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"Advantages and Disadvantages of Film vs. Written Text Covering the Same Material." Please comment.

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mizzwillie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write979 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

I think this question highlights how different materials can be truly helpful in learning.  I believe that texts are necessary for the complex information sometimes needed while film can create a picture in the viewer's mind to help complement the text and help the viewer remember the material.  For example, you can read about brain research and the advances made since the 1950's which are exceptionally encouraging but can be difficult to truly understand.  If you watch a film such as A Beautiful Mind and realize that no such friend exists except for the main character, you realize that we still have much to learn about schizophrenia. You could also watch a film like Awakenings with Robin Williams based on the real person Dr. Oliver Sachs which shows that careful research and a caring doctor can change the course of research and your understanding of material.  

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Inuk Lee eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write4,794 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Great request. Let me list some pros and cons for each.

Advantages for films:

  1. Film can engage the senses in a powerful way. For instance, you have motion picture, sound, and even sense. Keep in mind that a picture can be worth 1000 words!
  2. Film has the benefit of a theater setting, where there are no distractions.
  3. Film can manipulate a person's emotions with acting.

Advantages for written texts:

  1. Texts are not bound by time. Text and books can be long.
  2. Texts at times can convey more complex material, because people can pause to reread and reread again (even discuss and look up things).
  3. Texts are not bound by chronology or any external constraints.

Disadvantages for films:

  1. Film is bound by 2 or 3 hours. It must be done in one sitting.
  2. Films are expensive to make. Not all can do it.

Disadvantage for texts:

  1. Texts only really engage two senses in a limited way - sight and sound (if a text is read aloud).

In short, there are both pros and cons for each medium. So, it is important to think about what you want to achieve.

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m712117656 | Student

For example, in the context of teaching, I intended to use a video instead of a print text. Students will be more engaged in watching than reading. It will help them contextualize the language, learn the language in a realistic and authentic way, gain autonomy and engage themselves in learning effectively and cognitively. The use of video in the first screen most effectively as a visual aid presents the target language naturally. Video clip has the potential to transform the learning experience by infusing excitement and clarifying otherwise complex and hard-to-understand concepts into dynamic interactive presentations that can be viewed and reviewed as necessary until the concepts are thoroughly understood. 

buster101 | Student

Children are so used to staring at a screen and "watching", it seems that video can hold their attention better.  At the same time I could say the children are so used to staring at a screen and "watching" that they don't always soak in what they are watching.

My humble opinion is that children need a combination of both.  Many times, at least with elementary-aged children, it helps to use both with the same content--both reading the material and watching a video of the same material.  Marzano stresses the importance of comparing and contrasting, and if the children are able to do so with print vs. visual, all the better.