Monica Rothschild-Boros, an art appreciation and cultural anthropology instructor at Orange Coast College, uses a combination of embedded lecture questions, threaded discussion, and innovative assignments to engage students and get them to think critically in her online courses. Rothschild-Boros offers her online lectures in several formats. She creates them as PowerPoint presentations and includes narration, converts them to pdf, and uploads them into iTunes, “so [students] can take them to the beach and have no excuse for having trouble accessing the lecture.” In addition to offering the lectures in students’ preferred formats, she includes embedded questions within each, sometimes up to 10 per lecture, that ensures that students read the material and that they think about it more deeply than they might otherwise.
Storytellers can transform the world. They inform, persuade, entertain, and inspire us to take action. Digital storytellers use technology to improve the quality of their work and amplify its impact. Digital storytellers include youth, although often they create digital stories independent of school. In school, most youth only consume digital stories and resources. We need to transition from consumption to creation of digital content, from students as consumers to students as creators of digital content. When students create digital content that they value, they are much more likely to be engaged. With greater engagement, they commit themselves more fully to learning so their learning is deeper and more enduring.
Over a year ago, my colleagues and I in the York County School Division in Virginia began looking for tools and platforms to help support students as creators of digital content. Although our teachers and students extensively use Discovery Education resources, when we started our search we did not know that Discovery Education already planned additional steps to support students as creators of digital content.
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