Vlogging to Support the Writing Process


Kids vlogging
Vlogging to support the writing process.

Learning how to write a well crafted paper can be a frustrating process for many students. It can be just as frustrating for teachers teaching students how to write an essay. Vlogging can help students to structure thoughts and provide a framework to build off. I've created some slides to support the process with iMovie.

I was recently asked to provide a short workshop for an Apple related “unconference” event. It allowed me the opportunity to put down ideas I had regarding digital media and teaching writing. I chose to explore the use of vlogging when teaching writing. I chose to use Casey Neistat as my example. You may know him from “Bike Lanes” https://youtu.be/bzE-IMaegzQ Being in NYC I needed a vlogger students could connect with while also getting something academic out of the content. Casey had vlogged on a recent event “Living in NYC during a Crisis”. Looking at the Vlog I could identify the main parts and connect the pieces quite clearly to an essay format. It also didn’t hurt that he had a video on “How to Vlog like Casey Neistat”.

Students can often feel intimidated by the written word. They may struggle putting it down on paper. Frequent student concerns are about word choice, spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. It can be frustrating even thinking of what write. 

Fortunately vlogging can help to make this easier. Students can concentrate on the structure of what they want to say. It’s easy to take a recording and make corrections. Students can record a point or section at a time and put it back together like a puzzle. Many think when we write we have to start at the beginning. It can be made very clear with a vlog that students can start at any point. 
Yes, you get a room full of students talking. Some will preen in the camera. Others will make faces. They’ll move past this and use it as a tool. 

Some students will be uncomfortable on the camera and some won’t want to be seen. Have them use puppets, their hands, or other visual elements. It should be noted that a vlog can be easier to edit because students see where they said certain things. A podcast doesn’t provide the same visual but can also be used as a tool to support writing in the same way. 

The parts of a vlog can be related to the parts of an essay. Have students deconstruct professional vlogs and relate them to essays. They can do the same on their own works. 

Vlogs have a built in hook for students. Many want to be famous and recognized for something about them. Learning to vlog can support them having a platform. And it’s easily within reach for many. This would also be a point to talk about being a  digital citizenship leader. 

Vlogging can free student’s voices and open them to the written form. The effort for some to put the written word down can be immense. The framework of talking through something piece by piece provides a structure they can use later to support getting words on paper. Closed captioning generation can also help by providing the speech to text transfer they struggle with. Students can focus on their writing structure and word choices from this material. 

The Vlog framework

  1. Starting state - this is unique to a vlog. We get an establishment of the beginning. I often think of this as the heading on a paper or the title page. We say where and when they are. Sometimes we get a who they are as well.
  2. Opening overview - here we establish what we are about to talk about. We identify the points we intend to cover. I consider this to be part of our intro paragraph; our thesis statements. We hook our watchers here. *The starting state and the overview can be interchangeable in their order.
  3. Inciting Incident - why are we taking about what we are talking about? It’s important to establish a personal reason for your choice of topic. The opening needs to be passionately justified for you and us to want to continue. In our paper this would be brief supporting statements for our thesis statements. 
  4. Main points - we elaborate on each point we made in our overview. A point in the overview would be made a section of our main point we intended to talk about. We give supporting details, data, facts or our opinion to support our point. This would be the body of our paper with a paragraph for each point. 
  5. Recap - we summarize our main points into a brief bit of information we want our watcher to take away. This is the conclusion in our paper. 
  6. Ending - where we thank everyone and give credit. We also urge people to subscribe to our vlog. This would be a bibliography on our paper. The subscriber urge is particular to a vlog. 

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