Student Produced Video Field Trips


6 - Before: Student Pre-Program Prep ↓

Make sure each student knows his/her role. Roles you may need, depending on the location:

  • "Security" to keep things/people from accidentally entering the camera shot or creating excessive background noise
  • Prop managers to make sure all needed items are present and return to school
  • Graphic designers to make/handle posterboard credits or titles
  • Tech checker to call a contact (viewing) classroom to be sure the video is streaming before the show begins. Tech checker should keep the cell on vibrate in case the contact classroom calls back to report a problem.
  • Scriptwriters/prompters to hold cue cards or pantomime hints
  • Laptop operator (and cord helper?)- can trade off
  • Camera operator and person to hold/move wires as the camera moves. Can trade off if using a tripod.
  • Microphone/audio person ( also warns everyone when audio is going "live" during tech checks.
  • On-camera interviewers, reporters, commentators. Include as many as possible, placing them in their locations at the start and having the camera move TO them.
  • Your school principal or assistant principal to "open" the show
  • Anchorperson/people to narrate, provide background explanations, and "send" the camera to the next segment. Ideally, this student should be comfortable handling the unexpected.
  • Chat watcher to relay questions from the laptop to the on-camera people for responses during the Q/A portion of the show
  • Director to officially start the show then follow the script and (silently) direct the flow where camera where it should go and CUE speakers (silently) when they should begin to speak. Ideally, this student should be comfortable handling the unexpected and should be tolerant of others' mistakes.

Every student should know where he/she is to be physically located throughout the show, what he/she is expected to do, and to wait for an "all clear" from both the director and the teacher before breaking into noise at the end. If you worry about "extracurricular" behavior, require those waiting to be ready to contribute a question during Q/A if none come in from chat.

close ↑

Obtain signed permission slips ↓

All students involved in creating the video field trip, including those writing, acting, running the camera, etc. should have a signed permission slip granting permission for them/their work to be placed online BOTH live and in archived format after the broadcast. This slip can accompany a letter inviting parents to watch live or later. Be sure to include the URL for your channel so they can locate the streaming broadcast. Here is a template (Word doc) you can customize to your needs.

close ↑

Rehearse, but don’t lose spontaneity ↓

  • Share a diagram of the site layout so students know what to expect
  • Run through the broadcast sequence informally in your classroom in advance so students practice their roles. Use the actual words and signals they should expect as cues, such as "quiet on the set," etc. Use cue cards or notecards as reminders of content without word for word "reading" of the lines. Have someone play the role of interviewees and intentionally say or do something unexpected.
  • When students make mistakes or get "stuck" during the run-through, emphasize the need to KEEP GOING during a live broadcast. If they don't know it already, teach them what it means to help each other ad lib during a glitch.
  • Resist the urge to the "in charge" and allow the students to work out problems for themselves.
  • As much as possible, have students be in charge during the run through. Your role is to help with unexpected problems outside their control and to re-cue if necessary. To give suggestions, have them "freeze" in place for your directions then pick up where they left off.
  • Share common signals, such as a hand behind the ear to ask people to speak up or repeat something that could not be heard.

close ↑




Photos taken during a video field trip by Merriwether Lewis Elementary, Portland, Oregon in celebration of Earth Day 2009.