Embedded within the English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Common Core standards are multiple standards dealing with technology. Specific College and Career Anchor Standards include:
- Reading, 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
- Writing, 6. Use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
- Writing, 8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
- Speaking and Listening, 5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
Students must use digital and internet sources to both gather information and produce writing and information displays; they should work on individual and group projects.
Grade by Grade Technology Requirements
How do these technology skills develop over the course of a student’s career?
- K-Read and produce writing with visuals
- 2nd-Add audio recordings to speaking/listening tasks.
- 3rd-Learn keyboarding
- 5th-Add multimedia to reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
- 6th-8th Reading: analyze the effect of different mediums on the meaning of texts/information displays.
- 6th-8th Writing: Multimedia and visual media
- 9th-12th Reading/Writing: Use hyperlinks, display information in flexible and dynamic ways, individual and shared writing projects, strategic in use of digital media. Includes visual (text, graphics, video), audio and interactive elements (hyperlinks).
Technology Skills Needed by Teachers
- K: some knowledge of graphic design, visual aesthetics
- 2nd: How to audio tape students and replay the audio. Tape recorders, using audio recording software such as Garage Band. How to burn a CD.
- 3rd: Methods of keyboarding, how to teach keyboarding.
- 5th: How to add audio and visual to a presentation. Edit photos: Software such as Photoshop, Gimp, Aperture. Edit video: Software such as iMovie, Moviemaker. Presentations: Software such as Powerpoint. Online equivalents of these editing programs: Animoto,
- 9-12: HTML, use of hyperlinks, blogs, wikis, other interactive elements, etc.
Natural Division of Labor
I want to add a special caution in grading group projects. When you assign a group project, especially a multimedia project such as Powerpoint, consider the natural division of labor of the project. Powerpoint consists of these tasks: gather information, write script, keyboard script, gather photos or prepare graphics, design layout (decide on background, font, layout of slides, transitions between slides, etc.), insert all materials into the Powerpoint software. Usually, there’s one student who is proficient and skilled at using the software and volunteers to insert all materials into the software; But it’s difficult to share this work and maintain continuity; often the work is done individually, in isolation because it’s easier for one student to just do it at home and bring back the finished file. Sometimes, the perception is that this person has spent more time and done extra work. Probably. But it’s the natural division of labor. Joe finds photos and delivers them to Sam. Jill writes a script and delivers to Sam. Jill, Sam and Joe decide together on a canned design theme to use, but Sam takes home the materials and delivers the finished Powerpoint.
When you grade such a project, do you give more credit to Sam? That’s unfair.
Because inherent in the project is a natural division of labor which means one person is likely to do this bigger piece of the work.
Even worse is when teachers have students do a peer evaluation of how much each person contributed to the project. Of course, Sam wins! But only because of the flaw in the design of the project.
In order to have a completely equal work effort, the project must be done at school with school-provided software; each student must do an equal number of slides, complete with writing the text, providing photos or graphics, and inserting everything into the software.
Be aware of the grading biases of your multimedia assignments.