For several weeks, students went out into their community to capture their personal hotspots from their maps. They interviewed family members, store owners, themselves, and even random people off the street. It has been an amazing experience to see them grow during this process - they have become more comfortable approaching people and asking them questions; they have learned more about their family and community; and they have become quite proficient in their media production skills.
Before this project began, I didn't realize that much of the hotspot content would focus around students' families. I assumed the interviews would represent the social milieu of these students. As a result, we can see a rich representation of these students' lives. They have gone back home to interview parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. One student interviewed her brother-in-law. In a very emotional interview, Abel Ortiz (Luz Ramos' brother-in-law) explains how the Mar Vista Gardens Housing Development Projects have changed for the better. It was once a hotbed for gang violence, and he explains how his older brother fell victim to the violence and was murdered over 15 years ago.
Abel's story like many others whom the students interviewed fill the social landscape. We get to experience another Venice, a Venice from the inside. With these personal lenses, we can begin to re-imagine this coastal community that is iconic in so many other ways. But the journey is incomplete. There is a need to see what these places actually look like and how they relate. Therefore, it is essential for students use the photographs and videos of these people and places and put together a visual representation as well.
So, students developed their second interactive panorama using Vuvox, but instead of focusing it on the Venice Boardwalk, they present their own communities and the people and places that make it meaningful. We get to see how different neighborhoods interact with the Venice community as Venice High School plays an essential role in their lives.
Although the Vuvox application posed major technical issues, students were able to create some very intelligent work. These murals are amazing and so are the students who produced them.