Wednesday, March 19, 2014

iPads X Black Out Poems

Once again I am inspired to write this post due to the thoughtful teaching of Lauren Putman.

This was the tweet that caught my attention.



It was about a black out poetry assignment that her students were working on based on a reading of the Battle of Salamis.  I was recently introduced to the concept of black out poems by Amy Burvall at the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit.  It appears that the history of black out poetry is quite deep, with Austin Kleon exploring the medium in great detail.








Here is a bit more insight into the process by Austin:




Lauren had all of her students read and analyze the Battle of Salamis and each student then created their own black out poem.  The students imported the document into Explain Everything, completed the black out process and exported the final image to the camera roll.  Students then wrote their new poem in a Pages document.  Lauren's workflow can be seen in the tweet below:




Lauren then pulled all of the student generated black out poems into one class book with the Book Creator iPad app.  Because this book does not include any multimedia content, it can easily be exported as a PDF and uploaded to any number of platforms on the web that turn PDF documents into flip books online.  Here is their final product: (Direct Link to Black Out Battle of Salamis Book)

(Click on the book to go into full screen mode)

I was thinking about the process, end product and assignment and thought that adding a layer of video reflection to each poem could be a powerful way to enhance this project.  The idea is that students would not only black out, create a new poem and publish, but they would add a screencast with or without embedded video in the screencast where they explain they choices they may when creating the poem.  I think it would be interesting and provide great insight into the thought process to know not only why a student selected certain words, but also why sections were blacked out.

Here is my version of the Battle of Salami black out poem in screencast video form.

I first blacked out the document in Explain Everything:


I exported the black out poem to the camera roll and started a new project in Explain Everything.  This allowed me to import my black out poem, resize the image and begin typing out my new poem:


I then added a black background to the Explain Everything slide and modified the poetry text to white font to create a more dramatic effect.  I like doing the entire creation process in Explain Everything because you can easily resize, move and layer the text.  


The final process that I would include on the original assignment the Lauren created, would be to have the students screencast on top of their black out poem.  The purpose of the screencast is to have students explain, justify and defend the choices made in their black out process.  The final .XPL project file can be uploaded to Google Drive and shared with the teacher.  A helpful feature in Explain Everything allows projected to be merged by dragging and dropping one file on another.  Using this process, the teacher (or a student), can merge all of the black out poem screencasts into one final project that can then be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo.  The image below demonstrate the process of combining XPL project files:


Once student projects are merged, the entire group video can be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo directly from Explain Everything.  

Here is a screencast of my Battle of Salamis black out poem.

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