Overall, I felt excited about this PBS video which “explores how exceptional educators are increasingly using digital media and interactive practices to ignite their students’ curiosity and ingenuity, help them become civically engaged, allow them to collaborate with peers worldwide, and empower them to direct their own learning.”
Five different programs are highlighted, but I was especially taken by the Digital Youth Network in Chicago. This in-school media arts program established a partnership with the Chicago Public Library to open up “YouMedia,” which is a space just for 9th to 12th graders. This space gives the students access to tools to create digital media based on their passions, such as music, photography, and graphic design.
I was impressed with the kind of equipment they had and all that the students were able to make from it. But what was most encouraging was the students’ enthusiasm about their work and their commitment to it. Students describe the creative process the they go through to come up with their product – in other words, their learning process. Having the ability to channel their energy into something they care about keeps them out of trouble and allows them to grow.
By using digital media, learning is going beyond the traditional school setting and the students are responding positively towards it. I’ve seen this already in the classes around here – though not to the extent of these programs since the level of technology isn’t as available. I think even those resistant to the influx of technology in education would be impressed with what students are able to do, as shown in this video.