Number the Stars, by Brandi, an elementary teacher in Seminole County Schools, FL represents a dynamic example of using digital storytelling as a mode of communication for book talks making her...
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Evaluating Digital Products
When a digital story is finished it should be remembered for its soul, not the bells and whistles of the technology tools. (Bernajean Porter, 2004)
Thinking About the Topic
Products, products everywhere! Visual essays, tone poems, digital storytelling, web designed information pages, hyper writing, images persuasion and video reports are being generated by techno-savvy students across US classrooms. The day of the written word as the sole communication style is long gone as students use a variety of media to express their deep understanding of topics across the curriculum.
Most adults have been paper-trained using words as the sole means for expressing ideas. Few are prepared to assess the new generation of dynamic digital information products.
With words and images “flying”, “dissolving”, or “crawling” onto the screens, objects spinning or flashing accompanied by varied fonts, backgrounds, transitions and sounds, teachers are left in a quandary about how to give content grades to products that go beyond the traditional form of text. Assessing student media products for deep understanding brings a new challenge to our classrooms as national studies and organizations work to define quality work within the new 21st-century skills deemed essential for students to thrive in a digital economy. The BIG question is not whether students are using technology but rather to ask what knowledge, deep understandings and communication skills are being demonstrated by the student’s digital product.
Student work has traditionally been topical research that asked students to “go look up and tell me back” in order to demonstrate being good consumers of information. This approach limits most student products—both text and electronic—to being mostly summary reports: a slide show on weather terminology, a Web product showing the history of Abraham Lincoln, or a hypermedia product of dinosaur facts. However, a true knowledge-building environment facilitates inquiry research to support producers of information. This enables learning to be centered around critical questions, deeper levels of understanding, and expecting original thinking that goes beyond existing information rather than patching together known facts. Meeting the demand for 21st-century skills will require shifting student work into higher gear from activities that use knowledge to activities that challenge students to become information seekers, analyzers, evaluators, innovative thinkers, problem solvers, decision makers, and producers of knowledge.
This presentation / workshop addresses using a research-based set of scoring guides as a tool to elevate the quality of student computer-based products as well as provide schools with a systematic process to assess student performance skills. These scoring guides were developed in partnership with NCRTEC/NCEL over two years of prototyping and field-testing in classrooms across the nation. The Student Scoring Guides are research-based, reflecting cutting edge information communication skills.
Finally, the real value of the information in learning these evaluating digital product skills . . . is not just being able to successfully score student digital products but using the scoring guides as a lever to shift the focus of technology to higher order thinking skills. By organizing building teams of teachers to use a common data base of traits and descriptors, shared benchmarks allow teachers and students to continuously improve their work in ways that accelerate higher order thinking skills – the heart of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS-S) for students developed by ISTE AND . . . by-the-by, it also addresses many higher-order thinking and communication standards not presently measured by a majority of state standards.
Through a combination of presentations, group dialogues and hands-on experiences, Bernajean will provide practical get-started-now experiences help groups effectively use technology to increase student performance (content achiever, technologist, critical thinker, inventor, effective communicator) at all grades levels. The student scoring guide tools and collaborative processes organize everyone to develop more rigorous student uses of technology resources – seeing achievement through the lens of student work is informative, eye-opening, and fun!
Time Duration Options
1+ hour keynotes or sessions for large group interactive experiences providing awareness and first steps; one (1) day workshops providing basic skills, concepts and understandings; or multi-day (2-3) seminars providing in-depth practice to install skills in developing exemplar lessons, identifying types of communication, evaluating digital products with confidence.
This workshop is a very, very adventurous, rigorous, cognitive journey . . . having a second day for multiple rounds of practice that apply these skills is a frequent request from participants who become excited about having tools like the student scoring guides help them organize learning towards more student possibilities! One-day workshops will definitely get groups started. . two days allows for more comfort, skill practice and readiness to begin implementing these tools – either way, teachers leave energized to use student work as exhibits of student achievement!
Program Description for Sessions and Workshops
Products, products everywhere! Visual essays, tone poems, digital storytelling, web designed information pages, hyper writing, images of persuasion and video reports are being generated by techno-savvy students across US classrooms. Explore a research-based set of online scoring guides as a tool to elevate the quality of student digital products as well as provide schools with a systematic process to assess student performance skills (content achiever, technologist, critical thinker, inventor, effective communicator) at all grades levels. The student scoring guide tools and collaborative processes organize everyone to develop more rigorous student uses of technology resources – seeing achievement through the lens of student work is informative, eye-opening, and fun!
- To elevate the quality of student work using technology resources
- To increase the added-value of technology use
- To increase assessment strategies for student performance
- To increase the collegial "reflective" practice of lesson design within faculty groups
- To expand strategies and abilities to mentor others in effective uses of technology
One –Two Day Agenda Topics
- Coding student uses of technology into learning categories
- Reflecting on cognitive tasks and types of assignments
- Defining types of communication
- Distinguishing between summary reports, documentaries and docudramas
- Using scoring guides
- Identifying nine traits for scoring
- Practicing scoring student digital products
- Beyond PowerPoint – Consider a toolkit for thinking, learning and communicating
- Categorizing lesson plans
- Practicing EX-treme lesson plan "make-overs"