Below is our co-created ‘surveillance story’ that takes place in the form of a short 5-minute news report, presenting the varying opinions on surveillance in schools. Following the video, we discuss the collaborative process we underwent in order to produce this final product and the messages we intended to convey through our video. Enjoy!
Preparation and Brainstorming
To brainstorm and plan for our video, we used Twitter, Bubble.us, Google Docs and Skype to communicate suggestions and ideas. Our Twitter group chat acted as our main communication medium, allowing us to have quick, back-and-forth communication to plan our meetings, discuss topics for our video, and share updates in regard to the progress of each team member. However, Twitter lacks functions that allow us to express higher levels of creativity for online group collaborations. This is where brainstorming applications/websites like Bubble.us, Skype and Google Docs came into play.
We experimented with Bubble.us which provided an online mind mapping function where we were able to simultaneously input our ideas and proposals onto a mind map as a group, creating a fun online experience that was also productive and time-saving. Google Docs, on the other hand, does not necessarily provide a fun experience, but similar to Bubble.us, it is useful to brainstorm, draft ideas and collaborate as a group. It is also a great tool to organise documents online which made it easy to keep track of the progress of each group member.
Before deciding on a final idea for our script, we explored a range of ways we could present our ‘surveillance story’. Whilst in a skype call together as a group we used the different collaborative tools mentioned to brainstorm a few topics we could base our short video on. The strongest topics we had come up with were, “the differing opinions of surveillance within schools”, “how surveillance can be used against us for crime”, or “the psychology behind the paranoia of surveillance”. With these topics in mind, we began to list certain genres we could form our topics around. After discussing genres such as, Comedy/Sketch, Mockumentary, News Report and Found Footage/Horror we then discussed which topics would work with each genre.
Our final decision was to create a News Report on, “the differing opinions of surveillance within schools”. We made this decision because we all concluded that the topic would be easier for all of us to write about and form a solid opinion on due to the fact that we have all experienced surveillance within schools. The News Report genre was chosen for similar reasons, we thought that because of the limited time we had to write a script, film and edit the video, creating a News Report would be a quick and easy process because we are all familiar with the format.
The process undertaken to prepare and make our video was fairly simple and easy-going. Each group member contributed an equal amount and we managed to successfully collaborate as a team. In preparation for the shooting of our video, we utilised various online collaboration tools to brainstorm ideas and effectively work together to create a finalised video script. Our main form of communication was a Twitter group chat, which we found to be a great tool to set deadlines, allocate roles, ask questions etc.
As previously mentioned, we used Bubble.us, Google Docs and Skype to brainstorm and plan our content, then once we agreed on the final concept, we set up a ‘Video Script’ document on Google Drive where all group members were able to write together and contribute their individual research. Our group activities tracking document on google drive was also a great way to keep track of who had completed what.
When the video script was finalised we moved on to filming. In order to complete this group assignment effectively with all of our busy schedules, we opted to filming separate, individual clips in our own times that we could then combine later on. Once everyone’s clips were filmed, they were uploaded to our group Dropbox by the deadline we had set. From here they could be easily accessed by Monique (video editor), so she could then proceed to put them all together using iMovie to create our final product.
In our final product, we present three different opinions on the matter of surveillance in schools.
In response to mounting security concerns in schools, many schools are choosing to expand their current camera surveillance systems or to upgrade to more technologically advanced security systems. The primary aims of surveillance systems are to enhance the safety of schools and school property and to protect students from any violence or criminal activities (Morones 2013). In today’s schools, many criminal cases have occurred, with bullying, theft, drugs, sexual assault and acts of violence on the rise (Gerler 2004).
Schools are searching for ways to increase security to provide a much needed sense of safety to their students and staff. For example, by installing security cameras at the entrance to buildings, car parks and campus ground, security can monitor people who come in and out of the school. This is an efficient way to prevent suspicious people from entering the premises. Network based video security systems allow school staff to monitor all activity going in and around schools. This enables the school to evacuate students in case of emergency situations. Surveillance camera systems at school have a significant impact to observe students and monitor unsafe behaviours, assisting in security.
While there appears to be some benefits to having surveillance in the schooling system, equally, there is considerable opposition surrounding its merit.
Taylor argues (2013, p.4) that while surveillance may provide for safer and more secure settings, many students perceive it negatively for a culmination of reasons; it undermines their privacy, contributes to a manifestation of distrust, hinders creativity and denies opportunities for social interaction. From this perspective, surveillance is seen as a mechanism for controlling the student. Accordingly, in our video we refer to the opinion of a student who argues that surveillance mechanisms, such as CCTV are exhibiting unfair control over the student. The student portrays his dissatisfaction with the school and expresses concern about how video footage of himself and other students is stored, and equally, who has access to it.
In order to present an unbiased opinion on the matter, our video also features a professional surveillance expert. This is intended to provide a comprehensive analysis on the subject that is beyond the mere opinion of two lay persons. The professional surveillance expert, provides a sociological perspective on surveillance and encourages the audience to think about it from a panopticon theory; when teachers and students know they are being watched they will generally behave appropriately.
All in all, this collaborative digital media project was an interesting and enjoyable process. We’ve learnt a lot about online collaboration and are now well equipped to use a range of tools for future projects.
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Morones, A 2013, Surveillance Cameras Gain Ground in Schools, EdWeek, retrieved 26 September 2017, <http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/31/33cameras.h32.html>.
Taylor, E 2013, Surveillance Schools: Security, Discipline and Control in Contemporary Education, Palgrave Macmillan: UK.