Digital Media-Smithsonian Institution

For my Computers and Technology in the Classroom course I recently watched the video Digital Media-New Learners of the 21st Century. The video explored five very different learning programs and discussed how these schools utilized digital media in the classroom.

One of the programs that the video explored was the Smithsonian Institution. Although all the programs and schools highlighted in the video were interesting and a new concept to me, this program caught my attention because of their peer based approach. I feel that the Smithsonian Institution really hit all of the 4C’s; Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity. For more information on the 4C’s of learning I recommend reading An Educator’s Guide to the “Four C’s”.

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Critical Thinking: In the video the children had to create a scavenger hunt through a museum for their peers to follow. These students had access to a cell phone and other media tools that would help them create their best scavenger hunt. It was important for them to think out of the box and make their hunt not only fun but also educational through their own experience at the museum.

Collaboration and Communication: As mentioned before this program mentioned to be peer based. In the video it was discussed that for multiple reasons the Institution focuses on peer based collaborations. Not only did the students get to work in small groups to create their scavenger hunt, but each group was then asked provide constructive criticism for another group. The students and their peers were now collaborating and communicating on two different levels; to create something and to critique something. What I found interesting is that the Institution was aiming for these students to become independent and have no real need for mentors and teachers. With the use of small groups and peer criticism the students help each other grasp an understanding of provided content.

Creativity: The first hand experience the students got while creating their scavenger hunts allowed the students to tap into their creative minds. Their aim was to make it hard enough to be fun and challenging but not too easy or hard that it was boring and students would quit. Through pictures, voice memos, and videos the students were able to explore all areas of creativity with the use of digital media.

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