Textile Students Learn with Digital Media

Story by Jenna Kammer, Instructional Designer and Academic Technology Liaison for the College of Human Environmental Sciences

Digital Storytelling is the practice of combining a storyline with digital media, such as images and video. In the classroom, digital storytelling can be a learning tool that provides students with a fun and interactive way to demonstrate understanding of the course content. With a bulletproof design, digital storytelling projects can bring out higher order thinking skills in students, as well as provide opportunities for students to make personal connections between the course content and the real world.

In Principles of Apparel Manufacturing, a course from the Department of Textile and Apparel Management, students study the apparel manufacturing industry, including the decision making that is involved in marketing, merchandising and producing apparel. Textile and Apparel Management instructor, Kerri McBee-Black, uses digital storytelling as an assessment method for this course in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. In small groups, students research, storyboard, script, plan and produce a video on a topic that is of importance to the course, like child labor, counterfeiting, sizing issues, or sustainability.

For example, one group told the story of child labor by interviewing American children on their perceptions of acceptable working conditions for children. The video includes concepts learned in class and research on global statistics. Another group impersonated Rachel Zoe, celebrity fashion stylist, to describe the process of manufacturing a line of clothing, including the cost, labor and supply chain.

Student video project describing the process of manufacturing a line of clothing. Student on the left is impersonating celebrity fashion stylist, Rachel Zoe.

Tips for Teaching with Video

  • Build training and support into the course. In this class, students were trained by media specialist on lighting and sound techniques, as well as video editing. Allow enough time for students to edit the video. Video editing is challenging for students to master. An editing workshop during or after class helped Kerri’s students to create higher quality videos.
  • Prepare topics in advance, but allow students to pick their own angle on a topic. Providing students with a broad topic ensured that topics were not duplicated and that all the course material was covered.
  • Use smaller, intermittent assignments as formative assessment to monitor student work. By assigning points for submitting segments of the final video, students remained on track and on topic.
  • Provide consent forms for students. All students should sign a release form giving the university and instructor permission to use the video recordings. When showing the final videos in class, have a backup method. Presenting the final videos is the grand finale of the class. Have students submit the videos ahead of time so that you have time to prepare the classroom computer to run them.
  • Assess using a rubric. A rubric or checklist (like ET@MO’s Digital Media Scoring Rubric (.rtf)) explains how the video will be evaluated and can help students to identify the criteria they need to be successful.
  • Encourage students to get enough footage. One of the valuable learning experiences of using video for this project is that the students were able to go into the community to get shots for the video. Having enough overall footage is absolutely necessary for students to have enough video to edit.

For more information on using digital media in the classroom, contact Boden Lyon, Educational Technologies Specialist at (573) 884-7458 or lyon@missouri.edu.