This post by Eric Rice on making media is getting to where we need to be as educators.
The concept of multiliteracies, of expanding our definition of literacy to encompass ideas of aurality and video (among other forms of representation) is vital to educating children to survive in this century. I’m not talking about schooling, about training children to be prepared for high stakes standardized tests; I’m talking about education, easing children into their role as adults, ready to fully understand and participate in their society.
The question he asks:
What if making video (moving pictures) was as natural a process as writing?
is worth spending some time with. What if making videos (and audio files for that matter) was a basic form of communication? How would it change our modes of communicating? How would it change our choices, our way of expressing ourselves? How would it change the choices students have in our classrooms and what it would mean to be capable of expressing yourself? Ideas of podcasting, video blogging, and written blogs all stand beside each other and are vital choices and options.
This year I have had students make choices to shoot videos, to produce audio diaries, and to write essays all as choices. Their choice.
The question soon becomes one of teaching students what is the most appropriate form of representation for the information they are trying to design and communicate. Students need a full toolbox of design skills, of choices, but they do need to understand what is appropriate for what they are trying to communicate. Why shoot a video when a note will do? Why write an essay when a photo collection communicates their thoughts easier.
Giving students choices is a great way to motivate them, but they need to work with a full understanding of the grammars of the mediums they are working with.