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How to Break through Techno-Shock and Build Multi-Media Units
Author(s): Rachel Sutz, Maria W. Warren and Holly Williams
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How to Break through
Techno-shockand Build
Multi-mediaUnits
RachelSutz,MariaWWarren,andHollyWilliams
earning new softwarep...
Awebpage,orhomepage,unlikea Hyper-
Studiopresentationin an individualclass-
room,is availableto anyonewho canlog
ontotheIn...
ishedproductswithotherstudentsandpar-
entsattheschool.Wealsohopedtogivethe
studentsa subjecttheycareabout.Tothe
students,t...
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English Journal article

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English Journal article

  1. 1. How to Break through Techno-Shock and Build Multi-Media Units Author(s): Rachel Sutz, Maria W. Warren and Holly Williams Reviewed work(s): Source: The English Journal, Vol. 87, No. 1, Media Literacy (Jan., 1998), pp. 25-27 Published by: National Council of Teachers of English Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/822016 . Accessed: 03/07/2012 11:28 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. . National Council of Teachers of English is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The English Journal. http://www.jstor.org
  2. 2. How to Break through Techno-shockand Build Multi-mediaUnits RachelSutz,MariaWWarren,andHollyWilliams earning new softwareprograms takestime,andusingcomputersand video technologyin the classroom oftenproducescomplicationsthat themore reliabletextbooks,chalk, andblackboardneverdo.Whenwe threeteachersrecentlydecidedto designa multi-mediaEnglishunit onFloridawriters,wehadnoexpe- rience with the two softwarepro- gramswe wantedto use, andonly one of us hadanyexperiencewitha video camera.Yet,welearnedaboutusingHyper- Studio,constructedawebpage,andcreated anoriginalfilm.Weofferherea framework forapproachinganynewtechnology. HYPERSTUDIO HyperStudiois presentationsoftware thatallowsa teacherto createa "stack"of cardswhichdisplaytextor graphics.With HyperStudio,theteachercanprojectimages (titles,listsofmajorpoints,orvisualimages andfilmclips)onanoverheadscreen,orthe studentscan sit at individualcomputers, click-on"buttons,"andworkthrougha se- riesofexercises. Eachcardin the stackholdsapproxi- mately25 linesoftext,soastanzaorashort poemfitsnicely,forexample,thepoemwe choseforourunit,"SongoftheSea,"bySusie KellyDean (1967, Songsof theSunshine, Tampa,Florida,n.p.).Apoem,becauseofits descriptive,condensednature,offersanop- portunitytohighlightindividualwords,cre- atingbuttonswhicharelinkedtoothercards in thestack.UsingHyperStudio,we created aninteractivewritingexercisewithbuttons onthewordsCrestedwave(leadstoapicture of sandandocean),Dipanddive(asksstu- dentstolistactionverbsin connectionwith swimmingat the beach),sky (asksthem to listtheadjectivestheythinkofwiththeword sky),and tide(asksthemto listwordimages ofthebeach).Aftergeneratingthese,thestu- dentsthenwritea shortpoem. The tutorialprogramin HyperStudio showedus thewaysto changebackground color,thetextcolor,textstyle,andvarious methodsofpaintingordrawingonthecard. Playingwiththeseartist'stoolsisfun.Sound effectscanbeaddedtothebuttons-sounds suchasababblingbrookoradistinctclick. Varioustransitionscanbe chosenso thata carddissolvesoris "rained"offthescreenso thatthenextcardispresented. Althoughthetutorialis strong,we still encounteredalittletroublebecausethepro- gram'sbuttonsformovingtoanotherscreen arelabeled"clickhere"or"more"andarede- signedto be placedat the bottomof the screen.Wewantedtocreatebuttonsonindi- vidualwordswithinthepoem.Theinstruc- tionsdidn'tprovideanyguidance,but we solvedtheproblemby usinginvisiblebut- tonsandthenhighlightinginboldthewords whichthestudentscouldactivate. We also integrateda graphicon one card.WiththeOptionsheadingofthesoft- ware,graphicsandclipsofvideofromaVHS tapeoralaserdisccanbeaddedtoacard- ifthere'senoughmemoryinyourcomputer. WithAVequipmenthookeduptothecom- puter,afreeze-framefromaVHStapecanbe insertedintothecard-the processweused to adda beachsceneto thepoem"Songof theSea."Thesoftwarealsohassomegraph- ics and a "Quicktimevideo"(a shortani- matedsequence). Asbeginners,weweresuccessfulinpro- ducingatitlecard,anintroductioncard,two cardsofthepoemtext,a graphicscardand fouractivitycards-withminimaltimeand frustration.Thesoftwarefunctionsin pre- sentingthe poemas an interactivetext,a promptto domorewriting,andasameans forthestudentstocreateoriginalwork. CONSTRUCTINGTHEWEB PAGE A web pageis a seriesof screenswhich allows the viewerto type responsesand to moveto otherlocationsby clickingon links. Three teachersdetail theirmastery ofmedia. EnglishJournal 25
