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WHAT DOES CULTURE MEAN

TO YOU?
Exploring student concepts and stories of
culture using illustrated whiteboard animations

Jonathan Nilson
ETEC 532
Overview
This series of lessons focuses on the use of storytelling techniques and illustrated whiteboard animations to
provide students the opportunity to explore their individual perspectives and definitions of culture and how it
relates to their own identities. It is geared towards a grade 8-9 humanities or social studies class, and is intended
to provide a foundation for a larger unit exploring issues of culture, citizenship and social justice.

Objectives and learning outcomes are aligned with the British Columbia Ministry of Education’s curricular and
cross-curricular core competencies, with a specific focus on the personal and social as well as the communication
core competencies.

Summary
Students will produce a 1-2 minute illustrated whiteboard animation, that tells a story about themselves and their
perspectives on culture. As a part of this story, students are expected to define culture and relate one or more
experiences that portrays their relationship with what they perceive as their culture.

In order to produce this animation, students will engage in a variety of media production and digital storytelling
processes including research, storyboarding, technical skill identification and acquisition, digital material
collection, media creation, post-production editing, sharing, receiving feedback and making alterations based
upon feedback. These processes will be engaged in over several lessons or stages. The timeline for these stages is
variable and can be adjusted depending upon the individual learning needs of the students and the time
constraints of specific classes.

Competencies (BC Ministry of Education, 2015)


Students will able to…

PERSONAL AND SOCIAL (CORE)

 Develop an awareness of one’s family background and heritage to contribute to a positive personal and
cultural identity.
 Demonstrate a sense of personal awareness and responsibility, resulting in a respect of self as well as a
respect of others.

COMMUNICATION (CORE)

 Exchange and explain information, experiences, ideas and perspectives.


 Effectively engage in the use of digital media for both communication and reflection purposes.

SOCIAL STUDIES (CURRICULAR)

 Utilize inquiry processes to ask questions, acquire and interpret information, analyze ideas and
communicate results.
 Identify what is significant or noteworthy in a particular account or narrative.
 Compare their perspectives and beliefs with that of others, and explain the similarities and differences.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS (CURRICULAR)

 Recognize the role language can play in creating or influencing identity.


 Utilize design processes to plan, develop, and produce meaningful and engaging media.
 Develop a shared understanding through the sharing of ideas and perspectives, which can be used to
extend thinking.
 Identify and appreciate the power of storytelling, including narrative and oral traditions, especially in
expressing the views and values of Canada’s First Nations.

Technical Resources and Preparation


Due to the variability of technology access, different policies regarding the use of online services, and issues
relating to student privacy and safety online, several options are provided that will aid in the production and
sharing of the students’ digital stories/illustrated whiteboard animations. Each will have its own requirements and
specific preparations.

Please note: many of these options may require students to sign up for access to external services, including those
that may store student data and creations outside of Canada. Please ensure that you check with your school and
district regarding any specific policies they may have regarding this, seek any necessary permissions from parents
and guardians, and in certain cases review relevant FOIPPA and FIPPA legislation.

Media Creation Options and their Requirements


OPTION 1: VideoScribe

 Access to a class set of devices. These may be computers/laptops or tablets such as iPads.
 The VideoScribe app to be downloaded and installed on each of the devices. This may require either
permission or the assistance from the school’s IT support staff.
 Students will need to register for a VideoScribe free account. This may be done prior to the actual lesson
or even as homework.

OPTION 2: Recorded Video

 Access to a minimum of a half-class set of video capture devices, such as cameras, tablets with video
cameras or personal devices such as smart phones (students will be required to work in pairs for the
video capture portion so only a half set will be needed).
 Access to a class set of devices for post production video editing. These may be computers/laptops or
tablets such as iPads.
 Access to video editing software. This may be in the form of apps, such as iMovie or Windows Movie
Maker, the editing capabilities found with some video hosting sites such as YouTube.
 Enough whiteboard space, or mini-whiteboards, and drawing implements for half the class to be
creating their presentations at any given time.
Media Sharing and Presentation Options and their Requirements
OPTION 1: YouTube (or other online video host)

A Google account will be required to access YouTube. This may either be through students’ personal accounts, a
specific class account managed by the teacher or a part of the Google Classroom suite, facilitated by a school or
district.

