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  1. We have a very televised-media-oriented American society. Using digital media such as various devices, video, and films of various genres and from various cultures could appeal more easily to young learners in particular who have grown up with and therefore ia familiar with these types of media. I appreciated Amardeep Singh’s presentation on the value of using the film P.K. as a jumping off point to familiarize students with the different world religions found in India. I will look forward to his seeing the clip he will share and hopefully an accompanying synapsis of the film (because I will not have the time with students to explain the whole piece) highlighting important multi-religious-cultural traditions in case I might have missed them in my notes. My school is very diverse, so I think this will help my students to be more accepting of images and traditions (rituals) they might not see everyday.

  2. Professor Singh’s presentation showed us how the movie P.K. addressed the presentation of information about religions but it also provides insight into shifting cultural norms within the society. I believe that visual representations and the opportunity to explore them beyond a text book structure is effective with a range of learners because they provide alternative means for making meaning of a subject matter. Students are given access beyond a written presentation which opens opportunities for students who have difficulty reading. In addition responses can be formulated and or researched via technology and other forms of media. some students are very much visual learners, others are auditory learners, and for those who are kinesthetic the use of and incorporation of technology affords them outlets that text book learning does not. Using a movie and other forms of media opens the subject to further scrutiny of the subject being studied.

  3. Film deals with ideas, not text. It tells a story that can be interpretted personally by the viewer. The viewer’s senses of vision and sound are immersed when screening a film. Because the film is experienced visually and aurally, this immersion can sweep us up into the action. Often, films have music, which corresponds with the action taking place. Subtle visual details in each scene can influence us, communicating on multiple levels. Since each of us learns differently (through sight, sound, experiential, etc) film may reach students more efficiently, than more traditional methods like reading a text book.

    • The film, AI WEI WEI, NEVER SORRY, http://www.aiweiweineversorry.com, is a documentary about Chinese disident artist, Ai Wei Wei. He created a diverse body of art and uses his fame to bring to light issues that the Chinese government would rather stay hidden.
      This film gives students a view into a world where the government tries to control information. It is very different than our society where there is freedom of speech and equal justice inder the law (ideally).

  4. Today was an impressive learning experience with clear “take-a-ways” for me. First at all, I love Professor Singh’s presentation about the religious diversity in India and the evolution of the film industry. I recorded the clip of the song of the “P.K.” movie with my phone and I just watched it again. Like one of my colleagues said after watching it (I think it was Jose) -“so many Gods and he does not find his”, I loved the ability of the moving picture to show similarities and differences in the human need for God. The movies – as later discussed in the presentation by Mrs. Maori- provide a powerful tool to engage with audiences. It virtually gives us an ‘experience’ on how things could be like in other parts of the world. I find multimedia is the perfect tool for the students I teach. As somebody else mentioned, they are digital natives and they learn through images. I also find multimedia resources provide the capacity of scaffolding, adding multiple layers of learning and facilitating original sounds and languages.

    My main take away from today is however the VTS concept (Visual Thinking Strategies). The way it was introduced and then put in place, was most informative and formative. I can not wait to start planning a lesson on the “Sugar Cane” original mural by Diego Rivera, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its version in South Philly. I got the inspiration by today’s sessions and I will check with the Wachovia Resource Center we visited yesterday. Gracias, Thanks, Merci, Shukraan!!!

    • Carmen,
      I too was very impressed with the use of the visual learning strategy. It allowed for all to participate and gives students opportunities to share without feeling there is only one right answer. using this tool with visual media is a great way to provide opportunities for success and participation for students who might otherwise be reluctant participants.

  5. We are living in a technological society, more so than ever before – and students use the media more than ever. Dr Amardep Singh explained how he uses movies to teach South Asian religious studies to college students. His thoughts are that in a diverse student body, it brings things to life. Americans, especially, get a very narrow and limited account of sensitive topics. When we give them alternative ways of learning, they have the opportunity to absorbe knowledge in ways other than textbooks. This way, students of various abilities, can learn more easily using some form of technology with which they are familiar.


  6. Everybody learns differently, and we, as teachers, need to find ways to reach all of our students. Some students learn best by reading, other students learn most effectively by listening, and others absorb more information when it’s presented through pictures. Compounding the importance of incorporating different media into the classroom is the fact that many of today’s students are visual learners. Fortunately, we have so many different technologies at our disposal that we can reach our students and explore different topics in a huge variety of ways. All of our presentations this week have explored new and engaging ways to collapse time and space in our classrooms so that students can experience places beyond Philadelphia.

