Multimedia Essay Writing: The End of the Traditional Essay?

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The author will argue the importance of multimedia storytelling for the web as a valid substitute for formal essay writing. It will also include how this approach is used in the classroom, as well as providing representative student examples of such work. By moving away from the formal essay to assess student learning to a form that incorporates 21st century technologies that utilizes artistic practice, design, and technology, as well as writing, this approach ends up encompassing Howard Gardner’s desire for multiple intelligences in education: Linguistic (writing is the key in holding the multimedia together in a cohesive way), Spatial (layout, graphic design, and an artistic approach is key in developing strong aesthetics), Interpersonal (my students work in teams of three to four people), Intrapersonal (the understanding of self leads to an honesty of choosing projects with passion), and those who engage elements of programming in the web designs—or even the mastery of programs, such as Flash, requires elements of Logical intelligence. By learning how to engage a variety of technologies in order to tell a cohesive story, students still engage in the learning outcomes of the formal essay, but it does so with new technologies, technologies that many students need to learn in order to become successful in the 21st century job market.

Keywords: Multimedia, New Media, Education, Essay, Writing, Video, Audio
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Kurt Lancaster

Assistant Professor, English/Communications, Fort Lewis College
Durango, CO, USA

Kurt Lancaster teaches digital filmmaking and interactive media production at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Formerly, Kurt taught in the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT and in the Department of Drama at NYU. He earned his PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. He has written several books on New Media as well as produced several multimedia projects for the web (see He currently consults for the seven-time Pulitzer prize winning international paper, The Christian Science Monitor, training their bureaus around the world on video journalism for the web.

Ref: T08P0437