Engaging Curriculum & Difference Through Video Production in Elementary Teacher Education: LLRC @ Congress UBC 2019

Teacher Candidates Make Videos

Have you ever wondered why the infusion of digital technologies is largely lacking in pre-service teacher education across Canada? Or, why students are seldom exposed to a wide range of identities and perspectives necessary to negotiate difference in their daily lives, both face-to-face and online? Our upcoming conference presentation at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) responds to these pervasive educational challenges and seeks to guide educators who wish to learn:

  1. How to engage the identities and perspectives of Canada’s increasingly diverse student population
  2. How to integrate digital literacies across the elementary curriculum to prepare students for life, learning, and citizenship in networked global societies.

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This SSHRC-funded visual ethnography involves 40 elementary student teachers in a Language Arts course in the Winter of 2017 at a large Canadian university. Elementary student teacher candidates collaborate to design instruction that involves students making videos to engage cross-curricular expectations and difference using a critical literacy approach.

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At first, teacher candidates expressed trepidation about making videos. They worried about a lack of technical skills; questioned the relevance of video to engage curriculum and difference; and did not consider video making a practical classroom activity, due to time constraints and technology requirements. Most felt video production would be too difficult for students in the elementary grades. Do any of these remarks ring a bell?

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However, this hands-on experience with collaborative video making greatly expanded student teachers’ conceptions of new literacies in the classroom, and their attitudes towards video making changed dramatically. Teacher candidates were surprised making a video was easier than they had expected. Every group went beyond what was expected because they found making videos pleasurable and relevant. They were impressed by how making videos fosters collaborative skills and a sense of community. Most importantly, virtually all participants indicated a willingness to incorporate video into their own practice. One student teacher responded: “We had a lot of fun doing this, and that’s what we want for students. It’s much simpler (to make a video) than people think. Kids who aren’t strong writers can express themselves by making a video.”

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The process of teaching and learning New Literacies is complex and involves more than access to technology. Curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher education must be reimagined. This research takes up this challenge. If you wish to learn more about how to incorporate powerful, multi-dimensional, and transformational lessons using digital technologies this is your chance. We present at the CSSE at the University of British Columbia on June 5 at 1:30 in (ANGU) 350.

To read more about this research:

Watt, D. (in press). Video Production in Elementary Teacher Education as a Critical Digital Literacy Practice. Media and Communication, 7(2). DOI: 10.17645/mac.v7i2.1967 Media & Communication IN PRESS Watt June_2019