Visual Essay Assignment Example/ ISTE standards


I recently assigned a project I called a "visual essay" in my International Relations course. I asked students to create a four to five minute long visual essay that considered at least two important works related to Samuel Huntington's, Clash of Civilizations thesis. Half of the presentation was to be a review his idea and two responses to it. The second half of the presentation was to consider how well his 25 year-old thesis is holding up in 2016. Looking at the world today, students were to consider if Huntington or his critics are correct. I asked them to give real world examples to support their arguments. .

I showed students three new (to them) tech tools:  adobe spark and these two RSA tools. In perhaps my favorite presentation, these two boys used the old standby iMovie to make a very effective visual essay.

video
I very much like this open note, open tool, open everything assignment. It requires students to analyze, apply, evaluate and synthesize information. I also like that students have a choice in digital tools. Not all my ideas are base hits. Sometimes I strike out. Sometimes I hit a weak grounder to second base. This one is at least a solid hit for extra bases. What I like best about it is that I am not giving a test asking "what" questions. This assignment gets to the same type of thinking that a good essay promotes.

What's the value add in using tech?  I believe, or I agree with ISTE, that students should: "a. interact, collaborate and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media" and "b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formula."  At some point, being "educated" will include the expectation that one is facile with multi-media presentation tools. We are very close to that point. Some say we have already reached it.



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