Archives for posts with tag: Bogotá

We finished the workshop on Friday with a screening of the students’ digital stories. We transformed our classroom into a theater and invited the students’ families to come see the results of our two week workshop. We were really happy with the turnout, we filled the room and almost every student had a guest present.

Before the guests arrived, though, the students prepared a farewell presentation for us. They acted out the first day we met, with each of us played by a student; they sang us a song; they gave us goodbye cards; and Martha, their teacher, thanked us for volunteering. Because of our time crunch, so much of the workshop has been focused on leading the students through to the next stage of production, and we have not had very much time just to play, chat and get to know them. The students’ presentation showed us how much they enjoyed the workshop and our time together. We were all moved; it was a great way to start the screening.

The digital stories went over really well, and after the screening we presented each student with a DVD of all the stories produced in the workshop. We were able to publicly thank Tufts and the IGL for funding us, as well as Martha and the el Hogar staff for their incredible support. After we spoke, Ximena, the director of el Hogar, thanked us for our work and invited us back to el Hogar in the future (“el Hogar sigue abierto a ustedes“). Martha also told us that the screening was the largest gathering of our students’ parents they had ever had. We were thrilled.

Check out this slide show of photos from the workshop, many taken by the students, and check the students’ blog to read their farewells and watch some of their digital stories.


We started our second (and last) week of the workshop yesterday with much excitement. After a long weekend pause, we were finally able to see the photos the students have taken. It is incredible how, without any formal photography lessons or exposure to the medium, some students captured the most inspiring of moments. Each student’s roll is a reflection of their personality and the smile on their faces as we handed them out was priceless. Now, the second part of the workshop begins: editing.

Before handing out the pictures, we did a brief presentation on the software we will be using for the rest of the week, Final Cut Pro. To be completely honest, I personally expected the kids to be more excited about the program. As we went over the basic tools they will need to be familiar with, they just stared at the screen blankly–no questions, no comments. It is understandable, however, because this is an entirely new concept to most of the kids and we expect that they will be more enthusiastic when it is their chance to edit.

After handing out the pictures, there was a brief moment of chaos. The students ran from one room to the other, peeking at their friends photographs, showing off their own. “Oohs” and “Aahs” inundated the room, making it hard to focus on the most important aspect of the entire workshop: putting the images and the words together. We asked each student to pick 10 of the photos that worked best with their story and arrange them chronologically. We should have done a better job at explaining the purpose of this, because when several kids arrived at the editing room, their pictures did not seem to match the words they had written. Perhaps it would have been wiser to have them indicate in their story when they wanted an image to be shown and which one. This is a good lesson we learned because for the rest of the week, we will be revising their story before they are able to edit. Time is of the essence now because we only have two days before the screening. This means that we need 14 kids to edit their movie and only about 6 hours to do so. It will definitely be a challenge to have all the videos organized by Friday, but the end product will be worth it.

Check out the kids stories and some of the photographs they have taken on their blog.

Last week, in preparation for the workshop, we met with Martha and Ximena at el Hogar. Martha is the teacher we will be working with and after our meeting she invited us to meet the students and see their neighborhood. Martha works with high risk students who are referred specifically to her program. The class is made up of 17 students ages nine to sixteen. They all attend a nearby public school in the morning and then come to el Hogar for the afternoon.

When we arrived at the school, the students were very enthusiastic. We were all struck with how welcoming they were. They made us feel like we were a part of the group and Martha included us in their game, called Tingo Tingo Tango. Soon we were all singing,  dancing and telling jokes in front of each other. Martha is a really incredible teacher. At first, we didn’t understand the purpose of a game that seemed to force kids to do embarrassing things in front of each other. After everyone had participated, Martha explained how important it is to laugh at ourselves and to feel comfortable doing so with our peers. This was a perfect opening to our workshop about self-expression.

After the game, we went with Martha and her husband to walk the students home. They live in a barrio called el bosque calderón on the eastern slopes of northern Bogotá. The students were proud to show us their neighborhood and excited for the prospect to photograph it themselves during the workshop. We were amazed at how interested they were in showing us their neighborhood considering we had just met them.

The students were curious about our opinions of their neighborhood, and one student asked if neighborhoods in the U.S. look like this. El bosque is very poor, especially compared to nearby neighborhoods, but we were all struck with how many social resources the students seem to have in spite of the barrio’s apparent lack of money. We were even more surprised with the students’ behavior after Martha told us that most of them are referred after struggling severely in school, both academically and behaviorally.

After we left it was clear that the three of us, the kids and Martha are all very excited to start the workshop on Monday.

Welcome to our blog!

For two weeks this August Alex, Tatiana and Kyle will be leading a digital storytelling workshop with a group of 17 students in Bogotá at El Hogar de Nueva Granada. This project is funded through the Empower Social Entrepreneurship program through the Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) at Tufts University.

Digital stories are short, narrative-driven video pieces that use still and moving imagery to tell a story.

In our technology-based world, access and control over media has become something of a currency, one that that determines social and political standing. So, communities with unequal access to the consumption and production of media risk becoming marginalized. Here in Bogotá, we will be working with students from a low-income community who haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to manipulate and create their own media.

Our goals are twofold: first, by working with photos, videos, and music we aim to promote media literacy, addressing the concern of unequal access. Second, by having our students create first-person stories, we will have them explore their identities and become comfortable with media as a tool for expression.

Alex will be documenting the workshop throughout the entire process. While he interviews us, the teacher we will work with, and our students he hopes to better understand the impact of youth media on students. In addition, he hopes his documentation will serve as a model to share this dynamic process with others interested in undertaking similar projects.

On this blog, you will find updates of our progress, photos and videos of the workshop. Eventually, we hope that our students will post about their experiences in the workshop and share some of the photos they will take and stories they will produce.