I had the idea from this crowd-sourced version of Star Wars. People from around the world recorded 15 second chunks of the film, which were then spliced together to make a new version.
What if we had all 160 Year 8 French students team up to record tiny slices of the French "Three Little Pigs" play they're currently doing?
So we (literally) cut up the play script into sections and dished them out to 160 students in groups.
We only gave them an hour or two to record... there was a sense of urgency, and if they didn't finish, they didn't finish.
There was momentum and buzz in the air:
The student groups saved their videos to a school portal with the right number code in the name.
I downloaded them, uploaded them to YouTube separately, then used the live YouTube editor to snip them together in order.
It took perhaps 90 minutes to edit them together.
I was quite excited, and so were the students when we showed the final result, which had a little snip of every video in it:
Here is the final result:
The best thing is that this short activity has now expanded the students' horizons regarding new directions they could take for their full recordings, which they are doing now.
The crowd-source approach has put everyone's creativity on display, to the whole year group, but also the whole world via YouTube. This creates a community of practice feeling, like the students are all trying to come up with someone original that pushes the envelope.
This force that is surging through the entire year group is grassroots... it's a learner-community thing. It is about a zillion times stronger than a teacher-driven force.
The trick for teachers is not to drive the learning directly, but to create spatial and relational structures that nurture a ground-swell flame into a roaring fire.
Once that has happened, everything is settled. Try to stop them learning, you can't. Anything less suddenly looks not worth it.
"Engagement" is an overused term but there's a very good reason for that.