I am currently helping my son and a friend from Wisconsin write a fan-faction story that they have written and posted to fanfiction.net. It started as text messages and has expanded into a Wikispace with a java chat applet where they role-play the characters and write their story. It has been fascinating to watch and at times participate with them.
Last Friday, our organization had a technology workshop called, “Mission Possible.” We were divided into groups and given instructions to create a digital story. Since I was already in the mindset of writing stories, this was a fun undertaking for me as a participant and a skill that I would like to hone as an educational consultant.
Yesterday, I was introduced to a new website and free program called Muvi Zu. This free downloadable software allows users to create 3D animated movies using their own scripts and voices. The animated characters mouths move in sync with a recorded script. Multiple characters can be added and each can have his or her own voice. The software is almost too good to be true, but I will tell you the possibilities are endless. Here is a video overview of Muvi Zu.
I have seen first hand what happens when students are given the freedom to express themselves using the media tools at their disposal. The keyword is “freedom”. Can you as an Administrator, IT Director, or Teacher allow students to use Web 2.0 tools, apps and downloadable programs? I will say that when we try to stifle their creativity, they will find ways in spite of us to express themselves. Why not give them the access to the tools and the freedom to be creative? My son’s fan fiction is a prime example. The link to their story about Star Wars has been sent to Lucas Arts. Who knows where it will go from there? Even if nothing comes of it, the experience and the confidence boost that it has given both of them has been tremendous to say the least. Who knows? You may have the next George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, or J.J. Abrams sitting in your classroom. How incredible would it be if that creative genius becomes an award-winning author, movie producer or screen play writer and dedicates their award to you, the teacher who saw their potential and gave them the chance to express themselves in your classroom?
Think about it…