The Digitization of Learning: Looking to Energize Classroom Instruction? Bring in Digital Video

Article excerpt

In the United States, 21st century students are immersed in media, squandering more time each day in front of various screens and displays than the typical full-time employee spends at work. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the recent Kaiser Family Foundation study, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds, which looked at the media habits of 2,000 third-through 12th-grade students nationwide, found, among other things, that students spend more than eight-and-a-half hours daily consuming media.

True masters of multi-tasking, children today watch television while text messaging friends and downloading songs to their MP3 players--wolfing down their daily dose of media in just under six-and-a-half hours. But even with this efficiency, media usage eats up more hours per day than school. And as the study confirms--and most parents will attest--media consumption ranks second only to sleeping in the average day of the American teen.

Re-engaging Students With Digital Storytelling

Attuned as they are to the media habits of their students, educators are showing an increasing interest in the concept of visual literacy. This is because teaching visual literacy can be an effective way of reaching students whose primary means of interaction, communication, and entertainment is visual. By harnessing their fascination and familiarity with multimedia, educators are striving to re-engage students--many of whom are left cold by traditional text-based learning--in the learning process.

Yet educators are not merely pandering to their students' media preferences. By teaching them proficiency in information and communication technologies, educators are preparing students for everyday life and workplace productivity in today's plugged-in world. Teachers can use digital video to excite and engage students in learning activities across a range of subjects and activities. …