Video & Liveliness – 2017

33cscreenshotPost 3 in a weekly series.

There’s an unfortunate, unnecessary gap in our schools between the liveliness of students (and many teachers) and the way in which local print media present those lively people. Although I’m opposed to being too close to a subject, the encounters that I have concerning our schools unfailingly remind of this gap.

(For political commentary, too close distorts: one loses one’s objectivity after ingratiating oneself with every policymaker in town. Too close in Whitewater, by the way, is still much farther from a topic than town notables realize. Those who say one can wear several hats, switching between them at will, ignore the plain truth that all those hats sit on the same head.)

It puzzles me why our schools do not use video clips of students, faculty, and administrators more often. There are many photographs of school life (some from truly gifted photographers), but almost no candid, slice-of-life video clips.

We’ve already seen the inevitable shift in Whitewater, as in nearby communities, toward several media (often different Facebook pages) presenting school developments. Print – and here I mean actual newsprint – in this area presents school news in so deadly dull and dry a fashion that it simply drains the life out of the news being reported. (There’s a deeper problem, of course: the readership for newspapers is much smaller than those publications care to admit, and it’s skewed old.)

Websites that fashion themselves after soon-to-be-extinct newspapers have advantages over print, of course, but so many as advantages as they might have.

Why, when thousands of children and adults in the community enjoy videos every day, does the district do so little on this score? There’s no left-right in this: any community, of any politics, could publicize its work with unrehearsed, slice-of-life recordings of what’s happening now.

Part of the answer to this question is cultural, and part of it is political (based, I think, on a miscalculation about what the community’s truly like). Those are topics for future posts.

On the district’s main page, and on the pages of separate sites unconnected to Central Office, there could easily be a better, more lively account of how students and teachers speak, move, react, and experience their studies or teaching. (I am reminded that there is a teaching from long ago, everlastingly true, on the idea of letting a light be seen.)

That better, more lively account of how students and teachers speak, move, react, and experience their studies or teaching requires video.


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