-made images or created, and in storyboard and/or timeline creativity. The differences had to do with the degrees of self-confidence the students’ acquired in using the technology, which in turn may have influenced their self-efficacy, reflection, and judgment. All the students were eager to show their work.

In conclusion, the planning, executing, and showing of such a confidence-building hands-on technology exercise proved to be rewarding for use in learning quests. I recommend the use of Movie Maker as a means to cross-check the meaning of material, to assist students in their information processing endeavor, and to help students self-regulate their learning.

Dr. Christine Sabieh, professor at Notre Dame University, is the vice president of ASIACALL and the editor-in-chief of the ASIACALL Online Journal, its fully peer-reviewed international publication. An advocate of CALL and a certified online instructor/trainer, she does education consultancy, workshops, publishes, and participates in conferences on a national, regional, and international level. She serves as a member of TESOL’s CALL-IS Steering Committee (2012–2013).

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