In this video presented by Mobile Learning Institute, Alan tours his hometown of Marblehead, MA and comments on the historical global vision of his community. Alan challenges us to think about the emerging role of “student as contributor” and to globalize our curriculum by linking students with authentic audiences from around the world. (For more, read Alan’s article, Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm, found at http://novemberlearning.com/resources/archive-of-articles/digital-learning-farm.
What do you think about this video? First, I believe it is artfully produced and directed. I like the style and the metaphor. But, I also love his premise. Isn't it our job as educators to help students learn how to produce and be productive? Isn't a great way to start this creative and collaborative fire to have students working in the digital realm to create content?
I have been doing this each year with our Video Project. It is a big part of our year and probably one of the top three things kids enjoy about my class. They feel very much like they are creating content and teaching the class. On top of that, with the power of being able to use the internet to share their work. The students end up teaching the world, or with anyone that shares in the content.
Amazing how this has evolved from when I was first working in technology in education - setting up computer labs to speed kids through software so that they could pass the state test. (Although I'm sure it didn't help them at all!) I love the idea of students learning how to create content, yet still learning the core objectives and learning skills that are in our curriculum. But, it takes a little creativity and patience to get it done. Especially in today's educational landscape. The excuses for not being able to do something are usually greater than the force of will needed to get them accomplished.
Some have said to me, "How can you waste time on a project where kids are creating videos and presenting them to the class? How will you get through all the information that the State of Texas wishes the kids to know for the test?" Well, they are working in that realm of learning the information and curriculum. It's not like I'm having them do a video project on Alien Sightings! They are learning about social studies and World History topics. To be able to learn that information as they analyze a writing prompt, design a thesis to answer a question, and use the skills to present that information to the class and the world is a powerful thing.
It is simply my belief that if the students can do some independent learning to create content, they learn how to learn. There is no way to teach them everything they need to know today. The power is giving them a chance at learning how to harness all this information that is at our finger tips to learn from it and teach it to others. The odds are that most of my students will be preparing for jobs that I can't even imagine right now. Their futures are unknown. The most powerful thing I can provide to them now is the opportunity to build their confidence in becoming independent learners. It will be on their own that they seek out ways to improve themselves in the future.
How can you challenge your students in this way?
Check out my Video Project Blog from a couple of years ago in my World History class here: http://videoproject09.blogspot.com