Thursday, June 30, 2011

Using Digital Video to Engage Students

Digital media are buzz words you often hear in education today. Thankfully, research is showing us that using digital media to create digital videos is paying off in the classroom. I recently read an article in the Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE) journal about three beginning English Language Arts (ELA) teachers and how they used digital videos to engage their students.

The teachers wanted to find a way to get students to look beyond the literal meaning of a piece of text and believed digital video was the right strategy for helping students to achieve this objective. Students were to explore a piece of literature, poem, etc. and capture the human experience from it in a digital video. The teachers were thrilled with the profound ways the students were able to share their opinions, thoughts, and feelings through images, sound, and minimal print text. All three teachers shared a common opinion; a traditional teaching tool (writing a paper) would not have produced the same creative result.

What was the result? By having students create digital videos, their literacy skills (storytelling, plot development, personal voice, etc.) and writing skills (researching, storyboarding, drafting, revising, and adding/deleting content) had improved. Students were challenged because they really had to think about what they saw before they could start the project. Considering most students engage regularly with a variety of digital media outside of school, we should build on that exposure in the classroom. Giving students the right tools for creative expression will engage students and promote higher thinking skills.

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