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Final Project Topic: a shift in direction

Thinking that our final project ideas was supposed to be blogged last week, I briefly posted my final project before realizing that it was not due until this week. I then, thankfully, removed it (ahh, the power of the digital medium: you can take your words back). Here was my original idea for the final project:

“I’m shooting for the stars here, but I wanted to make a 5 minute concise history of Latin American History that can serve as a ‘previewing’ activity for teachers before they formally introduce it in class…Breakdown: 1 min. Intro, 5 minute video (with a 30 second intermission), and a 30 second conclusion for a total of 7 minutes…The heart of the project would be the 5 minute history of Latin America…I will also talk very fast as the pace will be in the frenetic style, as we saw in our first class with the video by Doug Walls (minus the sarcasm, but with occasional humor). The reason for this style is that I counted at least 62 topics (that’s about 5 seconds per topic).”

So why change it? In our in-class peer conversation, Andrea and Susan brought up 2 excellent points.

  • One, movies work better when you diversify the length of each section. In order for me to pull off the entire history of Latin America, each section would have flashed by too quickly without too many chances for reflection.
  • Two, although the idea was to produce a useful tool for educators, the sheer effort at trying to cover too much might end up producing a video that says too little? What’s the story? What is the emotional punch? Isn’t it simply a lecture?

That last question made me realize that my original idea embodies all that is wrong in the typical approach of high school and undergrad-survey History instructors: covering too much! Our history curriculum is typically a mile-wide and an inch thick, but efforts at producing a a more-focused curriculum 100 yards wide and 10 feet thick yields a more engaged learning environment and better evidence of meaningful results. So, here is my revised final project idea… more…

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