Publishing Our Work
Why do we want to publish everything?
- High stakes
- Effective communication
- Content creators, not consumers
- Digital citizenship
- Public relations opps
Publishing for immediate and varied feedback
A limited classroom audience limits feedback and, ultimately, learning. When we have an entire world full of experts in all things and we have technology to connect with them, why limit our learning to a room, a desk, or a textbook? Students of all ages can publish their work on a classroom or personal blog, an electronic portfolio, posting in an appropriate forum, or anywhere an authentic and meaningful audience may be gathered.
We want students to publish their work as often as possible, seeking critique (and kudos) from experts and interested parties for several reasons, including the ones below:
High stakes learning
Publishing student work provides higher stakes for the work; students know others beyond just their teacher will see the work. Also, publishing the work to a broader audience helps the learning to be bigger than just the four walls of our classrooms. Suddenly, students are receiving feedback from across the world and realize their work has farther reaching impact than what they might first believe.
When students publish online, they begin to realize what makes a presentation more effective. As they learn to build effective presentations, educators support the ability of students to be good readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. Students learn that successful presentations include strong design elements that are based on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards of technology ( http://www.iste.org/standards ). These ISTE standards help students and teachers learn to incorporate effective visual and audio components, as well as learning how and why to share presentations online within a selected learning network both synchronously and asynchronously.
Content creators, not simply content consumers
Students are learning that they can be creators of content, of art, of meaningful things that live online. They are learning that using the internet can be more meaningful than simply posting party pictures, funny cats, and mean comments about others.
Positive digital citizenship
When a well designed project has become personal to students, they learn how important positive comments are and are less likely to engage in sniper commenting on others’ work. In becoming creators of online content, students are developing a positive online resume and good digital citizenship habits.
Public relations opportunities
Finally, the PBL work that is shared online is a great public relations opportunity for the community to engage with schools and see what great things are happening with, by, and for kids. The savvy school district will partner with the classroom teachers to learn to balance privacy and publicity, which in turn, role models smart marketing and communication with students and families.
In a modern learning environment, publishing student work is not only allowed, but promoted. If you’re ready to take this step, your first stop might be in the classrooms where other teachers are blogging or who are having their students blog. These folks are usually happy to help others navigate their school district's policies to be sure no one gets in trouble. If no one in your school is blogging yet (and some of these schools do exist), stop by the office of the technology integration specialist or other technology support personnel. They are usually very happy that someone is asking to do this!
However you start, be sure to review your district policies and inform your administration about what you’re doing and why. No administrator likes to be surprised by parents asking questions about things happening in their schools about which they were unaware!