Sesame Street, Visual Media and the Impact on Writing…It just keeps growing and changing!

How did Sesame Street impact writing?  Well, for those of us who grew up with Sesame Street as part of our daily diet, the visual draw of brightly colored muppets was a first experience of learning through visual media.  Sesame Street continues to offer sound literacy solutions to children by teaching the alphabet, closing the word gap of children through songs and skits.  In fact, the Sesame Street workshop website describes the benefits of literacy over the years.  It’s quite stunning.

In recent scholarly discussions, the implementation of film into secondary or university courses has instigated debates regarding the overall usefulness.  As audiences change with the influx of visual imagery, many instructors believe that pedagogical styles need to become more pliable in relation to new media. The main point – it teaches students to incite reflective responses as they read images and texts.  This is key in understanding meaning.

This author has attempted to open the door of possibilities in the classroom by sharing natural ways to bridge visual media and writing.  For example, the use of drawing, color and various art media provides a segue for student language and vocabulary; GOOGLE map pin dropping on a map can encourage conversations about geography as well as provide opportunities to write short descriptors of folktales around the world; iTrailer is a quick way to showcase student writing; EMOJI provides multiple opportunities for writing in the code of smiles; PADLET provides audience interaction anonymously, Chatterpix is a way to combine children’s art, writing and voice in an animated product.  The list just continues to grow!

Not everything has been successful – images have been uploaded sideways, volume was inadvertently turned off or down, new ways of grading and keeping track of student work anonymously needs to be considered and yet…

I can’t stop playing with the possibilities!  and I can’t wait to read what YOU are trying too!  What are you going to try next?

Glenn, L. (2006). Book review: Visual Media and the Humanities: A Pedagogy of Representation (Kecia Driver McBride). Educational Technology & Society, 9 (4), 244-245.


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