|Kroc Preschool Harlem Shake Video|
|High School Harlem Shake Video|
YouTube, however, is about creation, not just consumption. Recently, unique Harlem Shake videos were being uploaded at a rate of 4,000 per day! Approximately 40,000 Harlem Shake videos were uploaded in the first two weeks of February.
Three- and four-year old children at Kroc preschool uploaded a Harlem Shake video. Lawton-Bronson High School filmed one at an assembly. Young at heart seniors at Golden West Senior Living created a version as well. Steve Dembo (@Teach42), one of the most well-known proponents of digital storytelling in education, posted a version featuring workshop participants at the recent IntegratED 2013 conference in Portland.
What led these four groups and 40,000 other groups of people to create a Harlem Shake video?
|Senior Citizens Harlem Shake Video|
1. Connectivity and widespread access to simple digital tools: It is incredibly easy for people to use their smart phone, iPad, laptop or other digital device to film, edit, and upload a video. The technical expertise involved with the Harlem Shake videos is minimal. As Wikipedia observes, “The Harlem Shake is technically very easy for fans to reproduce, as it consists of a single locked camera shot and one jump cut.”
2. Opportunity for Creative Expression: Although the Harlem Shake videos have core elements, creators of the videos thrived on making unique versions.
3. Opportunity to publish for a global audience: Harlem Shake videos have been uploaded and viewed around the world, including Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, India, the Middle East and elsewhere. The Kroc preschool video, the Lawton-Bronson High School video, and the Golden West Senior Living video have received approximately 2000 hits, 33,000 hits, and 12,000 hits, respectively!
As reported by the New York Times, the viral popularity of Harlem Shake led Billboard magazine to change its ways. The last two years Billboard has considered including the number of YouTube plays as one of three factors that determine the ranking of the 100 hottest songs. The viral popularity of Harlem Shake ended this two-year discussion, with the 55-year old list now reflecting YouTube plays. Under the old system, the Harlem Shake song would have debuted in the top 15 of the list. With the new system, Harlem Shake debuted at the top spot.
What is the implication for educators?
|IntegratED Harlem Shake Video|
Clearly the creation of a Harlem Shake video does not constitute a substantive intellectual exercise. But when students, turn their digital storytelling inclinations to other content, the learning potential is significant. For example, depending on the nature of digital storytelling, students will
· write, revise, edit scripts;
· research and analyze content related to the theme;
· construct a persuasive argument; and
· develop a unique voice based on a perspective that emerges after evaluation of content.
Some cynics may underestimate students in asserting that the enthusiasm they show for creating Harlem Shake videos will never be matched in more serious endeavors. These cynics are dead wrong. In the York County School Division in Virginia, we are partnering with Discovery Education to test a beta version of a platform that supports students as creators of digital content. To learn more, check out this post.
As much as the Harlem Shake videos have entertained millions, I know that our students’ videos will inform, persuade, inspire, and entertain us!