Benefits: Many students already have Google accounts, especially if they use Android phones which
require them. YouTube also allows for easy sharing and for receiving comments from both peers and
teachers, which aids in feedback and formative assessment.

Complications: Student privacy concerns may need to be given careful consideration. The settings on
YouTube can be adjusted to ensure only those invited are able to see posted productions. A single
classroom account can aid in ensuring privacy is maintained, but then the password would have to be
shared with the class, and regularly changed if vandalism is a concern.

OPTION 2: Digital Portfolio Service

Many classrooms are already utilizing digital portfolio services, such as Schoolology or FreshGrade, and most
allow for the uploading of student videos.

Benefits: As they are primarily intended for school use, privacy is a major consideration for most
portfolio services. Further, they are geared to allowing teachers to provide students feedback, and for
students to upload multiple iterations of their production.

Complications: Portfolio services are not necessarily set up for sharing student video examples outside
of the protected environment, which may make it to difficult to share with parents and collaborate
outside of the school. Further, while teacher comments are often enabled, not all portfolio services
allow for peer comments, reducing the ways in which feedback may be received.

OPTION 3: Cloud Based Storage

Services such as Dropbox and Google Drive allow for the easy storing and sharing of media files, and may be
used individually or through a class account.

Benefits: Simple and easy to access, cloud based services allow completed files to be dropped into
shared areas or specific files may be shared with others from personal accounts. Although registration is
required, little other set-up is necessary other than the exchanging of emails and the setting of
permissions.

Complications: While files are easily stored, they are not set up for view or for receiving comments. To
be viewed, any media files would have to be downloaded first. Further, free accounts for services such
as Dropbox, often have a cap on the total amount of storage which may be exceeded when used by an
entire class.
Lessons
The following series of lessons are geared toward 75 minute class that is typical within the British Columbia
school system.

Lesson 1 – Identifying and Researching


BIG IDEAS/OBJECTIVES:

 That our view of culture helps define who we are and our sense of identity.
 That our view of culture may be different from others and therefore a matter of perspective.
 That culture is an often nebulous and difficult define term.
 That media production, and by extension digital storytelling, can help us explore our perspectives while
presenting our views and conclusions.

RESOURCES & MATERIALS:

 The introductory video created for this project, “What Does Culture Mean to You”, that demonstrates
the illustrated whiteboard concept and sets the challenge of the lesson set. This is on YouTube.
 A digital or paper copy of the criteria for the final illustrated whiteboard animation/story (found in the
appendix).
 The Canada Council (2015) YouTube video also called “What Does Culture Mean to You”.
 Computer, projector and speaker setup to present the supporting video clips.
 Access to web-enabled devices (minimum 10-15) to begin initial research. These devices maybe
computers, tablets or even students’ personal devices.

SEQUENCE:

 Discussion:
o Initiate the class with the question of what is culture and why it might be hard to define.
Attempt to activate student prior knowledge by placing this question within the context of their
own cultural experiences.
o Have students watch the first “What Does Culture Mean to You” video, with its animated
whiteboard example, to set the stage for subsequent lessons. Identify how each following
activity and discussion will relate back to this overarching goal of telling a story about what they
view culture as.
o Have students watch and discuss as a class the second video, “What Does Culture Mean to You”,
to lay a foundation for their attempts to define culture.
o Review the criteria and expectations for the final illustrated whiteboard animation/story to
provide a structure from which to organize all subsequent learning.
 Activities:
o In groups of 2-3, have students engage in research where they seek to define the word culture
in the context personal and social identity.
o Individually, have students synthesize their research to develop a 2-3 sentence definition of
culture that they feel relates to them and their experiences. This definition may include overtly
cultural aspects, but also may be subtler to include regularly occurring family activities or
traditions that have cultural overtones.
 Follow-Up:
o Students are to take their 2-3 sentence definition of culture and find examples from home that
relate to this and answer the embedded questions in the sample video. These examples can be
in the form of physical objects, stories from family members, memories of past events, and
students’ everyday experiences. They are to be recorded in simple point form.

