I’m not a fan of the “75 Ways to Use __________” blog posts. I’m pretty sure that I’ve said things like, “It’s about the learning and not the tool” or “Kids should be blogging to learn and not learning to blog.”
On some level, I still believe this. However, I’m starting to see this as more complicated. Sometimes a medium, platform or tool radically changes the learning. A blog is powerful, not when it’s used for teaching vocabulary, but when it’s used to express a child’s voice to the world.
Videos are a great way to help kids master content, but a carefully crafted short film or documentary is a great chance for critical, creative thinking.
As I teach computers and photojournalism, I’m initially drawn toward the “use this to master content” mindset. And many of the projects we do have a shared topic or theme as a class. Some of our design projects will be very problem-based with an authentic prompt.
However, students will learn the art of presenting through Ignite-styled sessions based on a topic of their choice. They will create short films. They will blog in a way that adults blog – based upon topics of interests rather than math, reading, social studies or science content standards.
The truth is that we already do this with reading and writing. Language Arts teachers often allow students to pick the topics and the content as long as the students master the skills of literacy. Maybe media literacy isn’t all that different.
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