For one of my courses, I recently had to create a remix, and I was inspired to design something that I could use in the classroom. Therefore, I decided to create a Romeo and Juliet remix by rewriting Beatles lyrics, recording the new version of the songs, and using it as the soundtrack for a picture slideshow.
What We Can Learn From Remixing
Remixing allows students to take existing media and change it and/or combine it with other media in order to produce something new. Through creating a remix, students can apply their understanding of a topic or piece of literature and use their remix to highlight important themes.
For example, my Romeo and Juliet remix summarizes the entire play in about three minutes, therefore emphasizing the fleeting nature of the romance. The contrast between the upbeat, catchy tunes and the tragic storyline questions the sincerity of this love story. In some ways, Romeo and Juliet is an iconic romance, but we also view love-at-first-sight as a frivolous notion, not to be confused with true love.
Asking students to discuss the themes presented in a remix created by a teacher could be a valuable activity, and it would be even better to have students create their own remixes to present themes that are important to them. Remixes can come in a variety of forms, and there are several ways for students to create remixes. Mine was created with GarageBand and iMovie (available on iPads and Macs), but this level of technology is not required for a remix activity. For example, students could rewrite lyrics to a song and present the new version live, or they could record a video of their presentation with a cellphone.
Creative learning opportunities can deepen students’ understanding of course material, and I am excited to further explore the potential of using remixes to support students’ learning.