ASSESSMENT:

 Assessment for this class is to be entirely formative, with assistance and guidance provided to help
students develop a working definition of culture, that they can use to find personal examples of.

Lesson 2 – Brainstorming, Storyboarding and Scriptwriting


NOTE: This is a fairly large lesson, which presumes that elements of narrative writing and video-production have
already been explored. If more time needs to be spent reinforcing these, the teacher may wish to spread the
narrative writing and storyboarding over two days.

BIG IDEAS/OBJECTIVES:

 That our perspectives on culture can be effectively and engagingly presented via a digital story.
 Digital stories that are video based should be approached from video production stance.
 Effective storyboarding and script/dialogue writing can ensure that all the necessary elements of the
digital story are covered and are presented in a logical and entertaining fashion.

RESOURCES & MATERIALS:

 Student examples and answers from home, assigned in the previous day’s follow-up.
 Physical or digital copies of the storyboarding and dialogue sheet (found in the appendix).
 If using digital copies, access to class set of devices that would allow some form of word-processing.
 The short YouTube clip “What is a Storyboard” from the Nashville Film Company (2015)
 Optional: Indy Mogul’s (2013) YouTube clip “Storyboarding for People Who Can't Draw (Like Me!)”

SEQUENCE:

 Discussion:
o Initiate the class conversation by reviewing the previous day’s follow-up. Ensure students were
able to successfully come up with examples or answers for the embedded questions in the
“What Does Culture Mean to You”. A further review of the video might be useful.
o Review the qualities of narrative writing, including in this case the first person voice and the use
of “I” statements.
o If this is the first video that students have produced, discuss with them nature of storyboarding
and its role in the production process, supported by the “What is a Storyboard” clip.
o If a number of students are concerned about their artistry and possible inability to express
themselves through storyboards, following up with the clip “Storyboarding for People Who Can't
Draw (Like Me!)” would be useful. This will also assist later on if you will be using physical
whiteboards and drawing to produce your illustrated whiteboard animations.
 Activities:
o Taking the point form responses from the previous day’s follow up, students are to create a
short narrative where they explain what culture means to them, identify (or perhaps
deliberately choose not to identify) what culture(s) they feel affiliated with, and relate
meaningful, positive examples that support this. Total length should 1-2 minutes when read
aloud.
o Using the storyboarding and dialogue sheet, students are to break down the narrative into a
series of shorter statements that can then be illustrated. Students should than determine what
images, graphics or animations they wish to use to illustrate these statements, and place rough
sketches of these in the spaces provided.
 Follow-Up:
o Any remaining portion of the storyboard should be completed at home.
o In preparation for the next lesson, students should sign-up for access to VideoScribe if they will
be pursing option 1.

ASSESSMENT:

 Assessment is to be formative, and is to focus on both the clarity of the students’ narrative and its ability
to be translated into a series of easily understood images.

Lesson 3 – Skill Development and Material Acquisition


NOTE: It is to be expected that teachers will have already taken the time to become familiar with some of the
skill sets necessary to use either VideoScribe or to capture video and engage in basic editing with their devices
and apps of choice. For those using VideoScribe, a series of tutorial videos are available via their YouTube
Channel, including their introductory “Creating your first scribe” (VideoScribe, 2014).

BIG IDEAS/OBJECTIVES:

 To identify and develop the technical skills necessary to successfully complete the illustrated whiteboard
animation/digital story
 To identify and collect additional images, audio files and other media necessary to complete the
illustrated whiteboard animation/digital story

RESOURCES & MATERIALS:

 Option 1 – VideoScribe
o Access to a demonstration device and projector.
o Access to a class set of devices with the VideoScribe app installed (computers or tablets).
o Students should have previously signed up for VideoScribe’s free access.
o The introductory video created for this project, “What Does Culture Mean to You”.
 Option 2 – Recorded Video
o Access to a half-class set of video capture devices (cameras, tablets, smart-phones).
o Access to a demonstration device and projector.
o Access to a class set of devices with simple video editing apps or editing services available.
o Access to whiteboard space and drawing implements.
 General
o If students are working with computers and are not provided with either network or cloud space
to save on, a portable USB drive would be useful to store materials and practice examples on.

