1. Leah Clapman
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/leahclapman
  3. Managing Editor, Education
  4. PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
  5. http://studentreportinglabs.org
  6. PBS NewsHour
  1. William Swift
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-swift-pmp-36775b6/
  3. Coordinating Producer. PBS NewsHour STEM and Health Student Reporting Labs
  4. PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
  5. http://studentreportinglabs.org
  6. PBS NewsHour
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Public Discussion
  • May 13, 2019 | 09:25 a.m.

    Leah, this is such interesting work, especially at a time when science literacy and media savvy seem especially critical to our future. I remember another project with some similarities, though it focused on print journalism. It was led by Joseph Polman: https://cadrek12.org/projects/science-literacy-through-science-journalism-scijourn I am wondering what kind of professional development you provide for teachers.

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 10:14 a.m.

    Hi Catherine! Yes, Polman's work was an inspiration for the research and definitely gave us insights into the power of practicing science journalism.

    Our teacher professional development includes:

    1. PD Workshops - 3-day in-person skill-building in Washington DC over the summer
    2. Personalized on-going teacher support by Student Reporting Labs program managers, including just-in-time video tutorials, google hangouts, and feedback and support throughout the year for the entire Lab - teacher and students
    3. Robust teacher list-serv that includes Master Teachers who answer questions, engage in problem-solving and generally offer moral support
    4. Mentor support through the local PBS station, including local recognition and nurturing of teacher communities
  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 10:21 a.m.

    Please check out the SRL map to see if there is a Student Reporting Lab near you, and fill this space with ideas about stories that students can produce locally to shine a light on STEM issues nationally!

  • Icon for: Gillian Puttick

    Gillian Puttick

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 12:19 p.m.

     It's wonderful to see the engagement and interest in STEM exhibited by the students! I'm interested in hearing whether or not you have been able to track students after their engagement in this experience. Also, what experiences do Master Teachers have that support them to mentor teachers?

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:33 p.m.

    Thanks Gillian! We have an alumni follow-up going on right now (challenging because of privacy built into the research, but not impossible!).

    Master Teachers have been in the program 2+ years and many have returned to our teacher workshop as "veteran teachers." This has happened organically, as Student Reporting Labs teachers become leaders in their local districts and especially among formal and informal communities and networks of broadcasting and film teachers. We also build off (and add to) the strengths of existing networks such as Student Television Network, Journalism Education Association and National Association of Media Literacy Educators. Thanks so much for engaging in our project and I look forward to more questions!

    Leah

  • Icon for: Amy Pate

    Amy Pate

    Manager of Instructional Design
    May 13, 2019 | 03:21 p.m.

    I love the line "We are facing major challenges in our country that will need to be solved through science and communication with science." We've tried to get our science undergrads to be more involved with telling their research stories in a way that is clearly communicated, and easy to share out with non-science audiences. Really great to see students empowered. Thanks for sharing.

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 09:52 a.m.

    Hi Amy, It's Bill Swift, the head of the STEM SRL program, helping students find clarity in the technical is a big part of what I try and help students with.  i worked for nearly ten years for National Geographic TV  and we always felt that you needed to talk to your audience about science at about an 8th grade level, that that is the most inclusive way to be creating great videos about science.  It is not easy to get the technical description refined down to the understandable.  Just yesterday i saw one of the best description's of how a jet engine works: "Suck, squish, bang, blow", with the engineers help, they created a two minute piece that really helped me understand how a jet works.  i always looked at the mass of fan blades and never really understood what was happening.  These are great storytellers we are producing with a penchant for STEM.

     
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    Amy Pate
    Leah Clapman
  • May 16, 2019 | 05:22 p.m.

    William, I love that description of a jet engine!

  • Icon for: Erin Kraal

    Erin Kraal

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2019 | 04:19 p.m.

    Amazing collaboration!  I'm curious to know - are all of the videos produced with the intent of quality of production for airing them?  How are those aired selected?  And what happens to those not selected?  

     

    We also use science story telling (audio approach) to put science into the hands of students - check out our video: https://videohall.com/p/1513 on Student Produced Audio Narratives.  

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:31 p.m.

    Wow Erin - SPAN seems like an amazing way for students to have fun reflecting on and sharing their work. We love love love when Student stories make it to the NewsHour broadcast (1.8 million people), but most will not. Stories are posted on Student Reporting Labs.org and shared on social and digital local station and school platforms. Some assignments are actually just skill-building exercises, so students get feedback, but the work isn't published.

