Skip to main content

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.






Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  


In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.


Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…