SEQUENCE:

 Discussion:
o General - Initial discussion should focus on the rationale for which option is chosen for the
illustrated whiteboard animation/digital story. Additionally, as students will be incorporating
sound files and possibly images from the web, a review of the difference between copyrighted
and royalty free materials, as well fair usage principles would be useful.
o Option 1 - Focus is on the use of VideoScribe, including the basic function of the animations, the
adding of text, the use of the royalty-free library, the uploading of additional royalty free
graphics, adding audio and the creation of voice overs.
o Option 2 – Focus is on the video capture of the white board drawings followed by the use video
editing software, particularly time-lapse or fast forwarding effects to speed up the creation of
the animations. Further, the addition of soundtracks and voice overs should be reviewed.
 Activities:
o Option 1 - Have students begin exploring video scribe, adding text and graphics, adjusting the
animation types and the properties of the individual animations, including timing. Have students
also test the built in voiceover tools, and attempt to match the animations with the pace of their
voice over.
o Option 2 - Have students work in pairs to video capture the drawing of basic stickman. Student
are to then transfer this video to the preferred editing software
o General - In addition to practicing the specific skills in either option 1 or 2, students should also
begin research and acquiring any additional royalty free materials for use with their story.
 Follow-Up:
o Any additional materials or media that were not collected during class time can be acquired
from home and stored either via cloud based service or utilizing a USB drive depending on the
devices being used to assemble the final story.

ASSESSMENT:

 Assessment will be formative, and will focus on guiding and supporting students as they develop their
technical skills and acquire their additional materials. Teachers should ensure each student skills are at
the level necessary to successfully complete the production of their digital story.
Lesson 4 – Initial Media Creation or Capture
NOTE: Depending on the options chosen, the lesson may take more than one class.

BIG IDEAS/OBJECTIVES:

 For students to utilize the plans developed and the skills acquired in the previous lessons to create or
capture a rough, initial video on their views of culture and how it applies to them.

RESOURCES & MATERIALS:

 Option 1 – VideoScribe
o Access to a class set of devices with the VideoScribe app installed (computers or tablets).
o Students should have previously signed up for VideoScribe’s free access.
 Option 2 – Recorded Video
o Access to a half-class set of video capture devices (cameras, tablets, smart-phones).
o Access to a class set of devices with simple video editing apps or editing services available.
o Access to whiteboard space and drawing implements.
 General
o A digital or paper copy of the criteria for the final illustrated whiteboard animation/story. This is
found here, in Appendix 1.
o A completed copy of the storyboarding and dialogue sheet for the story/video.
o If students are working with computers and are not provided with either network or cloud space
to save on, a portable USB drive would be useful to store materials and drafts on.

SEQUENCE:

 Discussion:
o As this is intended to be a day in which students focus on the production of the video/story,
discussion should be limited to a review of the criteria to ensure that students are meeting their
specific objectives.
 Activities:
o Option 1 – Working individually, students utilize VideoScribe in conjunction with their
Storyboard to develop a story that outlines their view of culture and how it relates to their
experiences and identity. Using the text tools, the built in library, and additional media, student
will explain and illustrate the embedded questions found within the sample video.
o Option 2 – Working in pairs, students are to take turns recording each other manually
illustrating and creating text on whiteboards, that explains and illustrates the embedded
questions found within the sample video. These video captures are then to be transferred to the
editing devices, where they will be accelerated to fit within the 2-3 minutes’ limit of the digital
story.
 Follow-Up:
o This will be the final opportunity for students to take time at home to find any additional media
that will be required to finish their digital story.
ASSESSMENT:

 Assessment will be formative and consist of the teacher actively assisting and making suggestions during
the technical production process, while gauging the students’ abilities and specific needs to successfully
complete this stage of the project.

Lesson 5 – Post-Production Editing and Publication


BIG IDEAS/OBJECTIVES:

 To complete the illustrated whiteboard animation/digital story by adding additional soundtracks and
narrative voiceovers.
 To complete any additional edits, particularly with option 2, where the narrative voiceover may dictate
that the captured animation moves at different rates at different points.
 To upload the finished rough story to the chosen video host, portfolio or other determined means of
sharing.