  • Icon for: Tasha Weinstein

    Tasha Weinstein

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2019 | 10:20 a.m.

    Hi Leah,

    WFSU Public Media is just starting our Youth Media Council and I am interested in the skill-building exercises you mentioned. Do you have a curriculum that you can share that we can use as a model for our group? At this point they are mainly focused on creating a Podcast series, but we would like to expand that out once we get more experienced. Any advice on creating that balance between giving them skills and using the content they produce?

  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 10:47 a.m.

    You are spot on - we are constantly balancing coaching/building skills and expectations for really great content for large audiences. The key is scaffolding exercises and growing skills and then being intentional about the great stories that warrant investment of station talent. Also recognizing and honoring all success - small and large. Let's connect w Angee at KCPT in Kansas City who is doing this with the station's Student Advisory Board. I'll also send you the curriculum. Email me!

  • May 14, 2019 | 12:21 p.m.

    Wonderful project and an equally wonderful video to match! I think what makes your message extra special is that it is being delivered from a student herself. Great work!

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 10:14 a.m.

    We thought it was very appropriate as the STEM SRL has matured that we let one of our star voices explain what the experience has meant for her.  It is amazing to work with these students so closely and see their stories evolve and then make it on the NewsHour.  It makes you feel like you have really made a difference in someone else's life and that is very special. 

  • Icon for: Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 02:22 p.m.

    Very interesting project! I'm interested in learning more about how what a student works on in the context of the Student Reporting Lab is (or could be) connected to what they are doing in their STEM classes at school. Or has the project to date functioned much more as an informal science learning environment?

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
  • Icon for: Joanne Figueiredo

    Joanne Figueiredo

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2019 | 07:57 p.m.

    Well done! I saw that video on PBS! What an exciting idea: to get kids producing their own STEM videos. With this background, our next generation of scientists will be better communicators than their predecessors!

  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 10:04 a.m.

    Hi Joanne, great to hear. 

    What was really wonderful was that Mary was able to do all the revisions for her story with NewsHour, so she got that great real life experience working with real broadcast executives and how you work with their notes.  Learning when you can push back and fight for what you want and when you just need to do what is being asked.  She is pretty special.

  • May 15, 2019 | 02:19 p.m.

    This is really exciting work Leah, thanks for sharing! The student in the video - a great representative of your program! - mentioned students being more interested in learning about STEM from videos produced by their peers. I'm curious if your team has been able to document the STEM learning impact of the videos with students/classrooms that did not contribute to there production and how such videos might enhance student interest or motivation as it relates to STEM? 

     
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    Travis Tangen
  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 10:13 a.m.

    Hi Jonathan, that is a really interesting idea that we have not looked at.  That is Mary's idea that she came up with in her interview.  One of the interesting aspects of what we do is trying to listen to our students and see what is resonating with them, what is exciting them, what do they like.  For me it is about trying to "de-stigmatize" STEM which can often be thought of as difficult, a lot of work and boring by students.  I try and use my years working for National Geographic Television to help them get excited about STEM, science and the world around them.  That STEM is everywhere you look, the air you breather, the colors of the sunset, you just have to open your eyes to the beauty and excitement of the STEM world.  So far it is working, but it would be an interesting experiment to see if student STEM videos were more effective than more traditional STEM videos in terms of stimulating STEM interest, engagement and ability.

     
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    Travis Tangen
    Jonathon Grooms
  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 10:33 a.m.

    Hi Jonathan:

    I just realized one aspect of the work we do does touch on your question.  At the end of each year we do a STEM Film Festival six or seven of my best STEM videos are put on a reel and all the schools who have a video in the competition have a little STEM Film Festival and vote for winners.  Of course the balloting is being used by New Knowledge, our evaluators, to measure our programs touch outside of the classroom, but also they are asking each viewer (a lot are students) for something you learned from each video you voted for on your ballot.  I am not good at the details of their analysis, but it is helping them to see how kids are being influenced or what they are taking away from these student created STEM stories. 

    We are not testing those results against a similar festival of traditional STEM stories, but we are looking at what students are getting/learning from watching the student's STEM stories.  The winner is the story with the Best STEM Content, which is broad, but the fun part for me is I just never know who is going to win, they all are very good and very different.  

     
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    Jonathon Grooms
  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Researcher
    May 17, 2019 | 11:52 a.m.

    Hi Jonathan!

