Create, Express, and Learn With Primary Sources

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Lucie deLaBruere

Feb 20, 2009, 11:20:59 PM2/20/09
to Friday 5
This week, I'd like to share some powerful web resources that have the
power to engage students using digital tools and the desire today's
youth have to express themselves, all while using the increasing
amount of primary source materials available online.

As an educator who believes that teaching students to honor
intellectual property, I'm always looking for sites that include
materials students can use to create multimedia. Fair use guidelines
gives us some flexibility in using multimedia inside our classroom.
But in the world of Web 2.0, the audience for these media projects has
expanded outside our classroom, with more and more interest to
authentic global audiences. All one has to do is look at the
popularity of You Tube and other video sharing sites to know that
young people are highly motivated to express themselves to audiences
outside our classroom. Thanks to the Creative Commons license, more
and more materials are available online that students can use to
create and publish their multimedia productions for a global audience.

But this week, I'd like to share 5 sites that go one step further than
Creative Commons materials. These sites host primary source materials
and encourage young people to use them to produce and publish their
own creations. Some even include online tools to help students with
the process.


This site was created by a voter registration organization who
wanted to keep the young people they registered involved and engaged.
To do this, they provided them with free online tools and raw
materials through “America Now” and “America Then” playlists. Remix
America encourages students to draw parallels between the present and
the past. They hope that viewing seminal speeches and events from
American History will inspire young people to express themselves and
take action on the issues that matter to them.

Teachers around America have stumbled upon the software and
incorporated into their classroom. One teacher asked her students to
take a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and apply it to the 2008
election. Another asked her students to create PSAs on the issues that
matter most to them – censorship, war, civil rights. You can browse
through “Favorite Remixes” section to see some of these great remixes!


NASA has done something similar to engage students in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics. The NASA's Do-It-Yourself
Podcast activity provides students with audio clips, video, and photos
related to space. Students can use the NASA materials produce their
own audio or video productions.


PrimaryAccess is a web-based tool that offers teachers and
students access to digital images and other materials that enable them
to construct movies using tools provided by the web site.

Althought many of the primary source materials are photograph and
still images, the tools provided on the website allows students to add
motions to create a movie effect. I fist learned about Primary Access
while listening to Glen Bull's presentation during the 2008 K-12
online conference.


This project is slightly different in that it not only provides
the raw materials for students to produce a video, but also complete
an advocacy event. The project requires schools to register and the
topic is more focused. According to the project web site “Each year,
Take 2 shoots 2-3 months of high definition footage in a different
conflict region and creates extensive supporting and background
documentation then licenses the package free of charge to qualified
educational institutions. Participating schools will complete one
small task to help grow Take 2’s infrastructure and undertake at least
one advocacy event upon completion of their projects


This website is not yet populated with lots of materials, but
has promise in offering students free, educational, copyright-friendly
media resources. According to the project website “Students and
teachers around the world can access pre-made collections, or "kits,"
of various digital assets - still images, background music,
narratives, video and text. Each kit is built around a common theme,
or curricular topic. For students, this becomes the construction paper
of the 21st century --allowing them to create reports and projects
filled with rich, immersive media for communicating their vision of
whatever subjects they chose. AS they master the technology, they will
progress from building projects with supplied materials to projects
where they find or create their own resources -- a strategy that
results in truly authentic assessment as measured by the projects
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