  7. Greetings Class!

    Today was a day full of wonderful multimedia examples. Multimedia, especially movies, has a history of being a bad word to administrators. Quite often, people think of movies in the classroom as the negative teacher stereotype – checked out teacher, using the movie as a class babysitter. However, today’s class demonstrated how effective film and images can be in reaching all students (when paired with effective teaching).

    The movie P.K. beautifully highlighted the variety of religious traditions found throughout India. This will be a wonderful tool for my cultural studies class to further expand on textbook and religious text readings. I believe that this multimedia presentation of religion helps diverse cultures come to life and appear more real. Students read about foreign cultures, but seeing the culture preformed in real time bring the textbook to life. Perhaps when students have a visual of cultural practice, it is easier to compare to their own life (seen through images).

    I also would like to incorporate the headdress of Queen Puabi in my ancient Middle East lessons next year. I believe that visual anthropological exercises can help bring an area of the ancient world alive to students. Many students would read the text about the Ur burial site, but having the images in front of them make history seem more approachable. By having students observe and make inferences about artifacts, I can encourage higher-order-thinking-skills in all students, even though who may struggle with note taking.


    • Natalie,
      Sarah stated in class that we need to be intentional when dealing with incorporating media into lessons as a means of advancing study of Global heritage and issues. I believe that it is this intentionality that will help others realize that movies can and indeed are a
      tool to advance learning in the classroom. As such we must always remain cognizant of the need to insure that there is a stated goal we wish to achieve that is then lived out in the implementation of the lesson involving the use of a movie as well as the use of any form of media.

  8. Ours is a visual culture and social media is the lingua franca of the digital age. Those who have grown up with technology not only get their information through their devices, they also communicate with each other through them. All of their relationships are filtered through these media. Having grown accustom to this “adorned” interaction, it is no wonder that learners of today respond to that which offers more points of contact than traditional classrooms of blackboards, notebooks, and lectures.
    The more body and mind is involved in learning, the more likely information will stick. Likewise, cross-referencing the delivery of same information also increases the likelihood of retention and integration. Film, artifact, simulations, activities, etc. help lure attention away from all that competes for it in our hyper-stimulated society. Few would think of riding a horse or stagecoach for their daily commute, or writing Dante’s Inferno until they could recite it. Multimedia is just part of the evolution of pedagogy.

    • Joan,
      I fully agree with your assessment. As we are hoping to teach about Global Heritage and cultures we must not make the mistake of failing to connecting student culture (Digital age interactions) into their learning experiences in order to make them relevant to the learners.

  9. I completely agree with Andrew – film allows us to “collapse time and space” and bring so many different perspectives into the classroom. As a caveat, I do want to say that when I include film in my classroom I focus on a single scene in a movie, or two scenes from different films that compare/contrast the same theme or topic. This allows us to discuss director vision and potential bias, and important aspect of any primary source!

    Teaching in Philadelphia, I feel so fortunate to have the Penn Museum as a resource. Their “Unpacking the Past” program worked with my 7th grade class this year and it was truly a worthwhile experience. Especially at my school where our ESOL population is the majority, following the “Observation, Questions, Prediction” formula has allowed my scholars to brainstorm together and feel as though they have full access to the material. I really like using this formula not just for tangible primary sources too, but images as well. When setting up a timeline in our class I give out photographs/paintings, etc. on our topic and we complete the O.Q.P. process in groups. This allows students to use prior knowledge and predict the defining moments of our topic (plus it makes doing a timeline that much more engaging and interesting.) Thank you Penn Museum!

  10. Multimedia sources provide students with a sensory experience that connects to their engagement with technology while also appealing to a variety of learning styles. In a history class, film clips can illustrate primary source descriptions or introduce current research and multiple viewpoints on an event. This allows students to move well beyond the textbook. Having students work with multimedia sources, in addition to traditional text, enhances engagement and critical thinking skills. In my 9th grade ancient history class students watch a big chunk of a documentary on the Mongols called “Storm from the East.” They have to take notes on the film’s perspective on the Mongols. Afterwards they write up a comparison between the film’s portrayal of the Mongols and the account in the textbook. I have used the D-Day landing scene in “Saving Private Ryan” to provide a visceral understanding of descriptions read in primary sources. Students discuss how the primary sources compare to the film’s dramatization of the event. After today’s talks, I would like to find more sources for using contemporary film segments in class that contain universal themes, like the “P.K.” religion scenes. This would help with engaging students in studying ancient history if they could see through film the connections between the past and present in different regions around the world.

