Published on Feb 27, 2017

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I, Too, Am America

Creating Partnerships in Technology to Tell Our Stories

The Academy @ Shawnee

6-12 School of Native English Speakers

School Within a School

The ESL Newcomer Academy 

Opportunity Awaits

The Library is a bridge between these two schools.

I want to create opportunities for students to meet and learn about each others' cultures

-Make space for awareness about the struggles of refugees and immigrants

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Day of the Dead Celebration
-Mexican students teach Shawnee students about their culture through the arts and traditions of Day of the Dead
-ESL students were the experts
-Shawnee students had a wonderful time and learned a lot about one Mexican holiday
-The collaboration wasn't long enough to form relationships
-students still gravitated towards existing friend groups

Remove Anonymity

How can we create an opportunity to celebrate more than one culture at a time?

How can the ESL students become the experts and not categorized by a deficit?

-Many times the ESL students are lumped into one group "English language learners"

How Do We Accentuate

Each Individual's Story?
How do we remove the anonymity that is only heigtened by a language barrier?

How Can We

What tool can we provide to ESL students to be able to tell their stories?

Also, what scaffolds will they need?
Photo by Joybot

An Idea Emerges

Steve Swan suggested something amazing.

Can we help ESL students tell the story of their journey to America using an app called Touchcast?

-This app allows for pictures, maps, websites, and video to be embedded into the video, making stories interactive and more powerful.

Partner Students

From Both Schools To Tell The Story of Their Journey
We loved the Touchcast idea but wanted to take it one step further:
-Partner students from Shawnee with ESL students to provide individual help with language translation, pronunciation, and technological help.
-Shawnee Students become the video producers
-ESL students are the experts
-Both groups benefit culturally and linguistically

I, Too, Am

Is Reborn
Inspired by the Langston Hughes poem, that describes the common experience of African Americans facing discrimination and marginalization, yet are able to still feel patriotic towards America.

So too with our students, quieted by a language barrier and discriminated against by society, with this project, we can now hear their voices a little bit louder and appreciate their persepectives.
Photo by mdghty

Bringing Collaborators On Board

  • Ms. Feria - Shawnee Spanish Teacher
  • Mr. Bookstrom & Mr. Mesa - ESL Teachers
  • Steve Swan - As a Tech Resource
  • Ms. Merkel and Ms. Young - Instructional Resource Teachers
Photo by bsmith4815

First Attempt

Our First Attempt would include these steps:
-Partner ESL and Shawnee students.
-Shawnee students interview their ESL partners with a list of possible interview questions
-Form the interview Q&A into a narrative
-Enter Narrative into TouchCast
-Add pictures (vapps)
-Edit and Publish to library's social media
Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Learning TouchCast

With Steve Swan, A Real College Professor
In order to learn the app, we brought in Steve Swan from UofL to teach students how the app worked.

Engagement levels were quite high knowing they were being taught by an actual college professor.

Partners Meet

ESL Students' Stories with Shawnee Students as Video Producers
Photo by just.Luc

Breaking the Ice

We knew we needed to have students do a few ice breakers before settling down to work
-We did group activites like line up by height and general introductions.
Photo by WherezJeff


And Script Writing
Tips on this part of the process:
-Give the kids time
-Plan for absences
-Provide students with translation tools: google translate, bilingual dictionaries, etc.

-Groups finished at different times.
-Varrying degrees of detail in the narratives
-Image quality was also varried, some blurry, some with watermarks

First Video

Abdiwahab's Story

Adding More Features

We took time to show the class the first few videos that students created. We observed and discussed what we liked and what we could do differently in the future.

Juan Alvaro's Story

Take Two

Building on The First Expericnce
After reflecting, we knew we needed to add much more structure.

We still wanted to give students creative freedom, but we wanted to tighten up the expectations and the timetable.

We also wanted to gauge students' feelings about this project in a more intentional way.
Photo by Chuckumentary

Shawnee Student Surveys

Before meeting, both groups of students were introduced to the project and given pre surveys to measure their feelings about this project.

We also wanted to find out how (or if) students used technology to support their own learning.

Over 55% of Shawnee reported to be excited to work with an ESL partner

50% of ESL students reported to be excited to work with a Shawnee partner

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ESL Student Surveys

Student Created Rubric

After the survey, the Shawnee students watched and discussed several of the videos. We then created a rubric together that would outline our expectations for the project.

Now, we have a common reference point for quality and expectations

Introduce Partners

Give students a little time to chat and get to know one another.
Photo by JD Hancock

Breaking the Ice

Take Two
This time, we changed it up with 3 different ice breakers.

We wanted students to see that they shared many things in common

First: "Nice to Meet you, gotta go"

Second: "Stand up, Sit Down"

Last: "Share Your Fears"

Things to remember: Muslim girls can't shake hands with boys. Maybe change up that first icebreaker

Q&A Narratives

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We noticed that students would finish a task and then stop working. We added a checklist for all the many parts of the project.

Filming Appointment

Students choose their time to film
This allows students to reflect on their progress and estimate the time they need to complete their work.

Also adds a sense of urgency to meet their self imposed deadline.

Photo by louisvolant

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A kit like this can be purchased for about $150 on Amazon. Or...
Photo by Wesley Fryer

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You can make your own with green fabric, paint, or paper.

Uses in School?

Possible Student Uses

  • News Broadcasts
  • Informational Videos
  • Presentations
  • Documentation of PBL Work
  • Testimonials
  • And Much more!

Uses for Teachers

  • School Communications
  • Annotating Videos
  • Tutorial Creation
  • Videos for a Flipped Classroom
  • Livestreaming Videos
Photo by Mrs4duh

Stay in Touch:

Photo by Tom Raftery