From Silent Film to Youtube[Tm]: Tracing the Historical Roots of Motion Picture Technologies in Education (Report) - Journal of Visual Literacy

Title: From Silent Film to Youtube[Tm]: Tracing the Historical Roots of Motion Picture Technologies in Education (Report)

Author: Journal of Visual Literacy

Date: 2009-03-22

From Silent Film to Youtube[Tm]: Tracing the Historical Roots of Motion Picture Technologies in Education (Report) - Journal of Visual Literacy

In the age of new media, characterized by digital content and the Internet, it may appear to some that an era of unprecedented novelty is at hand, meaning that new media really is new. Certainly YouTube[TM] with its video-sharing capabilities is new, first appearing in 2005 (YouTube, 2009b). However, the novelty of the Web 2.0 video-sharing phenomenon is in some respects only partial. When tracing the historical roots of YouTube[TM] and the growing spectrum of online video services, it soon becomes apparent that certain aspects of this manifestation of new media can be traced back to much older forms of motion picture technology. For example, video is created using a sequence of moving images regardless of whether it is stored online or on a film reel. This corresponds to the idea of media renewability, which suggests that fundamental attributes of media as a vehicle for communication are renewed, or reintroduced in similar forms of media invented over time (Peters, 2009). Discussions about motion picture technologies (i.e. film and video) in education have an extensive history, which tend to exhibit their own form of renewal as certain themes are revisited a multiplicity of times through the years. The historical literature reveals that the evolution of motion picture technology inspires some to strongly support it based on its intrinsic advantages as a visual medium, while others engage in debate regarding the actual educational benefits (Saettler, 2004). The practical necessity of obtaining adequate equipment and access to good educational film is another issue that has surfaced repeatedly over the decades (Cuban, 1986; Saettler, 2004). These are themes that not only persist, but also impact the current manifestation of online video and video sharing found on sites like YouTube. However, previous historical accounts of educational motion picture technologies written after the creation of the Web fall short of discussing how online video adds to the historical record (See Molenda, 2008; Reiser, 2001; Saettler, 2004).