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Background image by anarchosyn

Friday, May 29, 2015


As part of my modernization theme, I ask kids to take a look at the issues behind the most ubiquitous item in modern day life - the cellphone (and tablet and soon-to-be watch). For the purpose of this mini-unit we focus exclusively on Apple products, although I stress that much of what they learn can be found in products made by other companies.

They begin by reading links and watching videos about rare earth minerals in week one and then transition into the factories that actually make the products in week two. I try to pace this so that I have a whole group discussions (the groups range in number from six to eight students) once per class to help clear up misconceptions and answer specific questions from the readings. The page with all of the materials can be found here: Gizmos.

During week three the groups begin to create their mini-documentaries using Mozilla Popcorn. I share this rubric with them, and we spend a portion of class going over all of the aspects. I provide suggestions for how to organize their work, but ultimately leave it up to each group to decide what structure works best.

When all is said and done, I end up with decent final products that I share with the other classes and teachers and parents. One of the biggest obstacles is that Mozilla Popcorn doesn't read HTML5 very well, which is the new standard format of YouTube videos. Also, as you can see below, if the owner of a video decides to remove it or make it private - you've lost it in your remix.

(Yes, I am aware - as are the students now - that the picture that starts the second video is not accurate.)

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