Video in the K-5 Classroom

Article: From Sharing Time to Showtime! Valuing Diverse Venues for Storytelling in               Technology-Rich Classrooms

Author: Paige D. Ware, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Literacy and Language Acquisition, SMU

Journal: Language Arts, 84 (1), Sept. 2006, pp. 45-54.

The author does a case-study of two nine-year old children and their reaction to the multi-modal resources available to them in their quest to be storytellers. This case study takes place in a low-income community in a large northern California urban area. The children were part of a group of kids in a technology-rich summer literacy class called (DUSTY), Digital Underground Storytelling for Youth. They tell stories and have the option to create multimodal movies.  The two students both enjoy story-telling, but have different perspectives on using technology as a part of their story-telling experience.

The students in this program had access to laptop computers, internet, scanners, digital cameras, digital recorders and a voice capture studio. They created handwritten stories and then could add images, music, movement, and voiceover. The author found that most of the stories taken to the multimodal level were those that were of high interest or performance tellability, as opposed to those of everyday tellability. She cautions us, as educators, not to place value judgments on whether stories are single or multiple authored, or on whether they are about high-interest or everyday subjects.

In the first case study, Inma is a student who is very much at home with converting her written story into video (NETS*S 1. Creativity and Innovation).  She is confident in her abilities as a single storyteller. She often helps her peers and volunteer college students with the software programs (NETS*S 6. Technology Operations and Concepts) and troubleshooting.  “When asked to think about how a multimodal story might change her written story, she focused on the need to use images thoughtfully and to record her voice with emotion and intonation (Ware, 2006)” (NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making).  She spends time on each image, using Photoshop to add details and text.  Inma demonstrates NETS*S 5. Digital Citizenship, every time she carefully crafts her written story into a video from which she wants her peers to pick up interesting details. She also helps her peers with technology in an encouraging way.

In the second case study, Miguel is a student who prefers sharing  tellership of the story with his peers. When his teacher encourages him to add details, or revise, he instead enlists his peers to contribute to the story verbally. Possibly because of his limited exposure to computers, or his preference for reading, he is more comfortable letting the volunteer put together his video, while he continues to tell stories. His stories are often about everyday topics for which he had a variety of ways to hold his audience’s attention. He is typical of the type of student who might present a challenge for educators incorporating video making into the literacy curriculum.

Though I had hoped, and still do, to find more articles on the use of video by teachers and students, I felt that this article was worth reading.  I found it useful, interesting and relevant to consider how different students might react to the use of technology. We (educators) often assume that students will gravitate to technology, but this is not always the case. When students are hesitant with technology, it is our job to investigate why this may be happening. (NETS*T 2c. Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources. ) We may need to simply do more modeling (NETS*T 3d.) and promotion (NETS*T 4b. Address diverse needs by using learner-centered strategies).  We may need to tweak the video project, by giving it more of a collaborative flavor for the student who prefers this to solo video projects. Personally, I think I would have students do a technology inventory, just like I would have them do a reading inventory.  I would have them reflect on questions about technology, their interactions with it and feelings about it, so that I could prepare lessons which would take these preferences into account.

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4 Responses to Video in the K-5 Classroom

  1. tswagner06 says:

    In my opinion, this article hits on one of the best features of technology. It often lets students use their own creativity to accomplish the same task in completely different ways! I think that this helps students with their problem solving and critical thinking skills. I always appreciate it when my students are using all of their skills to create the best possible outcome for their projects. Technology often allows students to do that. I like the fact that this article detailed two students and their different approaches to the same task. They both accomplished it to the best of their abilities.

  2. i am always intrigued by how two students of the same age and from the same place can be so different! This just goes to show you that we need to be sensitive to what kids need!
    I love that this study gives all kinds of resources to these two kids, but they both look at it so differently. I think you are spot on when you say that educators seem to think that kdis will gravitate toward the technology if it’s available….It’s not true. I think as an overall statement it’s true, but I also think that we start to think “overallish” and forget about the few who would not. Lastly, I like when you say that kids may just need more scaffolding. I think kids can always use more scaffolding but we are too focused on getting the project done that we rush. Seems like everything is so rushed these days… i wish there was a way to slow down!

  3. I like your comment, “We (educators) often assume that students will gravitate to technology, but this is not always the case.” As we have been talking about implementing iPads in our school, I was recently surprised (and excited) to hear some students say that they would not want to replace all of their textbooks and written assignments with their digital counterparts. They still find value in reading and writing on paper. I agree that it is our job to find out why they may be hesitant and apply that knowledge to our teaching practices. Even though they are surrounded by more technology than we ever were, simply being surrounded by it does not guarantee understanding and fluency.

    • kfrisk12 says:

      I am also taking 632 this term and the required text by Frank Smith, The Book of Learning and Forgetting, has an interesting chapter on technology. I think Smith is cautioning to keep the human bonds between the teacher and students, even though we have ever increasing technology. Thanks for your comment…it helped me make that connection.

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