How to Build an Argument with Adobe Spark Video

Students create a 3- to 5-minute to convey insights they uncover as they research a topic and develop a stance
1 teacher likes this strategy
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About This Strategy

This 5-hour strategy helps students quickly understand the building blocks of rhetorical argumentation by finding four sources related to a research topic and persuasively sequencing them in a 3- to 5-minute Adobe Spark Video, reserving a stance until the conclusion of their piece. You can use this strategy as a step in a larger research project, a substitute for an annotated bibliography, or as a standalone lesson in balancing diverse perspectives. Though instruction below will focus on Adobe Spark Video, a more advanced iteration of this strategy could be completed in Adobe Premiere Rush.

Adobe Spark Video is extremely easy to use and operates by way of sequenced slides with high-quality stock media built in, which enables students to work quickly, seamlessly arrange and rearrange their ideas, and create professional-looking content.

Supporting Tools and Resources

  • Student Sample
  • Adobe Spark Video

  • Adobe Premiere Rush

  • Editable Resource Bundle

  • PDF Resource Bundle

Outline for Teachers

300 minutes

Define.

Students select a research topic and formulate a working thesis statement. (30 minutes)

Learn.

Students learn the components of a rhetorical argument—context, support, opposing views, and counterarguments—through assigned content. (30 minutes)

Select.

Based on their research topic, current thesis statement, and understanding of rhetorical argumentation, students find four credible sources that represent context, support, an opposing view, and a counter argument. (90 minutes)

Compose.

Students write a script (no more than 600 words) following these steps. (60 minutes)

Create.

Students adapt their script into a 3 to 5-minute video in Adobe Spark Video.  They use these steps to guide them. Students can examine an example here, and read  a tutorial here. (90 minutes)

Share.

Students share and publish their video.

Steps for Students

The purpose of this project is to understand and experiment with the structure of a rhetorical argument; we use the term “rhetorical” to indicate that this argument is not absolute or set in stone but is attentive to a dynamic audience, purpose, and larger context. You will create a 3- to 5-minute Adobe Spark Video that conveys the insights you uncover as you research a topic and develop a stance.

Because Adobe Spark Video is easy to use and includes built-in, high-quality media, you can produce professional-looking content in a snap. If you’d like to experiment with more advanced video production, consider completing this project using Adobe Premiere Rush.

Steps:

1. Select a topic of personal interest that is debatable (i.e. many perspectives are available regarding the same subject). To locate this topic, consider the following: (30 minutes)

  • Personal curiosities

  • News headlines

  • Course content

  • Social media posts

  • Conversations with people

  • Previous research projects

Once you have selected a topic, write a working thesis statement that identifies your stance on this subject. Note that a thesis is typically comprised of two elements:

Claim [I think this…] + Rationale [because of this…]

Here’s an example:

[Claim] Introverts are stronger academic performers [rationale] because of their ability to work alone and, as a result, contemplate and complete work in-depth with sustained focus.

As you can see from this example, there’s a strong bias present, which is suitable for this step. The goal is to identify your honest opinion on the subject at this point. We will revise this thesis later.

2. Using assigned materials or one of the included sources in this step, familiarize yourself with the purpose and aim of rhetorical argumentation by taking detailed notes and/or engaging in class discussions. Ultimately, know that a rhetorical argument typically includes the following: (30 minutes)

  • A stance on an issue

  • Context regarding the issue

  • Support for the stance

  • Acknowledgement of opposing views

  • Counterarguments (i.e. responses) to opposing views

Consider viewing and taking additional notes on the following for more on building and understanding arguments:

CrashCourse: “How to Argue - Philosophical Reasoning: Crash Course Philosophy #2 and #3

3. Assigned and linked materials emphasize that argumentation isn’t about winning but is about working toward more holistic understanding of an issue. In that spirit, return to your working thesis and find four credible sources that complicate it. More specifically, locate the following: (90 minutes)

  • A context source

    • Ask yourself, “What is the larger issue at play in my stance? What is its history and/or its defining terms?”

    • Recommendation on where to look: library databases, Google Scholar

  • A support source for your stance

    • Ask yourself, “Who agrees with me? What evidence or reasoning do they use to persuade readers to adopt or consider a perspective?”

    • Recommendation on where to look: opinion pieces in established news outlets, credible online video essays

  • An opposing view source

    • Ask yourself, “Who doesn’t agree with me? What evidence, reasoning, and terms do they use? How can I summarize their perspectives using terminologies and reasoning that they find valid?”

    • Recommendation on where to look: opinion pieces in established news outlets, credible online video essays

  • A counterargument source

    • Ask yourself, “What evidence or reasoning can I offer my ‘opposition’ that they would find both credible and challenging to their perspective? Are there sources that offer a more balanced perspective of both my initial stance and that of an opposing view? Could there be more perspectives than the ones I’ve uncovered thus far?”

    • Recommendation on where to look: library databases, Google Scholar

4. Using information you gleaned from your sources, summarize them by developing a 500 to 600-word script that includes the following: (60 minutes)

  • An introduction

    • What is your topic about?

    • Why is this topic important or interesting to you?

    • What are the major questions driving your investigation of this topic?

  • Context

    • What does your context source say about the history of your topic?

    • How are you, by way of your source, defining your terms?

  • Support for your stance

    • What is the problem or issue being addressed regarding your topic?

    • What does your support source have to say about this issue?

  • Opposing view(s)

    • What is another take on the issue?

    • How does your opposing view source support and rationalize this perspective?

  • Counterargument and Thesis (i.e. a tentative conclusion)

    • What does your counterargument source say to offer balance, added perspective, or more evidence to your issue?

    • In light of what you’ve uncovered, what is a stronger working thesis that takes all noted perspectives into account?

  • Works Cited/References

    • Where did you find your sources?

    • List them in a citation style that your instructor assigns.

  • Potential Audiences

    • Who might this revised stance be intended for? What audience would benefit from understanding this perspective?

    • List at least three potential audiences.

Important: Do not revise your initial working thesis until after you’ve found your sources and have considered the conversation happening between them. You can use this revised thesis statement as the basis for a larger research project or as the premise for more in-depth investigation of your topic/issue.

Also, as you write, note the rubric below to understand expectations for this project, and view this sample script as one way to complete this step.

5. With your script complete and target audience in mind, open Adobe Spark Video and follow the guidance below for instructions on how to use the application. Here are some production tips for working in this application and bringing your script to life as a succinct 3- to 5-minute video: (90 minutes)

  • Edit economically: Spark Video operates on a logic of “short and sweet.” Thus, keep each slide below 15 seconds, and try to utilize no more than 30 slides total. You may need to revise your script to aim for a more concise delivery (without compromising detail).

  • Audio first: because Spark Video uses timed slides to convey information, it might be easier to read/write out your script slide by slide before laying out supplemental visuals.

  • Text reinforcement: offer multiple ways for viewers to digest your spoken information by highlighting key ideas or quotes as captions or titles on screen.

  • Visual metaphors: since you’re aiming for short and sweet, use visuals to offer context and meaning that will help keep your spoken and textual delivery brief.

  • Supplemental footage: consider taking screenshots of your sources and/or seeking out open-source video clips (e.g., pexels, videvo) to incorporate more dynamic visual aids.

View this student sample as one way to complete this step. Also consider using Adobe Premiere Rush if you find that Spark Video’s features are too limiting.

6. Share your Spark Video as directed by your instructor.

 

Rubric for Successful Analysis

Consult the attached rubric in order to evaluate students' videos.