I can’t take it anymore! I give up! Ever since my class went Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in September, these monsters won’t stop taking pictures! All they want to do is take Selfies! They Photobomb me all the time! They draw on me in Snapchats! They even sneak pictures of me when I’m not looking! What’s worse? They share them all over Twitter, Facebook, and who knows where else! Look at the horrible pictures they’ve shared:
This summer, I was approached by two students who I’ve never taught. They told me they had heard that I was good with “all that tech stuff” and wondered if I would be willing to help them with something. They had an idea. Instead of having the morning announcements read over the intercom, they wanted to turn the announcements into a TV show. Would I help them?
I said, yes.
As with all great ideas, they started off too big. They wanted to do a show everyday of the week. And, like all great ideas, there were some serious obstacles to overcome; we don’t have a TV studio, nor any equipment. Instead of letting that stop them, these girls became more motivated. They problem solved. In the end, what they’ve created is a DIY, BYOD, weekly TV show.
Every other day (we are on a rotating block), they come to my classroom and prepare for a show that they film with the help of other students who aren’t graded and receive nothing for their time and effort (they help because it’s fun), using a camera that someone loans them, and the morning the show is suppose to air, I go to YouTube, get the link, and e-mail it to all the teachers who, in turn, play it for their homerooms. These students work without my interference. I leave them alone. I don’t preview their work, I don’t approve their work, but every other week we sit down and talk about what is working in the show, what could be done better, and ideas for future shows.
Here is the best part: the show has taken on a life of it’s own and changed the culture of our school. Instead of being about morning announcements, the show is more about the students and the great things they are doing here at Barnegat high school. The girls interview students in the halls, at sporting events, and practices. They host contests, interview staff, make music videos, preview upcoming events, and all kinds of other fun things.
Everyone looks forward to seeing the Bengal Buzz, as they called it, every Wednesday. It has even spread out of the school and become a town-wide thing. Parents are watching it at home, even the mayor, and the entire community now has a way to find out the great things our students are doing. This TV show has become a positive PR machine and the difference in the hallways is palpable. Our school has become a better place to be because two students wanted to make a TV show.
It is amazing what happens when we say yes to students. Chances are they want to do something great, we just have to get out of their way. A little change that you can make in your school that may have a huge impact on your school’s culture? A DIY, student run TV show. I am so proud of these girls for what they’ve created and the legacy the have left behind, as other students have already signed on to continue this tradition when they graduate. I’m also excited because the host, Olivia, has told me this is the career she wants to pursue. It just warms the cockles of my Teched Up heart.
Here is my favorite show so far, and you can find their YouTube channel here!
I love teaching English because most of what we do is subjective. In English, you get to bring your prior knowledge and experience to a reading and examine a text not just in the way the author may have intended, but how you personally interpret it as well. This leads to great discussions, impassioned arguments, and, hopefully, new perspectives, ideas, and opinions.
But as much as I love the subjective nature of teaching English, I have an obsession with data, statistics, and analytics. Probably because I love extrapolating subjective questions from concrete information. For instance, Google Analytics tells me the average visitor to my site stays for 2:27. That fact fascinates me. I’ve stayed awake at night, long after I wish I could have fallen asleep, wondering why. Am I a terrible writer? Is it because this site is only a few months old? Is it because of the shrinking American attention span? Wait… how does 2:27 compare to other sites? While i’m still trying to figure out the answers to those questions, the newest data I’ve collected gives plenty of opportunities for speculation. Here is the data from my first day of school!