  3. 3. Awebpage,orhomepage,unlikea Hyper- Studiopresentationin an individualclass- room,is availableto anyonewho canlog ontotheInternet.Wewantedtolinkourstu- dentsto otherstudentwritersandofferour studentsapublicforumfortheirwriting. A web pageis moredifficultto create thana HyperStudiopresentation.Thelarge manualssold in bookstoresare probably helpful,butmostbeginnerswillneedexpert helptofinishtheproject.Designingthepage withtheprogramPageMillwasfunforus. Weexperimenteddroppingiconsontohigh- lightedtexttocreatethelinksbetweenpages. Andafterhoursofreadingandexperiment- ing,andwithexperthelp,weuploadedstu- dentwritingontotheInternet.Thislaststep of "constructing"the pagerequireswriting somecomputercode.However,somehome page buildersjust copy the codingfrom someoneelse'swebpagebyaddingnewtext toapleasingdesign.Agoodsourceofinfor- mationaboutcopyingcoding(insteadof writingitfromscratch)isBardWilliams'The WorldWideWebfor Teachers(1996, Foster City,CA:InternationalDataGroupBooks). Inadditionto thestudentwritings,we includedaresponsepageandalistofother sourcesontheNetthatsuggesttherangeof addressesavailable: 1. http://www.ee.mcgill.ca/-nverever/hem/ pindex.html(ErnestHemingwayPage) 2. http://fla-keys.com/index.htm(Florida KeysPage) 3. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/(FloridaMu- seumofNaturalHistory) 4. http://www.dos.state.fl.us/dhr/museum/ (FloridaMuseumofHistory) MAKINGMOVIES Whenwestartedworkingon ourorigi- nalvideo,wethoughtthatthisthirdcompo- nent of the unitwould surelybe the easiest! We wanted to transforman audio-taped story,availableata nearbyuniversitylibrary, into an experimentalvideo montageusing our originalfootage and scenes from two movies.Afterstrugglingthroughsomeof the filmingand tryingto plan the editing, we foundan excellentreference:TomSchroep- pel'sVideoGoals:GettingResultsWithPictures and Sound(1995, Tom Schroeppel,3205 PriceAvenue,Tampa,FL 33611). Using a zoom-lens camera,we learnedto zoom all the wayin on oursubjectandthento zoom out to a wide view and then compose the finalshot.Wealsolearnedthatweneededa tripod:shootingwhilewalkingwiththecam- eraproducesanearthquakefortheviewer. Intheeditingroom,welearnedhowlong tensecondscanbe.Televisioncommercials, afterall,areonlya fewseconds,butareco- herentminiaturefilmswhichrelyon many images-shortcutsofdifferentoralternating shots.Ifwehadshotourvideoinreal-time- exactlyasithappens,likeahomemovie-the projectwouldhavebeenfairlysimple,butnot nearlyas effective.To composeour eight- minutevideo,we shotabouttwohoursof film,papereditedorplannedthescriptsec- ond-by-second,chose severalshots from commercialvideos,andthenspenthoursand hoursintheeditingroom.Wehadtocutour imagesandvideotapethemontoourmaster. Wehadlaidanall-black,silentcontroltrack bytapingwiththelenscapon,withthecam- erain a quietroom.Thisextrastepcreates momentsof totalblack,as wellas fade-to- blackshotsinsteadof multicolorsnowbe- tweenshots.Finally,weusedacomputerwith "videotoaster"softwareto createourcredit and titlepageswith two-tonebackground andspecialeffectssuchaslightning. LEARNINGA NEWTECHNOLOGY Werecommendthreemajorstrategies. Choosethe LiteraryWorks, Then the Technology Technologyshouldbe integratedin a carefully-designedplan,a planwhich fo- cusesonyourgoalsforthestudents-noton the technology.Decidewhatyou wantto achievewiththestudents.Thenallowtech- nologyto help. In designingthe "Florida Voices"unit, we hopedto encouragestu- dentsto use KateRonald'sadviceto them: "Writeaboutsomethingyou careaboutto someone you care about. Even if you are writingin school, try to have a presence- show themthatsomebody'shome,working. Writersmust know and love not only their subjectsbut theiraudiencesas well, so that ideas will dance, so that ideas will travel" (1993, "Style:The HiddenAgendain Com- position Classes or One Reader'sConfes- sion,"TheSubjectIsWriting,WendyBishop, ed., Portsmouth:Boynton/Cook,67-68). We expandedthe students'audienceby working toward the ambitious goal of a "FloridaWritersFair,"muchlikeahistoryor sciencefairin whichthestudentssharedfin- 26 January1998
