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Peer Review

Story of Stuff Project with Annie Leonard

by Annie Leonard


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 29, 2009 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This site is based on a movie "The Story of Stuff." The site demonstrates through animation the life-cycle of manufacturing products and the environmental impact of consumption.
Type of Material: Animation
Recommended Uses: Classes in Business Sustainability, Policy, ethics
Technical Requirements: Browser with Shockwave.
Identify Major Learning Goals: Students will develop an understanding of how mass consumption is part of Western industrial societies and how such consumption has led to a host of environmental problems. This site teaches students some of the basics of the manufacturing-consumption life-cycle.To quote the site: "From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.
Target Student Population: Undergraduate and graduate students
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This is a very well thought through site that uses animation to illustrate key concepts. The site is exposes and challenges students to think about how their everyday consumer habits have a direct impact on the natural environment. The animation is fast-paced, humorous and effective.
Concerns: The site is obviously based on a pro-environmentalists agenda. This is really not a concern, per se, but a fact.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The animation is very effective in gaining and maintaining students' attention and interest. The site is also humorous and reinforces concepts in a creative and entertaining way. The modules allow instructors to adapt it for their own classroom use.
Concerns: This site does not address issues beyond it's single focus on how consumption impacts the natural environment. This is not a criticism, but it's use is very specific.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The shockwave animation is very well done and delivered by a compelling speaker. It is simple, concise and gets across its point without getting too "preachy". The materials are offered under a Creative Commons license so that the animation can be used in any non-commercial situation with attribution and without modification.
Concerns: None really noted.