Bringing Frankenstein to Life in the Classroom

Digital pedagogy : the use of technology in constructing a learning environment online through various forms of interaction, but not limited through online, hybrid, or face-to-face interfaces.

As readers, digital pedagogy is instrumental in our comprehension of literary texts. We use it everyday without quite realizing how essential or engaging it is in our understanding of literature. For educators, it creates an open forum and platform where a wide range of information and classroom activities is easily accessed and shared. Furthermore, it encourages readers to collaborate in finding the best resources for students in the humanities.

With the structure of Frankenstein, I would incorporate visual storytelling as an activity; digital pedagogy in this sense would act as a medium for students to compose a variety of projects, such as a documentary, or a silent film, or even a series of photos. While it seems difficult at first, there is no expectation to be an expert per se in filming or audio production. In fact, it encourages students to utilize the devices within their reach, such as their smart phones, which today have the capability of taking high quality footage, if used correctly. Through this exercise, students will learn to manipulate perspective through the focal points of an image.

When I took the video production class at Marymount as an undergrad, I was encouraged to use my smart phone if I needed to practice the basics of photography, and did not have a camera on hand. One of the most essential lessons in photography is the rule of thirds:

In this image, the body of the bicyclist meets the rule of third in that he is lined up at the 1/3rd marker. This image is also open which allows the viewer to feel less constricted to the space while retaining the feeling of ongoing motion. Learning to frame a shot is essential because it acts as a foundation while helping draw attention to each and every part of an image.

A student studying Frankenstein may want to recreate this image in the scene where the men see the sled from the boat for the first time in Letter IV. Perhaps the viewer sees the men taking up 2/3rds  of the image and the sled and creature as taking up 1/3rd. This would give power and focus to the men, while giving sufficient attention to the creature in the scene.

With a recreation of key scenes through photographs, visualizing Frankenstein can materialize through different perspectives. While a timeline may appear efficient, it may not be as effective for those who learn through visuals. By putting images to key scenes, students will learn to be detail-oriented as well as approach textual analysis more critically.

Ending this post with a follow-up question: What other video projects can students develop beyond documentaries? I am quite fond of perhaps developing a podcast series from Robert Walton’s perspective (480).