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Video and Writing in the Elementary Grades: Conclusion

Written by Chuck Jurich
February 16, 2011

Video production is an exciting writing genre that offers students new opportunities to express themselves in different modes. Even through the video production environment is technologically orientated, it is important to understand and appreciate the literacy involved when young children seamlessly work with multiple modes including traditional print, photography and cinematography, video, animation, sound, and other digital texts. Collaboration is integral to video work and we teachers need to teach students how to do it. Likewise, the use of technology needs to be addressed, not as “special” and coveted rewards for “advanced” students, but as basic tools of contemporary writing.

From the previous two examples, its is easy to see the main characteristics of video production: multimodality, advanced and extensive use of technologies, and social and collaborative writing. Setting up a shot is done collaboratively and socially. An actor might take gestural and linguistic modes into consideration while the cameraperson focus on the visual and spatial modes. Mastery over the technological elements has to be in place or nothing will be captured. The editor balances the technological and human demands, putting all the modes together to make a comprehensible and compelling story.

I have learned a great deal about writing through video production and am excited about the possibilities it creates. Video work naturally employs an overt master/apprentice model and the teacher is only one of many people in the process who gives advice, instruction, and feedback. Collaboration isn’t just about “getting along”– its also about how we interact. Video production has taught me to respect student ideas but also to respect the roles that students perform and trust their decisions.

I encourage teachers to take on this wonderful writing adventure.

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