I want my students to be creators of digital content, not just consumers. Empowering Students as Creators is an important tenet of the Future Ready Librarians framework.
Unfortunately, according to “What a Decade of Education Research Tells Us About Technology in the Hands of Underserved Students” too often schools are placing digital devices in the hands of poor students for remediation rather than creation.
Some key findings in the article:
“Students who are black, Hispanic, or low-income are more likely to use computers for drill-and-practice… [white] students are more likely to use computers for simulations or authentic applications.”
“When we only use edtech for basic skills with underserved students—but use it in much more meaningful ways with more privileged students—we are driving the boundaries of the digital divide even farther apart, not closing it.”
“Using digital tools solely for drill-and-practice activities and remediation can and often does negatively affect student achievement, not to mention engagement, motivation, and self-esteem.”
So, what’s a Future Ready Librarian to do? Check out Linda Doughtery’s blog post for some great ideas. To me, the key is giving students voice and choice when it comes to how they show their learning. Teachers can be somewhat reticent about giving up control like this sometimes, especially if they are afraid they won’t be able to help students who struggle to master the digital tools. But, that is the beauty of giving lots of options; if one creation tool is not working for a particular student, they are empowered to figure it out for themselves or choose something else. The tools students use are going to change over time anyway. Being able to use resources such as help, tutorials, how-to videos on Youtube or just tinkering until you figure it out are important skills that will serve students well in the long run.
My go-to resource for learning about new digital creation tools is Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers. Check out this great podcast Vicki Davis did with him recently: RICHARD BYRNE’S MOST EXCITING EDTECH TOOLS.
So, how will you get your students creating? Do you have spaces for students to create digital products documenting their learning? What types of library instruction do you use to promote critical thinking? How does your program support connections to the community? What do you include in your program to support real-world problem solving by students?
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions and more.
Please join in on the conversations by posting your own blog responses and by joining the Future Ready Librarians Facebook group, where a new weekly blog challenge will be posted every Wed. through May 24.
Started by Dr. Kristen Mattson, the FRL Facebook group has over 4,500 members and growing and “seeks to support K-12 Future Ready Librarians as they support administrators, teachers, staff and students in Future Ready Schools.” You can also join in the conversation on Twitter through the hashtag #FutureReadyLibs and subscribe to/join my FutureReadyLibs Twitter list.