Both have their value. The annotated bibliography and the literature review, although they are very similar in many ways, are very separate in the general purpose they serve and the structure they follow. The annotated bibliography is just an organized listing of sources with brief overviews/summaries. This type of document is for readers who are looking for additional reading on a particular topic.
The literature review, on the other hand, is a document that explains and summarizes a particular topic while also compiling many sources/literatures to back up what is being discussed. Unlike the annotated bibliography, the literature review organizes everything into a cohesive whole in order to give the reader all they need to know on the topic at hand.
My own experience with the two is minimal, yet I have experimented with both throughout my time in school. In my undergrad, I was an English major, and the annotated bibliography was a popular assignment for a few classes I had taken. My experience with the literature review is less attempted and rehearsed. The literature review has only been come across in courses for my masters.
I understand the importance of both, but I prefer the literature review because of its interweaving of source material and author knowledge. The literature review, like the annotated bibliography, gives the reader a variety of sources that they may explore further if they choose to, but unlike the annotated bibliography, the literature review provides the reader with a much more streamlined and quick-to-understand summarization of what is known. In other words, the literature review is less work for the reader than the annotated bibliography is – this is only my opinion.
In terms of the writer and the process of writing, I still tend to favor the literature review. It calls for more work than the annotated bibliography, and it is simply more fun to write… less structured, methodical, and organized in a way. It is also more enjoyable to read. There is an introduction and conclusion to the piece that makes it more of a text and not a catalogue one must search through.
When It Comes to Technology…
When it comes to technology, I am not just a few steps behind… Rather a leap or two. I blame this setback on my upbringing. I grew up in middle-of-nowhere Blanco, New Mexico in a household that didn’t acquire internet until 2012. I was seventeen. I got my first cell phone the year before that for the reason that a new set of wheels was on the road – my wheels. As of late, my parents are discussing the transition from the landline to the cell phone – a profound advancement for both my sister and I to hear about… I wouldn’t say that my parents are anti-tech. To put it more accurately, they just feel that they do not need tech to improve their lives. It is as simple as that and this belief was transcribed unto me in my own slowly unweaving life-story.
Throughout my embarkment on the path of becoming an educator, I have noticed more and more the need for teachers who understand and have the ability to implement technology as tools in the classroom. This sort of scares me. In my mind, I am more of the traditional paper and pencil kind of teacher, but I have been trying to escape that mindset and to be open to new ideas. Perhaps these blogposts will aid me in that endeavor – after all, this is the first blog/website I have ever created. However, one aspect of technology that I have found a passion in is that of video editing. I have a YouTube and Vimeo (two of the three “social medias” I exist within) on which I post content slightly regularly. I don’t know what it is about editing videos, but I do it a lot – not just for myself, but for others as well.
So, for the rest of this blog post, I will be discussing video editing software; the applications and software that are available to students, teachers and schools; the advantages and disadvantages to these software/apps; and how this type of technology caters/contributes to the 21st century student as well as the ELA classroom.
Video Editing: An Evaluation
According to Molly B. Zielezinski (2016), in her article on ed-tech and underserved students, the use of “digital tools solely for drill-and-practice activities and remediation can and often does negatively affect student achievement, not to mention engagement, motivation, and self-esteem.” Over the course of the past 10-15 years, it would seem that the allocation of technological resources is no longer the problem it was, but instead it is how those resources are being used by educators and students. Using tech-tools as if they were workbooks from the 90’s as opposed to using them as if they were on the verge of phenomenal scientific discovery is the problem suggested by Zielezinski (2016). But how might we, as educators, make this shift for the sake of our students?
Well, “instead of using technology to drill kids on grade level standards, use it to help students engage in authentic tasks – those that are grounded in relevant ongoing work that has some purpose beyond the immediate completion of the activity” (Zielezinski, 2016). In other words, allow for students to be the creators of something unique and give them the opportunity to think critically about what it is they are creating: “Give students opportunities to be content creators rather than content consumers” (Zielezinski, 2016). Using video-editing software to create video projects does exactly that. It encourages students to represent their thinking in multiple forms with elements such as text, picture, video, audio, etc. During my student teaching, my cooperating teacher would have a portion of each unit dedicated to making some form of video/media project. These projects would range from book trailers, to acted-out alternate endings of stories, to parodical music videos on characters from Shakespeare. It was brilliant, and the response was overwhelmingly positive from students. They loved this aspect of creation that wasn’t writing research papers or arranging captions on a poster-board.
It was too cool how my cooperating teacher managed to implement these types of projects in the classroom. She would hand out a sort-of task description that would offer students a dozen suggestions on which editing software/programs they had freely available to them. I always wondered how she found all of these suggestions/online tools… Perhaps she is a follower to a Professional Learning Network or Community (PLNs or PLCs). According to Puckett (2014), in the article “Leadership in Educational Technology”, PLNs and PLCs are “connections [that] allow for professionals to stay knowledgeable of up-to-date information through various avenues, such as websites or social media” (Puckett, 2014). I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were a part of such communities… She could even be a part of dozens for all I know. She is an outstanding teacher with a work ethic that goes beyond any teacher I have ever met. She lives, breathes and eats school on the daily (weekends included).
After spending some time searching through PLNs on ed-tech myself, I came across this one: Educational Technology & Mobile Learning. It seems that this PLN is updated regularly – they have multiple new posts for each day this week! After exploring a little bit, I found some posts that recommend editing tools for students to use. The first is a little dated (from 2012), but offers ten different editing programs that are all free, but do require sign-ups, and they all still happen to exist… The second is better in that it is from 2015, and offers three of the best Chromebook tools for editing video. This is good because many schools seem to be making the transition to having 1-to-1 ratios (Chromebooks for every student). The third is perhaps the most interesting and is coming to us from January, 2018. This post recommends six applications that are available to students freely on their phones. As we all know, the boom of handheld technology has become quite the issue, but to allow for students to use them as a tool rather than a distraction is fantastic! I’m all in!
In all honesty, I think that the making of videos/media projects could be of use in all core-content areas: science, math, English, and history… But I think that using it in English Language Arts as a tool for self-expression, critical thought, and the analyzing of a text is the best use for a project like this. In terms of the 21st century learner, the making of videos for a class assignment can easily hit upon all of the four “C’s”: critical thinking, communicating, collaborating, and creating. As for the ISTE and TQS jazz, projects incorporating multi-modes of media and self-driven processes couldn’t better fit the agenda. Similarly, the TPACK and SAMR models call for understanding how to use tech as a tool to not only effectively teach, but also to transform and enhance the act of learning for our students. Thinking in depth about how I add the video-editing process and product into my curriculum is vital to making it meaningful and worthy of my students’ time.
I have plenty of experience on apps that cost a lot of money to use (Sony Vegas & Adobe After Effects). Perhaps it is time I explore some of the free ones at my disposal for the sake of my students… Zielezinski (2016) believes that we “need to engage with the digital tool – really get your hands dirty with the technology and use it the way students will.” In other words, gain experience using the technology you use in your classroom so that you can instruct and model properly. Not only that, but with experience and understanding also comes the teaching and mentoring of inexperienced staff. Either way, video editing is of an interest to me and I would consider myself a novice at most, but I also think that I would enjoy implementing it into my own classroom one day. As Puckett (2014) suggest, if the technology “is beneficial and meaningful to staff, they will be motivated and engaged” and the students will follow in their interest as well.