Why Students Must Make Media

| By Yonah Kirschner, Program Manager, DigitalJLearning Network

I’m a newbie to EdTech, so this year’s conference was my very first ISTE. It was a bit overwhelming at first (over 20,000 attendees!), but it was definitely worth every minute of navigating the endlessly long convention center hallways. From my short time working in EdTech, I knew the mantra, “It’s the education, not the technology,” but I was a bit skeptical of whether a conference that focused on all the cool tech tools could reflect this educational philosophy.

Fortunately, that philosophy was actually a common theme at ISTE, and I found myself in a session called Creating Media with iPads Across the Curriculum, where there was less focus on the iPads and more attention on the learning they make possible. Presenter Sam Gliksman described the cultural revolution that was launched with the printing press and other game-changing technologies in history. He then astutely pointed out how iPads, iPhones, and other technologies today have really transformed us from consumers to producers of media. As such, he said, it is high time that our students are given the opportunities to engage in media production as well, so that they are prepared for a future where media creation is the norm.

ipadOf course, empowering students and unleashing their creativity as media producers doesn’t just mean handing them iPads! As Gliksman said, creating media is a “rigorous academic exercise” that requires planning, storyboarding, script writing, production, and post-production. That’s a lot of steps for students, and most of them don’t actually involve technology, but the technology is the vehicle that makes all of the steps ultimately possible. I saw all kinds of awesome video examples during the session, including videos for science, health, meteorology, poetry, math, art, history, and more. One time lapse video showed beans sprouting into the soil. Another video highlighted issues related to mental health. Other videos showcased student research and performances, such as a student-run weather report. Though there was a huge variety of topics and apps used, these videos all had one thing in common - students demonstrating their learning and understanding through media creation.

If I didn’t believe it before, then I believe it now. It’s really not about the technology. It’s about what the technology makes possible. It’s about helping our students grow into digital citizens and fluent media producers.


Want your students to become media producers too? Check out these apps and resources!

Apps for movie creation: Animate It, iMovie, Tilt Shift Video, Green Screen, iStop Motion

Apps for digital book creation: Book Creator, Creative Book Builder, iBooks Author, ChatterPix

Apps for augmented reality: Aurasma, DAQRI, Layar

For teaching how to create high quality media: National Association for Media Literacy Education, Center for Media Literacy