How to see the world

Promote student understanding, expression and engagement through video ethnography and participatory videomaking

A great wealth of visual information emanates from all natural events.
Hockings, Paul. Principles of Visual Anthropology

The school was born and developed around the written language, to which it attributes the greatest value. However, starting from the 1960s it was noticed that the world was becoming progressively more visual than verbal. Today, the texts in everyday life are often hybrid objects, where language (both written and spoken) combines with images, photographs, audiovisuals and, thanks to the miniaturization of recording devices, give rise to a plethora of multimodal ensembles (Serafini 2014).

In this context, educational institutions found themselves in need of developing a theoretical, curricular and pedagogical framework to effectively support “the curators, producers and designers of tomorrow’s information” (Floridi 2014). Starting from this premise, the educational scenario “How to see the world” was designed by combining media education tools and practices with video ethnography and participatory videomaking.

The learning objectives were selected among those belonging to the MIEF – Media and Intercultural Education Framework (Ranieri & Fabbro, 2019), a framework developed by the University of Florence. It was conceived as a theoretical-methodological tool aimed to support teachers in focusing the learning objectives for media and intercultural education practices, breaking them down into the three main dimensions of “understanding”, “expression” and “engagement”.

This learning scenario has an inductive approach and a maieutic ambition. Individually and in small groups, students are encouraged to plan their own visual research with the aim of investigating the needs and motivations of human beings as theorized by A. H. Maslow (Maslow 1943). Through a series of tasks with an increasing level of complexity, students are invited to develop visual content, according to a participatory videomaking model. Participatory videomaking and multiple authorship, through the juxtaposition of slightly different angles of observation, are therefore adopted as a platform for the representation of a variety of perspectives on the topic of human needs and identity. At the end of the activity, a video portrait of a person will be produced by students.

The Learning Scenario was developed by the University of Florence, Department of Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and Psychology (FORLILPSI) in Florence, Italy. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).