  4. 4. ishedproductswithotherstudentsandpar- entsattheschool.Wealsohopedtogivethe studentsa subjecttheycareabout.Tothe students,the Floridaauthorsof the short storiesandpoemsusedin theunitareun- knownvoices.Quitecandidly,teachingthese worksmightproduceyawnson mostdays, butweusedthreetechnologiestomakesto- riesandpoemsmorevisualandinteractive forouryoungMTVdevotees. Buildon YourStrengths We learnedthatsmallsuccessesbuild confidence.Webeganourownventureinto technologyseveralyearsagowithCDplay- ersandfilmandwiththedesireto generate moreenergyin longerclassmeetingtimes withblockscheduling.(Asimplestart,for example,mightbe showingbrieffilmclips toaccompanythebalconyscenefromRomeo andJuliet--clipsfromthe scenefromWest SideStoryandfromPrettyWoman.Oryou mightplayaCDwhilethestudentsfreewrite abouta topic:forexample,usingthemusi- cianEnya's"Watermark"to promptpoetry- writingaboutswimmingintheocean.) With our Floridawritersproject,we learnedthatif youarea Macuser,youwill findHyperStudioaneasystartingproject,be- causeof itspoint-and-clickapproach.With HyperStudio,wedesigneda90-minuteclass sessioninwhichthestudentslookatimages of thesea,listento soundsof thesurf,and choosewordsthattheyassociatewiththese sensual experiences.They sketch "My Florida"andthencreatea foundpoemwith thewordsora visualpoemwiththewords andtheirsketches.Theycompleteafinished productbeforetheclassperiodends. Ifyouuseavideocameraathome,then creatingandeditingan experimentalvideo montagewillprobablygiveyou anearlysuc- cess. No matterhow carefullyyou plan for success on a modest project,however,plan also for mistakesand setbacks.In creating our originalvideo montage,we had to re- shoot severalminutesof videowhenwe for- got to rewindafterreviewingthe video and changinglocations.In the editingroom,we worked for over six hours editingan eight- minute video--completing the process of blockingthetape,recordingthenarrationon one ofthreetracks,papereditingorplanning the second-by-secondseriesof images,cut- tingtheimageswithaneditingmachine,and creatingtitleswithavideotoaster. Indeed,everystepof ourprojecttook twicethehoursthatwehadplanned.Some- timeseventhebestsetofinstructionsdoesn't tellthenewusertheonekeypieceofinfor- mationthathe orsheneeds.Aswe finished ourhomepage,we foundthatinstruction writersarethe mastersof understatement. Oneofthelastpagesoftheinstructionbook- letnotedthatwhenwecompletedourbeauti- fullydesignedpages,wewouldneedtocheck withsomeonewithprogrammingexperience to makesomeof thevariousfeaturesfunc- tionandtouploadthepagetotheWeb.And again,wediscoveredthatwehadunderesti- matedthetimeandeffortrequiredwhenwe checkedwithourlocalexpertandtypedor editedpageafterpageofprogrammingcode. Learnto Talkto the Techies Becausewewantedtoalsoteachourstu- dentsthetechnologieswewerelearning,we couldn'tturnoverallthetechnicalaspectsof ourprojecttoexpertfriendsandcolleagues. Welearnedthattheexpertsusuallytalktoo fastandassumethatwe understandmore thanwedo.Ourstrategiesincluderepeating slowlywhatthe"techie"saysandconverting the instructionsto numberedsteps,as in, "Okay,so first,I type'chmod,'spaceand then,second,I..W.."Wealsotriedtomeetthe techiehalf-waybylearningthejargon. SOMEENCOURAGINGWORDS Aswebecamemiredinthetechnicalas- pectsofourambitiousproject,wehadtore- mindourselvesthatwewerenotturningour languageartsclassroomsintoa toolscourse forstudents.Instead,weareusingandteach- ing technologyto encouragethe students' voices.Ourstudentshavecomputermodem hookupsat home,lovemusicvideos,and grew up playing Game-Boyvideo games. Evenourless advantagedstudentsown CDs and can use an Intemrnetconnectionat the public library.These media provide the voices they hearoutsidethe classroom,and therefore,canbecomethemeansforthesto- riestheyreadandwriteinsidetheclassroom. RachelSutzis a doctoralstudentat FloridaStateUni- versityin Tallahassee.MariaW Warrenteachesat the Universityof West Florida in Pensacolaand has a compositionweb page at http://www.uwf.edu.Holly Williamsteachesmiddleschool languagearts at the Florida State University Developmental Research School.BothWarrenand Williamsare also doctoral studentsat FloridaState. Weareusing andteaching technologyto encouragethe students voices. EnglishJournal 27

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