Embracing lives through the video lens: An exploration of literacy teaching and learning with digital video technology in an urban secondary English classroom
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This ethnographic study of an urban secondary English classroom explores the effects of integrating digital video technology in the curriculum as an expressive art form to interpret print text. Of particular interest were the ways in which the classroom culture changed with digital video integration and the ways in which visualization and conceptualization transacted in the process of interpreting print text through digital video composition. Little research exists that focuses on the curricular integration of new digital technologies with adolescent students. Data were gathered in two English classes taught by the same teacher. Sources of data include focal students and teacher interviews, classroom observations and interactions and both teacher and student artifacts. The data were analyzed inductively and recursively using qualitative techniques. A semiotic approach was used to analyze the student produced digital videos. Analysis revealed that the learning space in the urban secondary English classroom changed dramatically with the digital video integration. Learned habits of resistance among the students were dropped and in their place a supportive social environment of adolescent co-learners evolved. Findings also revealed that marginal students who typically were nonresponsive to teaching and learning methods composed socially critical semiotic products in their digital videos. Further, when composing in print was the precursor to video interpretation, these students became effectively and cognitively engaged in the writing as well as in the production of the video interpretation in what I term the "aesthetic logic" of creative analytical thinking. Ultimately, integrating the digital video technology in one urban secondary English classroom seemed not only to support literacy learning but to awaken new attitudes of creativity and social awareness particularly in students previously believed to be educationally "at-risk."