How Ananth and I Explore Digital Storytelling and Video Creation

Service learning 2

This is the second article in our series on service-learning. As noted in my previous article, service-learning is an approach for empowering neurodivergent learners by encouraging and guiding them in community engagement.
One distinctive feature of service-learning is reciprocity. Reciprocity means an ongoing collaboration that is of value to learners and to the community.

This notion of reciprocity drives Ananth’s Youtube channel, Ananth’s Adventures. By sharing our experiences, ideas, and lesson plans, we hope to provide useful resources for parents, neurodivergent learners, and others. At the same time, these videos create opportunities for Ananth to practice a variety of skills. Ananth’s regular story of the month and other video projects have helped create a video presence. Thus, Ananth’s Adventures is one of our key service-learning projects.
This project has evolved since its inception in January 2023 in three main ways:

1. Evolving a Workflow
One of the most significant developments is that Ananth and I have now evolved a workflow for our video productions. This workflow also shows the type of skills practiced in each project.
Video Project Workflow
1. Read
2. Make keyword outlines
3. Build with Thinkblocks
4. Prepare theatre snippets
5. Record and edit video
6. Post on Youtube channel and share
We will discuss these skills in future videos and blog posts.

The Anatomy Project
The goal of our next video is to present an Anatomy lesson to show how keyword outlining, Thinkblocks, and Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) tools and techniques can be used for learning, thinking, and communication.

See the video below for an example of how Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) tools can be used to teach Anatomy.

We are using the workflow above for this project. By developing a clear workflow, skills can be practiced in a systematic and consistent way. The project is broken down into small parts to facilitate project management and progress tracking. The predictable structure to each project facilitates independent effort.

2. Identifying Skills to Practice
A second key development is that we have started identifying skills to be practiced on each project more precisely. We integrate academic and other skills in each video project.
Ananth uses varied skills learned throughout his educational journey in these video projects. Two examples of such skills are: 1) using Thinkblocks to organize ideas visually, and 2) creating keyword outlines to organize ideas in a text for retelling.

We identify specific skills to practice in each project and evolve these skills gradually over time. For example, Ananth has been practicing narration with Thinkblocks in the last two months. Now, we have started integrated keyword outlining to the set of skills to be practiced on each video project.

3. Supporting Other Projects
Ananth’s Adventures Youtube channel supports our other service-learning projects.

1. One of our major service-learning projects is to create a series of e-books for Ramana Sunritya Aalaya (RASA). Ananth experiences the magic of Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) explorations daily. Videos on Ananth’s Adventures Youtube channel are an important resource shared in our e-books.
2. Ananth is now an ambassador for Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) and RASA (Ramana Sunritya Aalaya). The Youtube channel is an integral part of Ananth’s work as a TAHD ambassador.
Tips for Parents
Engage neurodivergent children/adults in service-learning projects that are based on reciprocity. Clarify how you can create value for the community and identify the value to learners participating in the project.

Dr. Dasaratha Rama is a professor and home educator. She was the editor of a monograph on service-learning published by the American Association of Higher Education. This monograph was a part of a series of monographs on service-learning published by AAHE. She was also an Engaged Scholar with the Campus Compact, an association in the US dedicated to higher education civic and community engagement at colleges and universities. She is currently doing a certificate in Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) from RASA (Ramana Sunritya Aalaya).

Ananth Raghunandan is a student ambassador for RASA and TAHD. Ananth Raghunandan will be starting a diploma in Bharatanatyam shortly.

Their journey from homeschooling to collaborators and co-creators continues!

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