Prosumer Approaches—-Postmodern Reflections on Learning, Teaching, Identities, and Living. (reading response 3)

I am very impressed by this video because it shows how powerful the new media can be in the writing classroom and also in the society as a whole. Writing’s function can be strengthened through using of videos and the like. The multi-modal composition also brings forth the issue of new media literacies, which in this post-print era are quite an urgent task for writing instructors. As far as pedagogical method is concerned, new media provides opportunities in teaching innovation and motivating students to compose.

I think in a traditional classroom where we ask students to write a composition is too boring for them in this digital era. Whereas there is a necessity to enhance their writings, sometimes we have to allow them to explore creative and new ways to express themselves. I have noticed that my students in China can be very different on line from who they are in real life. I made friends with them on Chinese Facebook and other blogs and it turned out they could be quite creative and dependent in thinking than the hate schooling youths in class.

The still image assignment and new media production experiment are good examples for non-textual and multi-modal writing classrooms. The non-textual argument, the students’ engagement in the activity, and what they learn from one another in group work is quite good for a student-centered classroom practice. Further, what he mentions the “intuitive skills” that students have as they group up in this digital era that not only verbal communications and writings are engaged, but also frequent expression of themselves with images, sounds, and videos. The intricate communication systems we have nowadays demand much more profound and wider knowledge to be able to express ourselves and to understand others.

Literacy for a world citizen is not only the verbal skills in the printing era, but also the ability to navigate and get what we want in a vast information sea, the ability to produce and understand multimodal and multi-media writing. Our identity as writers shifted from a simple pen and paper form to a complex but colorful one. Issues such as ethics, intellectual property rights, legal enforcement on privacies, and so on will be increasingly urgent for many areas, including rhetoric and composition.

Putting overlapping audio tracks to a video presentation or the like is significant. It reminds me of one of Chinese websites “xuduba” where professionals and amateurs dubbing voices for popular TV series. However, it is different from how dubbing voice is normally practiced. They change the original lines of the actors and actresses, making sarcastic comments on political and social phenomena, including the heavy rain fall this summer and the ineffective drainage system in Beijing. This is a little different from the overlapping sound tracks, but the same in their nature of composing with sound systems.

Seeing Steven Jobs talking there in the video alive is a great part of this reading/watching experience. I mean, imagine the time when we do not have this video technology. Now that we have it, images and sounds compose by themselves much more vivid and profounder than just print. Dead people are still talking to us as if they are alive, more attractive to the eyes and souls rather than reading a book in which Jobs or others express ideas. However, I am not saying this in a way that we should give up printed works. I am saying that this new media way of expression can be quite effective, direct, and become a good supplement to the verbal texts.

Additionally, I love the idea that test scores do not manifest one’s intelligence. This sort of brings me back to my second paragraph where I talked about how some students may seem quite different in a classroom and on their blogs. It is the same that those who have the lowest test scores are not necessarily clever enough. In fact, many low scored students tend to be the most creative ones in the society. I guess that is why genius always do not go to school, no matter in the scientific field or in the humanities. The problem is how do we get a way to both foster students’ individuality while get everyone literate? There is an inherent contradiction between the two. People are complaining about the standardized tests a lot in China and related  reforms on textbooks, pedagogies, and even tests are enforced all the time. The problem still exists.

Do we have to change the society, its ideology or ethical standards to get an answer, or we just move on like our ancestors? Because people live according to their own standards that is shaped by a set of social or global standards. As PhD students, we feel depressed if our proposals are not accepted. The same feeling our students have when they fail a course or cannot manage to get a better score. We start to question ourselves when we fail, and this is why when given a freer writing opportunity or a replaceable way of expression, we feel excited, unbound, and relaxed as if we are not ourselves any more. The postmodern idea of play, of questioning authorities, and be oneself is happening now to fight against the traditional way of learning, teaching, and living.

Last but not least, his final move of comparing the video composition with a final paper composition is interesting and essential. I think it answers the question of many audiences just in time that whether or not video making is the same with composing with texts.

(Welcome to comment on my non-native English writing!)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. valerievisual
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 23:01:11

    Hi Belle! – You have a lot of really insightful ideas in this blog. At the end you ask, “The problem is how do we get a way to both foster students’ individuality while get everyone literate?” and then you say that these two things maybe can’t happen together. I disagree. I think we can find a way to teach literacy skills (if skills is the right word) while fostering their individual voices. Though this brings up questions such as “is individuality always the best thing to foster?” Anyway – really great!


    • bellewangdanceswithchains
      Sep 08, 2012 @ 23:12:06

      Thank you Valerie! My expression here is rather vague and not logical. Yes, they definitely can happen at the same time. What I was trying to say is the way education is now doing does not necessarily foster students’ individuality because we have the standardized tests and the like. What you comment here is just what I want to say. Haha. Thank you so much! Now I know my poetic Chinese way of thinking is really a thing in my English writing.


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