I gave a presentation at EdTechTeacher’s iPad Summit 2013 Boston today, about the work that my colleague Sterling Worrell and I have been doing with our journalism course, entitled iPad at the Center: A Student Journalist’s Most Versatile Tool.
For both those in attendance, many thanks again, and those who wish they were, here are some notes.
Our journalism course is a workshop environment, that functions as project based learning experience for all students. The course runs in a true hybrid or blended way with a ratio of 65% face-to-face classroom contact and 35% online contact.
The purpose of the course is creation and management of digital content to be published for an online news site. Our main goal is to generate as much publishable content as possible.
All students receive an iPad to use 24/7 for the duration of the course. The iPads are pre-loaded with a handful of apps, but students can add apps independently. The iPad affords each student with a single device to capture and craft text, audio, and video. While it may not be the best tool for any one of those individual mediums, it is a multimedia Swiss Army knife.
All content is created as text plus, meaning text plus photography, text, plus video, etc. We use a self-hosted WordPress installation for news site, as well as Flickr, and Vimeo primarily to manage student generated content. Student leaders function in editorial positions, managing all content and student reporters. Students are given instruction about digital workflow and management.
In lieu of a textbook, we incorporate News University, from the Poynter Institute, a professional development source for practicing journalists. Sequencing of NewsU modules helps move students from consumption to production behaviors and habits of mind. All models of journalism for class are elevated, professional with occasional collegiate exemplars.
In addition to being a project based method of learning, journalism provides a platform for students to write with real purpose for authentic audiences.
In fact, local news outlets will repurpose student content, especially sports stories. Most small publications lack the resources to cover the breadth of high school sports events but have a readership eager to read about them. Plus, sports journalism has a high churn rate, meaning students that write for the sports beat get multiple reps with faster turnaround, honing their skills.
Using iPads affords a deep exploration and experience with digital literacies focused within the domain of journalism. It also presents the opportunity to discuss various contexts of our work, personal and private, proprietary and public, as well as the ethical implications for students and journalists.
Again, many thanks to all those that attended.