RESOURCES & MATERIALS:

 Class set of devices with access to either the VideoScribe app or the chosen video editing app.
 Access to either the devices internal microphones or a set of external microphones for recording
narrative voiceovers.
 A completed copy of the storyboarding and dialogue sheet for the story/video.
 An agreed upon method of sharing the created videos (see pg. 4 for possible options)

SEQUENCE:

 Discussion:
o Discussion should remain brief for this lesson and focus on how the addition of narration may
require that sections of the story progress at different rates, so that each image and animation
matches their corresponding narrative point.
 Activities:
o Using the editing devices integral microphone or an external model, students are to record the
narrative/voiceover outlined on their completed storyboard and dialogue sheet.
o The narrative may be captured using the native voiceover function found in VideoScribe and
many video editing apps such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Alternately it may be
recorded using other devices, such as a personal smart phone, and the resulting MP3 audio file
uploaded to VideoScribe or the video editing apps.
o Adjustments to the length of animations in VideoScribe, or the rate of playback if option 2 was
chosen, will be needed to ensure that each image and animation matches their corresponding
narrative point.
o Once complete, the video will need to be published and exported to the appropriate sharing
venue, as determined by the teacher. This can include YouTube, a digital portfolio, or cloud base
services
 Follow-Up:
o Depending on the number of stories you wish the students to review and comment on, you may
wish to have them start reviewing them from home and to be prepared to discuss for the next
day’s class.

ASSESSMENT:

 As with the previous lesson, assessment will be formative and consist of the teacher actively assisting
and making suggestions during the technical production process, while gauging the students’ abilities
and specific needs to successfully complete this stage of the project.

Lesson 6 – Sharing, Feedback and Adjustments


BIG IDEAS/OBJECTIVES:

 To demonstrate the benefits of peer feedback when trying to maximize the effectiveness of
communication and ensuring an engaged audience.
 To practice effective peer feedback skills, ensuring criticisms are constructive and enable growth,
learning and an improved product.
 To assess critical feedback, and where appropriate make adjustments to better meet criteria.

RESOURCES & MATERIALS:

 Student access to the agreed upon method of sharing the created videos.
 If the agreed upon method of sharing has a comment feature, students should be able to provide each
other feedback via this method. Otherwise feedback may need to be provided manually, utilizing a
feedback sheet (found in the appendix).

SEQUENCE:

 Discussion:
o The initial discussion should centre on the nature of constructive criticism and the
responsibilities of students when providing feedback. Depending on the methods by which the
videos are shared, feedback comments may be publically viewable. Students should therefore
always assume someone other than themselves and the video’s producer will see the
comments.
o Subsequently the class should develop a common rubric for reviewing each other’s stories based
upon the feedback discussion. This rubric should include elements from the specific criteria
outlined in the assignment sheet.
 Activities:
o Either individually or in pairs, have students review 4 or more of their classmates’ digital stories
and provide feedback based upon the rubric.
 If done in pairs, each student should receive at least 2 sets of comments
 While positive feedback is encouraged, the expectation is that the peer evaluators will
make at least 2 suggestions to improve the story.
 Suggestions should not only include a general description of the improvement, but
specific instance where it can be applied. Using the time stamp of the video to indicate
where the improvement can occur will aid in this.
o Once feedback has been received, the story/video producer should review the suggestions,
identify those they agree with and make he necessary changes wherever possible. If the
producer disagrees with the suggestions, they should politely indicate why they decline to make
those specific changes. This may be done also via the comment system, if available, or through
the paper feedback sheets.
 Follow-Up
o Once corrections have been made, the same reviewers maybe asked to watch the shared videos
again outside of class time, to see if their suggestions have improved the stories in the way they
have intended.

ASSESSMENT:

 Formative: The teacher should review and provide assistance throughout the student feedback process,
helping students to frame their comments, especially those that may be publically posted.
 Summative: Once the final adjustments to the digital stories/illustrated whiteboard animations have
been made, the videos maybe summatively assessed against the criteria outlined in the assignment
sheet, and a suitable letter grade or percentage assigned based upon on how well this reflects the
students’ learning.

