Takeaways from #StoryCamp 0.1

It’s been a great honor to be a part of Team Popcorn over the last few months, sharing the gospel of video beyond the box and experimenting with new ways of networked learning through an online peer to peer youth program called Popcorn #StoryCamp.

In essence, Popcorn allows you to take any online video and make it “pop” with data from the rest of the web. The official Popcorn Maker app will be launching this November, and we’re already seeing possibilities that were once barely imaginable. Instead of watching the President echo from a teleprompter, you can watch his speech with a layer of fact checking and footnotes. While video has always been a great medium for tapping into our emotions, it’s never been so great at piecing together complicated issues. That’s all beginning to change, now that you can integrate maps and give those stories a place to live, or assemble them from various sources into an organized timeline. (For example this Popcorn story of inner city park restoration, the 18 Days in Egypt project, or a bunch of other cool demos. One of my personal favorites is this beautiful crowdsourced song about humanity).

With help from Mozilla and Zero Divide, we put together a six part learning lab, with each week themed around a component of interactive webmaking. Youth centers from places like Anchorage, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, all connected with web celebrities on Big Blue Button, and had a pre-made Popcorn activity each week to play around with and hack on with their peers.

Northampton Community TV - StoryCamp livecast

We connected from all over the map to discuss web storytelling.

While we did our best to demonstrate the glory of humanity’s greatest public resource (the internet!) some important ethical discussions came to light around remix, ridicule, free speech, and online identity. After comparing the power of the “many to many” internet against old turgid forms of mass media with Cory Doctorow, we asked our group of youth “does the internet allow for greater free speech?” One learner responded, “You can say more things online, but you also get more hate for it.” Case in point, in the days leading up to her presentation, one of our guest speakers, feminist video blogger Anita Sarkeesian, was recovering from a wave of serious harassment.

While this may sound like a reason to avoid engaging on the web, it actually speaks great volumes to Mozilla’s mission of empowering users of the web to instead become its makers. If you believe that “The world is made of stories, not atoms” then it’s up to us to build a molecular tapestry that demonstrates our values, and where we want to go as a society. The 2012 #StoryCamp was just a start of that process, and we now have a model to build upon. (Not to mention, because of her web literate fanbase, Anita ended up raising over $150,000 on Kickstarter).

Educators in New York City can expect a local #StoryCamp to blossom in early 2013 with partners out of Hive Learning Networks, and I just got word from Mozilla volunteers in Malaysia who are using our materials to assemble a Popcorn based story hack day at their University. Want to host your own webmaking event? It can be big or small, everything you need is at webmaker.org

So without further ado, I give you some of my favorite youth makes of the summer:

A Robot Invasion (Watch)

by Justin at Free Spirit Media in Chicago.

For week one, we introduced the concept of a Mad Lib story, where you take a pre-existing video and change the script using Popcorn. Justin took our tacky robot invasion video and made his own title and robot speech.

Robot Invasion by Justin in Chicago

“McCalories and Smarter Alternatives to Nutrition” (Watch)

By Kenneth Chan from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

A clever use of a McDonalds commercial from the Philippines to provide nutrition information and resources to healthier eating.

    "McCalories and Smarter Alternatives to Nutrition" By Kenneth Chan from the Bay Area Video Coalition

“Your Digital Footprint” (Watch)

By the Popcorn Crew at Free Spirit Media in Chicago

A team of youth at Free Spirit Media explore the effects of our online digital footprint through the narrative of Cory Doctorow’s bestseller “Little Brother.”
"Digital Footprint" by the Popcorn Crew at Free Spirit Media

Neil’s Corner (Watch)

By Neil Adams from Northampton Community TV in Northampton, MA.

    "Neils Corner" by Neil Adams from Northampton Community TV in Northampton, MA

A look into gender representation in Japanese Anime (Watch)

By Karina from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

A look into gender representation in Japanese Anime by Karina

What is Art? (Watch)

By Raven Oliver & Taylor Swan from the MARZ project at Ink People Center for the Arts in Eureka, CA.

“Flip the Script” (Watch)

By Raven Oliver & Taylor Swan from the MARZ project at Ink People Center for the Arts in Eureka, CA.

A look at sexual harassment through role reversal.

Flip the Script by Raven Oliver and Taylor Swan

What is Metro East Community Media? (Watch)

By Jonathan T.W. Reiterman from MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, OR.

Jonathan is quite the ambitious 10 year old!

    What is Metro East? by Jonathan T.W. Reiterman from MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, OR

“Not the most advanced phone in the world” (Watch)

By Kevin from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

Another critique using advertising as a means of dialog.

    "Not the most advanced phone in the world" by Kevin from the Bay Area Video Coalition

Other runners up include: The commander in chief singing “Shawty!” ♫ and dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, a game of cats playing patty cake, A look into patent wars, Microsoft v. Motorola, and a quickly assembled Happy Birthday website for Tim.

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  1. By StoryCamp Blast-Off Recap One | on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 am

    [...] Check out some of Jacob’s reflections on StoryCamp 1.0 at http://futuresoup.com/takeaways-from-storycamp/ [...]

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