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Authentic Products

I am starting a new graduate course this week on multimedia in the classroom.  Our first unit is dealing with design principles for multimedia.

As students are allowed to express their understanding in new ways, multimedia products have increased exponentially.  As a teacher of content, it's easy to overlook the importance of implementing design principles. But, this is just another form of literacy.  In fact, multimedia literacy is becoming more relevant as access to multimedia tools increases. In this first unit, I was able to familiarize myself with the following design principles:

As students, we were given a wide variety of ways to access this information, including videos.  This meant that I could choose the method that was easiest for me to comprehend.  And, I could compare information for multiple sources to get a different explanations of the same information.  I need to start doing more of this. Just because a source explains "A" best for me doesn't mean it's explanation of "B" is just as good.

What was so refreshing was that the way we were asked to demonstrate mastery of the design principles was left wide open.  This meant that I was able to create a product that was important to me and one that I could use in my own classroom.  Something that was authentic to me.

For my product, I was allowed to create a tutorial video for my students explaining how they can implement many of these design principles when using one of the most popular apps for creation in my classroom, Explain Everything. In order to complete the product, I needed more than a surface level of knowledge.  I needed to be able to give concrete examples of what these principles looked like when applied to a presentation.  This helped make concrete what I had been reading this summer in The Innovator's Mindset and LAUNCH.  We learn best when we are allowed to create using new knowledge.  It forces us to make deeper and more personal understandings.

I was thrilled that I was able to create a product for my classroom.  In other graduate courses, my "authentic products" have included documents like annotated bibliographies of at least 20 sources on a topic or rigidly detailed lesson plans.  These were products I knew I would never use and they felt like jumping through hoops.

For this assignment, I was able to see the importance of what I was learning and convey it to my students in a product I had intended to create anyway.  But, with my additional knowledge acquisition, it has become a more powerful and meaningful teaching tool.

The takeaway?

Just because a product may seem authentic to you the teacher, doesn't mean it's authentic to the student's life. Find ways to incorporate more voice and choice in expression of understanding.

If you're interested, here's my product.

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