We are really pushing summarizing and paraphrasing in our schools this year. The ability to take relevant information and boil it down to its essentials, and to represent that information in language and terms that have meaning to the individual is a skill that, regardless of century, people need to have.
From this, all sorts of ideas begin to spring up. If you read Tom Barrett’s collection of the 32 uses of the Flip Cam in your classroom, this project makes even more sense. I think that taking a tome like Jane Eyre and asking students to do it in this format, with similar constraints, is a beautiful idea. I’d love to hear of other examples where people did this, or something similar.
Now does it ensure that the students pulled everything out of the novel that they should have? That’s up to you and how you assess it. But for me, this project, coupled with some other more traditional assessments would be more than enough.