    I'm part of the evaluation team at NewKnowledge. Building on Bill's response a bit, here's how the ballots work.

    Students are asked to rank their top 3 films and write a bit about what they learned from each one. They're informed that incomplete ballots will not be judged -- which encourages them to fill in the open-ended response. We do this as a way of encouraging reflection and cementing the learning.

    Last year we received more than 300 ballots, and nearly every student was able to point to at least one thing they learned from each story, ranging from a single fact to the existence of an entirely new discipline or career.

    We've also done focus groups for several years with peers at the same schools who did not work on the stories, and they're always impressed by the quality of the work. They're also particularly attuned to seeing other teens telling the story -- they tend to find the perspective more relevant to their immediate concerns, so they engage more.

     

  • Icon for: Peg Cagle

    Peg Cagle

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2019 | 03:03 a.m.

    Exciting work, for STEM learning, but also for its potential in building an audience for fact based vs social media based information dissemination.  I am curious as to how students go about identifying STEM topics/issues to investigate, or STEM related stories they want to tell. 

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 10:33 a.m.

    Like the regular SRL program, we come up with broad prompts that are the result of conversations with teachers, students and partners. In this case, teachers told us that they wanted to get at the E in STEM and the prompt was How are Engineers Changing Our World? It also fit our Health Innovators series. Other prompts: head into a nearby National Park and find a STEM story, find a Citizen Science project in your community, etc. 

    That said, sometimes STEM schools proposed their own stories that were separate from the prompts, but always welcome!

  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 10:38 a.m.

    Hi Peg, we have two prompts or assignments that I give my students at the start of the year, and they build on each other.  This year assignment 1 was telling a 2 minutes story about someone who had a STEM related idea and then turned it into a reality.  The restrictions were they can only use the voice of their interviewee to tell their story and they can only shoot their B-Roll at or near the interview location.  So that is the Frame the story fits in, but what story they want to do is up to the students to figure out.  They will submit a pitch to me and if it is approved, they are off to the races.  This assignment teaches them how to tell someone else's story in their own voice, which is a good skill, but it really hones your interview skills, because when you get in the edit room with only the answers to your questions to make a story out of, the holes in your interview technique become apparent very quickly, so they will hopefully ask better, more thorough question next time so they have all the need to tell a full story.

    Our second prompt was: "Citizen Science: what's going on in your backyard?".  This is a 2-5 minute story on Citizen Science with no restrictions. PBS did a big Spring Live event this year, and we wanted students to learn more about Citizen Science, which is at the core of Spring Live.  So that is the frame, but what story you want to do about Citizen Science is up to the students to figure out and pitch to me.  We had some great ones.

     

  • May 16, 2019 | 09:31 a.m.

    Great job Leah! Storytelling is a great tool!!!thanks for sharing.we used a short intro visual storytelling of 2 kids to tell the story that lead to our research project :-)

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Sr. Communications Lead
    May 16, 2019 | 01:16 p.m.

    Lovely video. I found it so inspiring! As a team, we've been working to incorporate more storytelling in our outreach efforts. This video is a great reminder of the power of storytelling, especially among peers. Thanks for sharing!

     
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    Leah Clapman
  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 09:14 a.m.

     Hi Jennifer, I love your program, so innovative and participatory.  Like your program, what our STEM program does is put STEM learning in a framework that is more enjoyable and engaging than a classic "science class".  Our engaging activity is video production, which is very STEM to begin with and ideally it gets kids working on a STEM story that piques their curiosity and imagination.  Once you have done those two, the final result is definitely STEM interest, efficacy and hopefully a desire to be a pert of a STEM field.  Plus something I think I see very well in your project, as a teacher, I feel energized and engaged helping my students navigate this world and it shines through in your video how much happier the teachers are working on more projectized learning where it is not rote memorization and reading, but doing in order to learn.

  • Icon for: Doug Ward

    Doug Ward

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 02:24 p.m.

    This project has several great aspects. It helps students see that science and journalism are active endeavors that anyone can participate in if they are willing to devote the time and energy. It also helps students understand the importance of asking questions about the world and about the media they consume. I'll be interested to see what long-term impact this might have on both journalism and STEM.

    I also love Mary's comment about getting her nieces and nephews interested in journalism and storytelling. Have you seen that happening, not just with Mary's family but with friends and family members of the students involved in the project?

  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 09:23 a.m.

