Human Geography Digital Storytelling Project

I want to be passionate about what I learn and I want to facilitate learning experiences for my students that do the same for them. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to produce video documentaries. I love docs because they require kids to get out into the real world to observe, to meet people, and to interact in the context of a community (theirs or someone else’s). Documentaries and other non-fiction stories are a great framework for learning because it also requires students to do research and write thoughtfully with intention and purpose. 

This isn’t just about a fun, one-off project. I’m convinced that the best way to learn anything is to experience it first hand so that you can feel it: the questions, the struggle, the people, the emotion, and the success. And if you can create a meaningful artifact along the way, even better!

I feel so strongly about this, that I published this book about it.

 

cover of the digital book "Human Geography" with a photo of a hand reaching for vegetables in a market
Cover of the digital book, Human Geography

A few years ago I led a professional development training to Guatemala, where I worked alongside teachers from the U.S. to show them how to produce documentaries and implement similar projects in their classrooms. Using only our iPhone and iPad devices, we recorded interviews, shot amazing b-roll (jargon for video clips that provide visual evidence), and edited our videos together. All of our video projects and self-reflections are embedded in the book, as well as a guide and resources for how you can create a similar project with your colleagues and students.

I’d love to hear what you think. Please share your thoughts or projects in the comments below, or on my social media account.

Tagged in: Social Studies, History, Media Literacy

All Comments

Posted on August 28, 2022

I love this book and the entire project, Michael!

So beautifully and thoughtfully designed!

Amazing work — as always! 🌟

Posted on August 28, 2022

Agree with Eoin! This is one of my favorite books, so beautifully done and a learning model for all. I feel like I was along on that professional learning trip with you - so many good tips. And the videos the teachers produced are so professional. Definitely a must read! I think teaching documentary skills is so important in social studies and in many other curricular areas. Documentary production gives students a deep dive into a subject and taps in research, interviewing, photography, writing, collaboration and team work.

Posted on August 28, 2022

Thanks, Eoin!

Posted on August 28, 2022

Thanks, Cheryl! That means a lot coming from you :)

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