Looking with the heart: Celebrating the human in the digital
“The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.” Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
Eight teachers from around the country gather online in a google hangout on sweltering summer night at 8pm EST to describe work from two students who designed a video game in Game Star Mechanic about chocolate and social justice. In late fall, thirty teachers gather for a professional development about argument based writing in the common core to look closely at a 9th grader’s artfully created podcast that argues for abortion rights. At another large professional development, teachers convene at a nearby university to delve into a dystopian iMovie, produced by a group of freshman in high school involved in piloting a curriculum from educurious, about the danger of sugary drinks in high schools. A dozen teachers gather for a webinar from 4:30-6:30pm to discuss an essay crafted by another 9th grader about the cons of a new voter ID law in Pennsylvania, who is on her way to getting the Opinion Maker badge as part of the same curriculum.
As teachers, we craft assignments to allow our students to “become themselves,” as makers, producers, editors, and more. We develop ways for them to connect their learning, to each other, to experts, to the field. What are some ways we look at these compositions, not to judge or grade them, but to see the student’s strengths in the work? How can we leverage digital spaces to look at multimodal compositions? And, what is the point of all this looking anyway?