Appendix
The following sheets are intended to be used with the lessons above, but it may be more useful for the teacher
to modify them or even make use of other materials so that they meet the particular needs of their classes.

Sheets included:

 Digital Storytelling with Illustrated Whiteboard Animations Assignment


 Storyboarding and Dialogue Work Sheet (multiple copies may be necessary for a single story)
 Manual Feedback Sheet
Digital Storytelling with Illustrated Whiteboard Animations
Humanities 8-9 Assignment
In this project you will have the opportunity to explore your perspectives on culture, and how it relates to your
identity, by producing a 1-2 minute illustrated whiteboard animation on what you think culture is. As a part of
this exercise, you will investigate the power of digital story telling as a means of narrating your cultural
experiences.

In order to create this digital story/video animation, you will engage in a variety of media production and digital
storytelling processes including research, storyboarding, digital material collection, media creation, post-
production editing, sharing, receiving feedback and making alterations based upon feedback. These processes will
be engaged in over several lessons or stages. The primary technical focus will be on learning to create illustrated
whiteboard animations. We will be watching an example in class, but may wish to review it again. It can be found
at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE8hJxyp0GM

Final Vide/Digital Story Criteria:


Below are a series of expectations on the learning your final product will demonstrate. The final summative
assessment of this project will be based on whether these criteria were met, and how effectively they were
demonstrated.

 Project Specifics – does your project…


…meet the minimum requirement of being 1-2 minutes long?
…include a narrative voiceover?
…make effective use of images and text to illustrate and support your narrative?

 Content Specifics – does your project…


…answer the embedded questions found in the example?
…relate the answers in the form of a narrative story about yourself?
…demonstrate an understanding of your personal relationship with culture?
…illustrate a technical competency in the creation of either VideoScribe or manually produced
whiteboard animations?

 Curricular Competencies – does your project…


…appear to be a product of inquiry processes, where you have asked questions, collected
responses, analyzed data and synthesized a response?
…Indicate how through planning and organization meaningful, engaging media can be created?
…demonstrate the power of storytelling and narrative a means of expressing beliefs and views?

 Core Competencies – does your project…


…demonstrate a personal understanding of culture and how it relates your identity?
…illustrate your ability to effectively communication through digital media?
Common Storyboard and Dialogue Summary
Scene Include camera shot, angle and movement where appropriate

Action Summary/Imagery

Dialogue

Scene Include camera shot, angle and movement where appropriate

Action Summary/Imagery

Dialogue

Scene Include camera shot, angle and movement where appropriate

Action Summary/Imagery

Dialogue

Scene Include camera shot, angle and movement where appropriate

Action Summary/Imagery

Dialogue
Manual Video Feedback Form
Reviewer’s Name(s): _____________________________________________________________________

Producer’s Name(s): _____________________________________________________________________

Name of Production: ____________________________________________________________________

Possible Issue 1: ________________________________________________________________________

Where does it occur (timestamp)? _________________________________________________________

Suggestions: ___________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Possible Issue 2: ________________________________________________________________________

Where does it occur (timestamp)? _________________________________________________________

Suggestions: ___________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Reviewer’s Name(s): _____________________________________________________________________

Producer’s Name(s): _____________________________________________________________________

Name of Production: ____________________________________________________________________

Possible Issue 1: ________________________________________________________________________

Where does it occur (timestamp)? _________________________________________________________

Suggestions: ___________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Possible Issue 2: ________________________________________________________________________

Where does it occur (timestamp)? _________________________________________________________

Suggestions: ___________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________
Lesson Resource References

British Columbia Ministry of Education (2015). Building Student Success - BC's new curriculum:
Government of British Columbia. Retrieved from: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies/p

Canada Council for the Arts [CanadaCouncil]. (2015, June 22). What does culture mean to you? [Video file].

Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SidKFCZ65ik

Indy Mogul. (2013, April 19). Storyboarding For People Who Can't Draw (Like Me!) [Video file].

Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux_Em1lVsjI

WeMakeVideos. (2014, August 27). Nashville Video Company - What is a Storyboard? [Video file].

Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZS1kBUzB7I