Mike Jager on Pitfalls

It was thoughtful for the author to limit the number of pitfalls of teaching to just 5. More might have been scary. The class I am moving toward a hybrid profile (with Carmel) is entitled Digital Storytelling and involves instruction and practice in creating iBook digital textbooks. The class process challenges many of the tried and true teaching and learning mechanisms we grew up with and intuitively deployed as classroom instructors. The class fervently embraces the power of digital media, tools and processes to move beyond the dominant binary / lateral teaching and learning model to one of layered and communal sharing of expertise.

We are trying to use innovation to return to the basics of teaching and learning. Instead of being (exclusively) sages on the stage we become coaches, conductors and facilitators for authentic and active research, inquiry, assessment and collaboration. Where we were once a singular source for knowledge, authority, and assessment our emphasis has shifted to an environment where students emerge as rotating resident experts generously contributing skills and competencies to a collective pool of talent and productivity. We become enthusiastic ‘old dogs learning new tricks” – models of teachers striving with confidence and competence to shift tactics, priorities and tools for more effective teaching and learning.

We incorporate a digital learning and teaching style that takes advantage of universal and ubiquitous access to knowledge, information and communication.  Students move from passive recipients and witness of media to active, engaged content producers and contributors to the stream of knowledge, cultural and social consciousness. It moves their hand held devices from possible elements of distraction to tools for gathering, curation and processing of content into media rich, engaging and compelling storytelling mechanisms. It anchors their place firmly in the unfolding stream of history.

Allowing students to use digital tools expands the expressive capacity to those who might not participate more actively in class – or on-line discussions. Further it better matches the tools and abilities for those with limited proficiency in language, writing or expression, or differently abled learners. Lastly, the process has created a sliding scale menu of credit and options for students ranging from limited engagement and commitments (1 credit) to those who wish to fully engage in an immersive Capstone leadership position (6 credits).

Moving what has thus been a F2F workshop experience into a hybrid model will allow students to process and practice skills and learning in a supportive but amorphous setting away from campus. Bi-weekly in-class workshops will afford students face to face connections for up-close reflection, peer review and shared decision making about design, content selection and task delegation. Students learn about content, learn about each other and learn and gain marketable skills in digital fluency and workplace collaboration.

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One Response to Mike Jager on Pitfalls

  1. Eric says:

    It sure seems like you and Carmel are involved with a course that is doing much more than merely avoiding the aforementioned pitfalls. It’s both informative and inspiring to learn the directions you and your students are taking this project, and how blended learning is bolstering the end product/student experience.


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