In Age of Exploration this month we are all collaborating as a class to create a documentary about the Boston Tea Party, and right now we’re still trying to create a storyboard to shoot our documentary off of. Because this is a group project, we’re facing a lot of difficult problems with organization and workload- even though we’ve elected a director and split ourselves into groups. The actual core research has been simple so far, as the Boston Tea Party is widely known event that has impacted our nations history. However, figuring out how to translate the information into a storyboard and then changing it again into film has proved to be tough. One thing that makes the storyboarding and filming challenging is how difficult it is to coordinate between the groups. At first I was reluctant to take part in the project, because I think that it’s much more focused on the group and technical aspects of the project, rather than the finding information and researching. At first I though that even though the project is fun, there might have been a different end product that would have focused more on learning about the time period on then on the technical aspects. However, there have been some parts of the project that have changed my mind.
It turns out that this project has been fantastic for helping students learn about self discipline, organization, and setting their own goals. I think that our director, Karen, has done a very good job of setting goals for the group overall and also helped each of us to set our own individual goals. This project has helped me figure out that one of the best ways to manage work for a large group is to set of manageable goals and work on fitting them into to larger picture. For example, over this past weekend we were split into pairs and required to research a specific topic (for me it was media and how newspapers helped to spread word of the rebellion). Setting a concrete goal with tangible results is what really gets things done, and this project has helped me learn about goal setting. It’s also helped me learn about discipline, because Mike has left this project entirely up to us. Students have to learn how to keep themselves on task and work efficiently without the help or enforcement of a teacher, using their determination. This project has helped to teach how students how they are responsible for their own work as well as their part of the group- if one person slacks off, the rest will have to work harder.
When we first started this project, I was very worried about how we were going to complete it because I didn’t know how we were supposed to manage our time well. However, because the project itself focuses on a combination of information, technology, and working in a group, I am quickly learning how to balance each aspect. Even though the project might not focus solely on learning about American History, it also teaches different and equally important skills.