    Hi Doug, thank you for your thoughtful comments.  We are working on trying to measure the wider impact of the STEM Student Reporting Labs, outside of the classroom, but that is difficult.  I do think having students more engaged in news, current events and what is going on in the world does rub off on those around them.  One good anecdote, not a STEM  one, but from the regular SRL, was a teacher saying he caught his students hanging out and discussing political candidates.  That really blew him away.  What we are doing to try and measure that reach in STEM is having a STEM Film Festival each year where the top six or seven videos are put together and the schools that made them all compete for a prize, but the prize for us is the research the ballots provide.  The winner is the story with the "Best STEM content" and you have to list something you learned from each video you selected, 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  We are hoping the nephews will be invited to the festival and we can see that their answers and that they are getting excited about what they are seeing their Aunt doing.

     

  • May 16, 2019 | 05:28 p.m.

    Leah, great program you and your team have. It's given me a couple ideas for our non-majors science program.

    Do you worry about accuracy of the information? Is that even an issue? Or, do you have someone fact-checking behind the students?

    Second, do the SRL groups ever share video stories beyond their local area? Seems like a shared story archive might get viewers picked up through other media outlets, or even through Google searches.

     
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    Tracey Hall
  • May 17, 2019 | 07:22 a.m.

    Your team has accomplished some terrific work! Creating for an authentic purpose is fabulous and the STEM connection is priceless. I too am interested in the "fact checking" notion of the news publications. One additional question, are students involved in any of the behind the scenes work of video production?

  • Icon for: Leah Clapman

    Leah Clapman

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:05 p.m.

    So a couple of behind the scenes resources. One is about a specific story about energy jobs in West Virginia

    We have a WHOLE SERIES OF VIDEO PRODUCTION TUTORIALS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WOULD LIKE TO MAKE YOUR OWN VIDEOS OR HELP STUDENTS PRODUCE. It's called Level UP.

    We're hoping to make more Level UP videos to cover scripting and editing. Stay tuned ....

  • May 17, 2019 | 12:42 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing the video production tutorials. We're looking at adding video as an alternative student project/evaluation method, and having tested tutorials on the mechanics of video production will help shorten development time!

  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 01:16 p.m.

    I think you will find the Level Up videos an invaluable tool.  They are fun, relatively short, no longer than 5 minutes and they are just jam packed with tried and true, time tested production techniques for making your stories look and sound better.  I like watching them and have been in this business for over thirty years.

  • Icon for: William Swift

    William Swift

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 09:39 a.m.

    Hi Tracey, yes, fact checking is part of the process, but not as formal as for broadcast.  If a story is going to broadcast, it is fully vetted, but usually the fact checking is up to the teacher or me to spot that something seems a little off or is not adding up.  Things like what map is highlighting, or how lead levels are being measured and how students are talking about those measurements and numbers.  We also have STEM Mentors that help the student make sure their work is accurate.  Since we are a part of PBS NewsHour, we take accuracy very seriously, but when I worked for National Geographic TV, any fact in a script would need 3 PhD references in the annotated script to support that fact.  So we are not vetting the students stories to that level, but are always trying to make sure we are presenting accurate information and helping student understand what that means and how you check your facts and that ideally you need more than one source for a fact.

    I am not sure what you mean by "behind the scenes", possibly "post production"?  I am proud to say our student do almost everything on their stories.  They pitch the idea, figure out how to make it work, line up the interviews, make the arrangements, get releases, shoot the stories in the field (ideally we get them outside of their school) and edit the stories.  Before they go up on our website or for broadcast, my job is to color correct and level out the audio which take a little more technical know how, and it is time consuming so helps the students make their deadlines.  I also put on the lower thirds and end slate, since those are "NewsHour" style and we have found that for uniformities sake it is better when we have control over that than the students.  There is a wide spectrum of skill levels.  Usually schools participating in STEM are a little more advanced, second year production students as opposed to first year, but it varies from school to school.

  • Icon for: Kathryn Penzkover

    Kathryn Penzkover

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2019 | 04:23 p.m.

    Great project, I think more and more that good science communication is going to be the key to success in getting the message out there. I think a lot about how we do not train our scientists to be good ambassadors of science. 

  • May 20, 2019 | 12:40 p.m.

    A compelling project! A great example of STEM and literacy integration for authentic learning purposes.  As the young person in the video notes, youth-produced video journalism impacts both the producers and the audience in important ways.  Do you have research publications about this work that I can access?  Thank you!

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