Mi Querida America: Using Online Documentary to Teach Tolerance

Ian Aronson
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Mi Querida America (http://www.digitaldocumentary.org/america/) is a highly interactive project: students interact extensively with one another, with the on-demand video media, and with their teachers to create a highly collaborative learning environment in and outside of the classroom. In the same way discussions of a shared reading assignment can serve as a jumping off-point for a reflective examination and exchange of ideas, the narrative content presented in this project can stimulate an open interchange that challenges participants to evaluate their own perspectives through interactions with their peers.

This paper will explore the use of online documentary video and accompanying educational media to facilitate inclusive discussions of complex social issues.

The topic of immigration is an ill-structured domain, with facets including the struggle to learn English, the separation of families, and the overall difficulties of adjusting to a new environment. Different parts of this project deal with multiple aspects of the immigrant experience in increasing depth. Presenting different "mini-cases" which each explore a different element of the modern immigrant experience will enable this project to present a full and rich portrayal of immigration in the 21st century.

A significant part of this project entails discussion, role-play, and collaborative work. By evaluating their ideas against those of their classmates, learners can test the validity of some preconceptions on immigration, and perhaps come away with a new perspective on the subject.

Most importantly, this project aims to examine the subject of modern immigration in a meaningful authentic context (Mayer, 2003). Rather than presenting a variety of disconnected facts, dates, and research findings, this project presents immigration in very human terms. Young people, the same approximate age as the learners, appear on screen discussing immigration in the most authentic context possible — their own life experience.

Keywords: Online, Community, Education, Documentary, Video, Media, Collaboration, Discussion, Constructivism
Stream: Technology in Community, Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Ian Aronson

Doctoral Student, Educational Communication and Technology Program Department of Administration Leadership and Technology Steinhardt School of Education, New York University

Aronson is a 1997 graduate of the Stanford University M.A. Program in Documentary Film and Video. He is also Director/Producer of digitaldocumentary.org, which produces educational and documentary media in online and DVD-based formats. Digitaldocumentary.org productions have screened at selective venues across the United States and abroad. He is the author of Final Cut Pro 4 Complete Course, Wiley Publishing 2004; and DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish, O'Rielly Publishing Summer 2005 (expected). He has a strong technical background in audio, video, and streaming media. Having recently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Educational Communication and Technology at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education, his chief area of interest is the use of documentary media in facilitating knowledge construction. Before attending NYU Aronson worked as Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Ramapo College. He began his career in media production as News and Public Affairs Producer at NPR member station WBFO in Buffalo, New York and as a Stringer for the New York Times.

Ref: T05P0206