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November 2008 - Vol 68, No. 3 - International Technology and ...

November 2008 - Vol 68, No. 3 - International Technology and ...

Once a course is in

Once a course is in place, a move away from just tapingschool news and into more complex video productionsis a natural progression. Technology education teachers,media specialists, and technology coordinators can increasethe instructional effectiveness of television productiontechnology courses by utilizing sound pedagogical andcurricular practices. This article is designed to introducethe reader to the curricular and pedagogical foundationsof television production technology, and how to makeinformed decisions when creating content, projects,and assessment strategies for implementing a televisionproduction course in a secondary school setting.Philosophy of Standards-Based CurriculumAuthentic contextual and situated learning are twostrategies of integrating real-world experience andacademics in standards-based curriculum. Students learnbetter when they are taught knowledge within the context ofactual experience, rather than abstractly (Predmore, 2005).In authentic contextual learning, opportunities are providedthat duplicate practical experiences and require students todemonstrate their understanding through hands-on, mindsonlessons. In this curriculum, students use the same toolsand language as experts. This allows the culture of learningto match the culture of the experts. Lesson plans increasethe amount of authenticity involved in the tasks untilstudents are performing at rather complex levels of expertise(ITEA, 2005).Technological Literacy (AETL) (ITEA, 2003).• Does the project have clearly defined quality standardsthat students can use to evaluate their work and takecorrective action? (AETL Student Assessment Standard4-E: “Utilize authentic assessment.”)• Will the project require the completion of learningactivities that result in work done in a real workplaceand help students to understand and employ the majortechnologies used in the field? (AETL Program Standard4-D: “Promote student development of knowledgeand abilities that provides for the safe application ofappropriate technological tools, machines, materials, andprocesses.”)• Can the project engage students in interacting and sharingideas about ways to address a problem or situation,and the lessons learned through the project? (AETLProgram Standard 4-A: “Create and manage learningenvironments that are supportive of student interactionsand student abilities to question, inquire, design, invent,and innovate.”)• Does the project allow students to present andcommunicate their solutions to an audience ofrepresentatives from the career field? (STL Standard 11-R:“Evaluate final solutions and communicate observation,processes, and results of the entire design process, usingverbal…”)Based on anthropological studies, Jean Lave described howcraftspeople became experts in their crafts through anapprenticeship process and scaffolded learning. Throughthese observations, a theory of situated learning wasformulated (Lave & Wenger, 1991). This theory was basedon three postulates: 1) classroom learning by its very natureis out of context and extraneous, 2) the most relevant andeffective knowledge is taught within the context of workapplications and settings, and 3) learning is highly socialand interactive, involving comprehensive collaboration andmentoring within a community of practice. Situated learninggoes beyond the traditional work-based apprenticeshipmethods of observation and imitation. By giving studentsaccess, control, and choice, learning occurs from anegotiated character of meaning within a social community.In developing television projects that are standardsbased,authentic, and situated, teachers may begin byasking themselves four questions, each of which can bedirectly linked to a benchmark from either Standards forTechnological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology(STL) (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007) or Advancing Excellence inSt. Petersburg College technology education students test theaudio and camera equipment before a planned video shoot.6 • The Technology Teacher • November 2008

In Television Production Technology, there are numerousprojects that would be considered authentic or situated.These would include Electronic News Gathering, ElectronicField Production, multi-camera live remotes, TV newsshows, talk shows, music videos, safety videos, trainingvideos, documentaries, marketing videos, public serviceannouncements, dramatizations, concert videos, andtelevision commercials. This article examines the use oftelevision commercial projects to provide an in-depth andauthentic experience for technology education students.Project ProcessAt a large technical education center in west-central Florida,a TV Production Technology course, based on Standardsfor Technological Literacy (STL), is organized into a fourquartersystem of instructional units. During the last eightweeks of the TV Production Technology II class, advancedstudents complete a television commercial for a localcompany. This project is built around three distinct stages:preproduction, presentation before a panel of experts andproduction, and video production. During the three-weekpreproduction stage, students are expected to choose,contact, and write a contract with a local business for a30-second commercial. Students were asked to steer clearof large chains like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or McDonalds.They were to concentrate their efforts on small restaurants,tanning salons, hair salons, automotive repair shops, andsimilar-sized local businesses.types of commercial formats are straight sell, testimonials,humor, music, and dramatization. The straight sell is aclear and simple message to the viewer. This format is oftenused when introducing a new, first-of-its-kind productto the market. Straight sell commercials stress a featureabout a particular product. Testimonial formats are usuallycelebrity-based commercials. Celebrities should be selectedwho have a past with a specific problem that a productis used for. For instance, when former Miami Dolphin’squarterback Dan Marino retired from football, he gainedweight. A weight-loss food company hired Dan to be itsspokesman and use its product to achieve weight loss. AfterMarino lost the weight, he testified in commercials thatthe company’s food products helped him lose the weight,demonstrated by “before” and “after” pictures.In the preproduction stage, students set up an officialmeeting with the local business owner who wants toproduce the video. During the meeting, students presentthe contract (Figure 1) to the client, which states the cost ofthe video and when the video is to be completed and readyfor viewing. After these items are understood, students thenTwo major decisions occur during this planning stage ofthe television commercial projects: types of appeal andtreatment guidelines. Commercials must appeal to anaudience’s basic wants and needs. The appeals fall into threecategories: ethical, logical, and emotional. When developinga treatment for preproduction, several guidelines should beemphasized (Hilliard, 2008).• The commercial should focus clearly on the product oridea.• Keep the writing centered on how the product or serviceis being sold or promoted, not extraneous details.• Commercials are only as good as the hard work andprofessional technical skills used by the creative teamproducing the video.• If the audience views a commercial and falls in lovewith the brilliance of it, try taking the product or ideaout. If they still love the commercial, it is ineffective inpresenting the idea/product.Based on the research collected and the ideas generatedduring brainstorming, videographers usually have an ideaof the format they want to use in their commercial. The five7 • The Technology Teacher • November 2008

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