Last week was a busy digital content acquisition week for me. Eh, I shot a lot of video. I had eleven year old students in preproduction researching and writing copy for a mid-December webcast while others were directing and producing the on-camera talent for the taping of the next weekly Good Morning Eastview. In addition, 5th grade students helped shoot a school musical, but not after we produced and edited a webcast with teachers that excel at our local elementary school. I am a regular education classroom teacher, and I’m trying to engage the students. By using technology and media we have the opportunity to have our produced content actually meet an interactive audience. So off we went. This particular class has “bought into” their education more than others and I wondered why. I wondered, what makes this class more responsive learners? Even though I have integrated a lot of media and technology over the years, this is the first year I have made our productions interactive from the internet. Our projects are shown on our local school network, broadcast on cable television and the school’s website. This school year we have heard from complete strangers about our productions from Australia to El Paso. The students take the comments very seriously and actively participate to brainstorm solutions or upgrades.
There is a relationship between performers and audiences, performers are motivated quite self-consciously to work at improving the reception of their performances. The students and crew members take themselves seriously as communicators; they're motivated to evaluate themselves as "good" at what they're attempting to do so that their audiences will value that good in them, too. It’s very positive, engaging and the students can’t get enough of it. By engaging my students with technology, real time learning, music and the other arts, students learn how to learn. The more external response students receive from their efforts, the more engaged they seem become. It is apparent that students are headed toward a networked existence. It is real world in real time. Even on their own, today's learners create, participate and collaborate outside of the school environment quite naturally.
These students are aware that the world is watching. We have gone from narrowcasting to a small audience, to the world wide web. Beside performing, students are working as a team, setting goals and using technology. As for me, I have come to the understanding that this is exactly what this class needs. We all need and thrive from personal responses to our efforts, academic and otherwise. These are opportunities that matter to the students. Digital content creation is beneficial for them, but for me, I need to find some balance and a nap.