New Media Literacies, Student Generated Content, and the YouTube Aesthetic (ED-MEDIA 2008)

ED-MEDIA 2008 paper: New Media Literacies, Student Generated Content, and the YouTube Aesthetic.

Abstract: The proliferation of content generation and sharing through Web 2.0 tools has created what Henry Jenkins refers to as new media literacies. We explore the application of new media literacies through digital media creation with eighth graders. This pilot project promotes online video capabilities in conjunction with the time-honored practice of adolescents reading classic and young adult literature. Through the project’s curriculum design and pedagogical apparatus, student-generated digital stories illustrate that complex thinking and learning and the YouTube aesthetic do not need to be mutually exclusive. We provide the theoretical foundations for our work as well as preliminary analysis of student-generated products. We will introduce a revised scaffolding process that incorporates a series of rubrics (based on Henry Jenkins framework on new media literacies and Biggs and Collis SOLO taxonomy) to facilitate evidence of complex thinking in the students’ next round of video products.

In-class project and at-home work. Only four students involved.

Benefits to learners:

  • Improved critical research skills
  • Discussed and appreciated copyright issues

This study related to the student skills gap — identified in the 2007 Horizon Report — “between understanding how to use tools for media creation and how to create meaningful content. Although new tools make it increasingly easy to produce multimedia works, students lack essential skills in composition, storytelling, and design.”

Complexities of student-created video:

  • Creativity vs appropriateness (tensions with popular culture: adult teachers and teenage learners have different views on appropriateness)
  • Levels of scaffolding? Modeling? Too much and the learners simply repeat what is given back to them
  • Distributed expertise: change in traditional teacher role
  • Copyright and IP issues: need to appropriately cite and sourced material

A lesson learned was that students lacked many of the basic skills needed for the project:

  • Computer skills
  • Reference skills
  • Downloading skills
  • Flip video skills
  • Video editing skills

Future directions for the project:

  • Provide learners with a tech pack: camera, tripod, USB drive, headphones — one convenient toolkit
  • Pilot with entire class

Authors: Hiller Spires, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, NCSU, USA; Gwynn Morris, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, NCSU, USA

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