Saturday, December 18, 2010

"On the Twelfth Day of Tech-mas"

While most schools mail out holiday greeting cards to all the schools in our district, my school has sent out a video holiday greeting card since 2006. It's been my responsibility to record and produce what has become a holiday tradition for us. This year, our school has acquired a variety of new technologies to support student learning, so it seemed appropriate to change the lyrics to a holiday song and give it a technology spin.
Rather than write it myself, I decided to crowd-source the lyrics to our staff. On our white board in the teacher's lounge, I wrote: "On the twelfth day of Christmas, we got technology," then numbered from 12 down to 1. By the end of the day, most of the lyrics were completed by the group, thanks to our contributors. I then began recording each of the various short segments over a three day period during lunch and after school. I shot the video using my Sony HDR-HC3 mini-HDV camcorder, in 1080i resolution. The on-camera mic was sufficient, so I did not need to use my back-up recording I made with my Zoom H2 digital recorder. Although I did not use the Zoom's recording, it is always a good idea to have a back up.
At first, the lyrics focused too much on the actual technology items we received, such as new laptops, our LCD projectors, and the like. The problem was, the song read like a stale list of "stuff." It felt empty. As soon as we focused on the verbs, the song took on a more animated and lively feel. It felt more like our school and the way we attempt to integrate technology. For example, instead of saying "11 interactive whiteboards," we said, "11 kids engaging;" instead of saying, "9 new printers," we said, "9 students printing." These subtle adjustments gave the song a much more student-centric vibe, which is more like "us." Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

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