19 December 2011

If I could do it again

I would not do the project with 9th graders, much less a class of 25 9th graders (well, 2 juniors and a sophomore are among them). They need a stronger foundation in the language and more maturity. Perhaps Spanish I could assist a more advanced class.

I would spring for fewer cameras that cost more. The Coby Snapp 5002 was a pain to work with, including one that totally refused to turn on after only a few days out of the box. It constantly sent up file errors and said the memory was full when it wasn't. Students had to record and re-record, maybe just because they didn't wait for more than a minute to begin recording the next video. And the whole requiring memory cards to be formatted as antiquated FAT file systems instead of even FAT-16 or 32 set us back two days unnecessarily.

I would have more time. It took long enough to figure out how to set things up in a way that students would be able to convey something worthwhile with their halfway-through-Spanish-I Spanish. And the whole trying to get it done before break/baby being born certainly didn't help matters. I set the due date before the shipment was supposed to go out (and even before the shipping folk ended up showing up the day before they'd told me they would), but I need also to have time to review submissions AND give feedback ahead of time. Also, I would take some of that time, too, to familiarize myself with what we ordered and how to use it, since I now know that things that look like a Flip are not necessarily as...user friendly...as a Flip. Also, there would be no reason for students to have cameras out at all anymore, much less to leave them at home when the shipping guy comes early.

I would require more fundraising if we were over $20 away from the shipping goal. Or take things out until what we had raised matched what we needed to send. It is just not a good time to have to pay much out-of-pocket to compensate for something that should have been more their responsibility.

Right now, I really feel defeated by this project. There are some pictures on some of the cameras, so the kids at La Laja may learn something about what it's like here. There are still 3 (out of 5) cameras on their way to Colombia as we speak, along with over 100 lbs of clothing and school supplies that students collected. No, they still could not count the money out for the shipping guy, and no, the kids in Colombia may not be able to watch the movies kids made on the cameras and have to wait for someone from Ayudando Ando to bring a laptop to see much of anything. And 3 out of 5 groups were unable to achieve better than the minimum expectations for group collaboration according to our school's group work rubric.

But maybe they'll come through with the scrapbook idea they had, and maybe they'll come up with the funds to send it with the other camera(s?).

And maybe we'll still get really cool videos from the kids in Colombia and have some really interesting Skypes  with the kids there.