There’s something very exciting happening in my Communications Technology classes.
Technology no longer matters.
This is not to say that tech curriculum is not being served (it is) but rather that the formal curriculum plays a supporting role to the students in the classroom. These students are individuals with personal narratives that are layered and complex. With this, my role is to ensure that these narratives become part of the curricular journey and that their voices (extended through their creative work), are shared and heard.
In extension to this, the students must believe that they have the ability to take part in rich conversations – this is my goal in teaching new media production and theory. I do not teach technology but rather the application of communication theory. Ideas and discourse must take precedent with technology acting as the enabler. Without this relationship, students will not be pushed past their supposed limitations and importantly their work would not be grounded in social discourse.
The journey to scaffolding a learning experience beyond the tech is layered. Yes, my students have had much fun producing movie posters, short videos and other graphic media vignettes. However, this is just a build up to their culminating understanding of media communications.
As of today, students are entering their Culminating Unit where they will be producing a short 3 – 5 minute short film which will be screened at a Cineplex theater – bringing their work to the masses. This process will be layered, with students moving through the four stages of production: Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production and Marketing and Distribution. The film itself, must address either directly, or, indirectly codes of cinema: race, gender, institutions, ethnicity or a self-awareness of genre itself. Whether it is Sci-Fi or Horror, the student movie makers must entertain and importantly say something.
This is their growth as auteurs.
It will all begin with the Pre-Production – a layered and thorough process where students must provide a detailed rationale for their film. What is the film saying? Why should it be made? Also they will develop the following: Narrative Treatment, Screenplay, Visual Treatment, Soundscape and Storyboard. This process is professional and speaks to my experiences within the film industry milieu and the need to be effective communicators.
In the end, the technology is a means to enable the critical voice. Without the voice, the technology becomes meaningless.