The Future of Six Second Compositions

Vine, a Twitter-owned video app since 2012, allowed users to create six-second video loops. “Vine stars,” who cleverly used the app for optical illusions or comedy, emerged as popular online figures. After years of losing ground to Instagram‘s competing video app, inaugurated in 2013, Vine has recently shut down. The demise of Vine and the layoffs at Twitter are not a portent of good things to come for the tech company. Still, the continued success of ultra-short-form video on Instagram and Snapchat proves that the Vine model of tiny video loops isn’t going anywhere. It’s time to revisit mobile video apps and their applicability to the classroom.

Students may use video apps to demonstrate, in a short and concise way, the results of their work. Not only that, students may also share their knowledge outside the classroom by posting the videos on their own social media. For example, students may use video loops to show the process and results of a science experiment, offer a concise narrative of a play, or engage with a type of rhetoric.

Some of the best videos, which maximize the short amount of time allotted in the medium, use “stop motion,” an animation technique found in early cinema like the experimental Russian film, Man with a Movie Camera (1929), or the more commercial American film, King Kong (1933). Students may learn about the advancements of visual techniques, once used only by a handful of artists and now democratized by digital media. Outlets like Vine allow people, like Zach King, an opportunity to experiment with stop motion and teach others how to produce their own stop motion videos. Thus, the use of Vines and other similar media allow students to learn about the history of visual techniques while developing their own sophisticated approach to video production.

Vines may be gone but the Instagram equivalent, which allows for fifteen seconds of content (nine seconds longer than vines), is still around and growing. This medium offers instructors a unique opportunity to engage students creatively and intellectually.

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