  11. There are so many ways to learn, and I am confronted with the challenge to reach all of my students using a variety of approaches, methods, and mediums. Today’s exploration of film allowed me to think beyond the traditional documentaries that I typically include in my curriculum. Bollywood’s “P.K.” certainly generated ideas about South Asian religious traditions and their distinctions and similarities. It was Maori’s presentation, however, that resonated with me the most. Looking at smaller independent films, both documentaries and fictional films, can broaden the dialogue in social studies classes. I look forward to exploring more short films when I check out Black Star Film Festival this August!

  12. As one of the speakers from earlier in the week shared, we are living in an increasingly visual world, and just as we have been stimulated this week by examining a range of multimedia, our students can experience this same sensation.

    However, I have experienced this week with occasional materials that I don’t feel particularly knowledgeable or comfortable with, which is why the use of Visual Thinking Strategies presented at the Penn Museum today was a helpful framework. This strategy can help to disarm the discomfort that students feel when they don’t feel confident in what they are interacting with. The process of making observation, making personal connections, asking questions, and drawing inferences gives students access to any primary source; it engages their senses, cultivates curiosity, and encourages patience in exploring a cultural piece rather than being told a “correct answer” that often just doesn’t exist. This inquiry-based approach allows students to bring their own stories and competencies to the table in helping to create personal connections and more informed group perspectives on the piece of work being explored. While my immediate inclination was to read the information posted next to the artifacts in the Midas exhibit this morning, when I paused to make observations and connections and develop questions about an artifact before reading more, I found myself more interested in what I was looking at. On this small level, I see the power of this Visual Thinking Strategy.

  13. Multimedia encompasses print, picture, audio, and video sources. It covers all the modes of learning except kinesthetic. It allows accessibility to countless means of ‘reaching’ students about whatever subject one is teaching. Today, there is no topic under the sun that can’t be found in multimedia format.

    The addition of visual or multi-sensory media certainly allows the ability to reach diverse learners more easily than traditional forms of learning alone could. That is why I appreciated today’s talks and the plethora of online resources shared. I am realizing something that should be obvious—with some digging and asking, there are so many valuable resources that can be discovered.

    Professor Elias’s talk about the importance of being aware of the storyteller’s perspective comes to mind. Bias is inevitable where social issues or historical events are concerned, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. An attempt at an objective or comprehensive presentation or acknowledgement of bias or perspective is important. Students need to learn to analyze different points of view and form their own perspectives and opinions based on the information they have gathered.

  14. Multimedia is very effective for me in reaching different types of learners. At my school, I teach general ed. students, ELLs, and SPED students. Even amongst those broader categories, there is a quite large range of levels and types of learners. I began using visual anchors when teaching vocabulary and this became quite transformative for many students. While not every student necessarily needed that assistance from the beginning, it helped the struggling learners to connect with and understand the words while it also helped to reinforce the concepts for the students who understood more quickly. I also think visuals and film are so essential to use because quite simply they make the class more exciting and full of variety. If every single day, a student simply had to read, write, and discuss, that would get extremely dull and repetitive. Multimedia then works to engage students and teachers alike by allowing them to see and connect with what they are learning in a fresh, new light. Teaching in Philadelphia, many of my students are missing certain cultural capital that other students may get at home particularly when teaching certain texts. For instance, when I teach Catcher in the Rye, they connect with many of the themes and ideas, but they have trouble visualizing a boarding school in a rural area or Central Park or a penthouse apartment. As a result, it’s crucial for me to provide that understanding through supplemental images. Additionally, images often last longer in the memory of students and if they can make the connection to what they are seeing to what they have read, I think we have accomplished a huge goal as educators.

  15. Presenting content through multimedia texts provides alternate points of access for students. As we discussed with “Life and Debt,” it is important to preteach some vocabulary and big concepts before using film. I would also use the VTS strategies with film, allowing students multiple viewings so that they can focus on specific skills as they get repeated exposure. For some students, one showing may not be enough to get into the deeper understandings you want them to consider. Also, stopping the film and drawing attention to specific details could be helpful.

    The multimedia component working with clay and the alphabet as a study of cuneiform was challenging yet so engaging. I enjoyed the challenge but could see how many of my students would have been frustrated with the process. It does bring up questions of the act of learning an art form that is being presented and then the implications if the art form has religious significance. Does the fact that an art form is more ancient or less “common,” make its study more or less acceptable for families, administrators, school districts?

  16. “Show, don’t tell,” is what Maori Karmael insists to her students as they create plays and video shorts. This same mantra is what makes multimedia so effective in reaching different types of learners. Gone are the days when the teacher lectures and students quietly absorb the information. Today’s student body is a lot more active and questions authority more than ever, therefore the need to engage students with primary sources is urgent. By doing this, students must wrestle with the material themselves, thereby forcing them to be the masters of their educational journey.