Open house is next week. My team has decided that we are weary of “speeching” our parents and a new delivery method is in order. A prolonged soap box oration does not demonstrate the type of learning our students experience and we are certain no one is even listening after the first 15 minutes. This year we will present a 5 slide Google Presentation, each containing a multimodal tutorial on how to help your students navigate middle school. We will end the evening with a Kahoot reviewing the content of the Presentation. (I do hereby promise to share the Presentation when it is complete.)
The Presentation we have created does not fit in my filing cabinet. I cannot place it on a shelf in my classroom. I need to create a Digital Learning Hub to warehouse my new mutlimodal lessons. In days past my team may have squirreled away our Presentation, hiding it from the other teams in order to protect its value. But the new economy of knowledge as outlined by Lankshear & Knobel in their 2007 article “Researching New Literacies: Web 2.0 Practices and Insider Perspectives”, asserts our value as educators lies in our ability to disperse our know-how. Therefore, we need to offer the presentation up to the other teams and allow them to remix our work into their own by-product. The more colleagues, students, parents and community members we reach the more valuable we are to our school. Our teaching tools have ceased to be red pens and have morphed into the interposition of educator and community.
I am excited about building my Digital Learning Hub as it will greatly enhance my value as an educator. Initially, I plan to focus on multimodal tutorials that run counter to the “digital native,” instead walking students through assumed knowledge, such as how to conduct a Google query. These lessons maintain value across grade level and across the building. I am also considering a comprehensive unit reflecting the new C3 (College, Career & Civic Life) based Social Studies framework approved by the state last spring. A compelling question would integrate inquiry standards, discipline strands and C3 dimensions; culminating in students communicating their conclusions and taking informed action. Ideally, students could create their own digital learning hub as nothing could be more authentic than producing knowledge for peers. Am I biting more off than I can chew?