Q: Do I need to be a techno-wizard in order to do this?
A: Not at all. Media integration and tools range from very simple to very complex, and as a Convergence teacher, you will be able to choose a level that’s right for you. Working closely with school staff and media coaches, you will be able to determine your starting level and design a personalized development path based on your own learning goals. For instance, if you’re a relative tech novice, but would like to do a filmmaking project with your students, we’ll work with you to build your skills in using cameras, editing software, and filmmaking techniques, in addition to helping you craft the shape and sequence of the project.
Plus, remember that you can take advantage of the expertise of your students. Many of our youth are tech experts, but even those who are not tend to prefer to learn new programs or technologies by playing around with them to see what they can do. And don’t underestimate the power of a really good tutorial video –there are at least 4 for anything you’d ever want to do on a computer! Your most important role is that of a learning guide, not IT support.
Q: How is this different than what I’m doing now?
A: In many ways, it’s likely not all that different from the way you currently teach, as media integration is founded on the basic principals of good teaching and learning: a safe learning community, critical thinking, relevance, and active engagement.
There is a difference, obviously, in the classroom tools and the frequency with which computers, cameras, and online platforms are used, and the degree to which students have access to them.
Below is a draft of a description of the instruction model for Convergence, as it pertains to the teacher.
|What the TEACHER does|
Q: What support will I get?
A: The grant provides several forms of support for you to do this work and develop your own skills and capacity.
- Media Specialist: Each school will have on staff one full time media specialist, whose job it will be to work as your partner in integrating digital media into your lessons and to help you develop digital media projects that support student learning. The media specialist will ensure that you have the resources and training you need to feel confident to try new things. This person will also guest teach in your class or connect you with artists who could help you strengthen your projects.
- Curriculum Specialist: A full time curriculum specialist will be hired to be shared by both schools to help develop curriculum that is anchored in the Common Core and the academic standards you and your students are held accountable for. This person will focus on helping you strengthen your curriculum academically and will provide coaching and collaborative design.
- Teaching Artist/ Digital Media Coach: Faculty and artists from Columbia College will work alongside you in your classroom in multi-week residencies to embed digital media projects into your curriculum in meaningful ways. They will bring professional practices into your classroom and coach you in how to support your students in taking their work to the next level. These artists will also provide tool-based training for teachers to learn the software, equipment, and platforms you’ll use in your classrooms.
- Professional Learning Communities: A cornerstone of this model is collaboration, which applies to teachers as much as it does students. Weekly team meetings will be dedicated to a practice called Lesson Study, where you and your colleagues will have a chance to reflect on a shared lesson and debrief and dig deep into what worked and why.
- Professional Development: We will provide training not only in media and technology tools, but also project development, curriculum design, and other needs as they arise in your classroom. Our grant supports stipends to compensate teachers for extra time spent in training or planning meetings, beyond what’s covered in the teachers’ contract.
A: Media integration is not an add-on to what you already have to do; it should be an enhancement of what you’re doing in your classroom.
Our definition of media literacy is solidly based in the Common Core definition of literacy:
- Speaking and Listening = Connect
- Reading = Consume
- Writing = Create
When we define all media as text, we can apply the anchor standards for each area of literacy to how students engage with media in a variety of ways.
For math standards, we have seen successful examples of media integration improving achievement. Media practices and processes such as visualization, animation, and modeling, in addition to connecting math concepts to real world issues and stories, help students understand and apply concepts that they had previously struggled with.
Q: I think this program would be great for my school, how do I get more information to my school's principal?
A: Please share this website with your principal as well as requesting an info session to be held at your school by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.