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This I Believe Goes Multimodal-The Results

Written by Rochelle Ramay
October 31, 2010

The following videos illustrate the accomplishments of several students whose deeply held beliefs and philosophies take shape through multimodes. 

Eduardo, in his video entitled I Believe in Language, inserts the voices of others to make his point. Even though he makes some odd slide choices, he provides a vast array of images, film, slides, and sound to make us believe in the power of language too.

When Luis heard the assignment, he immediately knew, I Believe in Love at First Sight. Although this sounds trite, it isn’t.

Dusty struggled finding a topic. At one point another student reminded her that if she didn’t completely believe in her topic, her essay would show it and her video would “just be a slide show.” She took his advice and created the language that captured her belief. 

Casey’s video is a testimony to I Believe in Union. He uses still shots, slides, and video to tell his philosophy. This video became one of the school’s most popular.

Authors of multilodal compositions anticipate an audience’s response. Because these videos explore authentic points of view and share deeply held personal philosophies, my students prepared themselves for a public showing and designed a plan for sharing their work. We reserved the school’s library, which houses a large projection screen, and we invited juniors and seniors to a full-day showing of the videos. With over 100 students, teachers, and administrators present per period, we played every video. The huge room was silent as the videos aired, and at the completion of each one, the room thundered with applause. Later, students were invited to show their videos to classes of underclassmen, clubs, teams, community groups, and faculty meetings. When something “big” is happening at school, everyone knows about it. Talk and excitement about these videos continues to happen. This is what it means to take writing public. 

Once the project officially ended, we burned a dvd for each student, we sold them to parents and grandparents (to offset some of the costs of flash drives and headphones), and many live on youtube. We made a how-to manuel for the project with advice and warnings. And now, students entering English IV expect to make a video in the spring, and the school community expects to see them aired. 

Honestly, I never thought a writing event could have such far-reaching impact. Students truly made technology work for them rather than control them. After this project, many students created multimodal projects for other classes.

A teacher rarely knows if what happens in class ever sticks, especially in the writing classroom. We hope so, and in this case, hope is realized.

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