Tweetspeak: Introducing Digital Media with Birding


Here’s an example of one of our Videolicious reports from our birding experiences from student Emily Valentine.

This semester I will begin a journey into birding with the help of Westminster College biology professor Kerri Duerr, Ph.D.  We’ve teamed up for a cluster course project called ‘Tweetspeak:  Birding and Bird Blogging.’

Student Rob Turk & Ornithologist/Professor Kerri Duerr
Student Rob Turk & Ornithologist/Professor Kerri Duerr during our first outdoor birding adventure in January.

Dr. Duerr teaches Biology of Bird.  I teach a new course at Westminster called Digital Media Essentials (DME).  We have more than a dozen students enrolled in the two classes which are linked to enhance an interdisciplinary experience.  I am a Westminster faculty member in the Broadcasting & Media Production program and broadcast journalist since 1987.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 8.49.37 AMThe weekly lab part of the biology course will take students and instructors into the field for an intro adventure into birding.  It’s an introduction to citizen science.  The students are armed with smartphones, selfie sticks, lavalier microphones, guidebooks, and field journals.  They blog and share pictures and videos via WordPress, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube.  They’re also test driving birding apps, producing field videos with the Videolcious app and collecting/submititng data for eBird.

Teaching at Westminster since 2000.
I’ve been teaching at WC since 2000.

My class will transition students into beginning citizen journalism.  They will document and share their experiences with birds, the environment and this introduction into scientific discovery. They will do in a very public way.  They will report their observations, experiences and what they learn on a regular basis.

We’ll look at digital media literacy when it comes to journalism, science reporting, social media and blogging.  We’ll flip the traditional lecture and From Glenn Thompsoninstruction as the the learners become the producers of original content.  We’ll explore best practices of content creation; what it means to be science literate; become media savvy; and unlock the tools of the smartphone and social media to share stories from the field and the classrooms.

I am also using this blog as a nexus to share information and more with students, visitors and bird creepers.  This blog will also share experiences, observations and content created by the students in this cluster

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