During the 2008-2009 academic year, Dr. Michael Taylor, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies, has been one of the faculty leaders of SHUmobile, our campus-wide initiative for determining how mobile devices can be effectively used in teaching, learning, and social networking for the campus community. Dr. Taylor has incorporated mobile devices (Nokia N95), digital storytelling, blogging/vlogging (video blogging) and live video streaming in two of his courses: Introduction to Environmental Studies and Introduction to Public Policy.
In the Fall of 2008, students in Dr Taylor’s Introduction to Environmental Studies course worked on two digital storytelling projects. The first project, “New Jersey Environmental Narratives,” involved students creating digital stories about a place in New Jersey that has been especially important in terms of shaping their own attitudes toward the natural environment. Dr. Taylor feels that
“the creation of these personal narratives of place allowed for a deeper discussion of the roles of culture and world view in the development of environmental consciousness and that these reflective stories that were created and shared among the students led to a better understanding of each other and themselves.”
Students were required to geo-code their images and all of the digital stories were linked to their spatial location using Google Maps. Future Environmental Studies classes will build upon this map/database of special environmental locations in the state of New Jersey. Examples of these digital storytelling projects can be found on Dr. Taylor’s blog, Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom.
The second digital storytelling project for this course was called “Green Consumer Ethnographies.” Students were required to create short digital ethnographies that detailed their feelings about what it means for a specific product to be “green” and how that impacts their purchasing decisions. The digital ethnographies were created using images (still and/or video) captured using the Nokia N95and compiled using Adobe Premiere Elements. This project was done in conjunction with EarthSense, a green marketing firm in Maplewood, NJ. Kimberly Franko, a student from this class, recently won the Student Technology Showcase award from the TLTR Committee in the Media category for her work on this project. Check out Kimberly’s winning video:
During Dr. Taylor’s Environmental Studies course, he also takes students on weekend field trips to various New Jersey environmental locations. Because these trips are on the weekends, not all students are able to attend. This time, Dr. Taylor took his students on the Meadowlands ecotour and with a free mobile application called Qik, he was able to livestream the tour from the boat. Students that were unable to attend the trip could view the steam live or were able to view the captured video clips at a later time. Additionally, students on the trip used their N95s to take geo-tagged photos during the ecotour and those can be seen, mapped using OVI, here.
In the Spring of 2009, students in Dr. Taylor’s Introduction to Public Policy collaborated with a course blog where students blogged/vlogged about public policy positions. Students used the Nokia N95s to record their own video commentaries that were uploaded directly to the blog from the device. Students also wrote a term paper that analyzed a public policy issue of their choice. The Nokia N95s were used to conduct interviews with individuals who are affected by that public policy. Students then used Adobe Premiere Elements to cut the interviews into mini-documentaries. The mini-documentaries are being graded as you are reading this but you can see examples of student public policy position posts on the course blog, for example, this student post is about the New NJ Driving Law.