During the last few weeks I have started to see some really amazing digital media artifacts coming out of our classrooms here at PSU. Two weeks ago I came across one of the most amazing uses of a student blog I have ever seen. I hate to say it, but I am reluctant to link to it without her permission, but suffice to say she gets how a blog can work better than most of the people I talk to. This post was based around a video project she and her team did in class — a simple interview of a faculty member edited to be of interest. Here is what made it amazing, she spent time not only posting the finished product, but wrote a reflective narrative about the process she and her team used to create it. Pictures showing the team working together, a map of their storyboards, and even a discussion of the script. Just an amazing illustration of how powerful digital media can be.
If you look at the pieces that add up to that example you can see a value chain emerging. We start by doing a hot team … this usually helps us decide if a technology would be appropriate for use in the classroom. Funny that we never come up with ideas that match up to the things that actually happen in our classrooms. The hot team can lead to a call for proposals from faculty under the Engagement Project. When we select a proposal, we meet with the faculty to discuss their needs and find ways to support their activities. From there the faculty teach their course and engage the students in all sorts of cool activities that require them to create digital artifacts. On campuses where we have them installed, students typically visit the Digital Commons to work with killer technology, get hands on help, or connect virtually with a DC Consultant. Once they use the physical spaces to create something they publish it online — with the Blogs at Penn State, the Podcasts at Penn State, or ANGEL. Every step of the process is supported (or has the potential to be supported if need be). I know it is a very simple view of the value chain, but here is how I see it:
I also think of it as a stack …
Which leads me to the example that inspired me to write this evening … a faculty member who submitted an Engagement Award proposal for the Fall semester sent us a couple of examples of her students work today. The first is a virtual tour of the 2007 solar decathlon. The second is just as cool, a walking tour of the tree biodiversity at Ridley Creek State Park. All I can say is that it is amazing. She is integrating blogging, podcasting, Digital Commons, Google Maps, digital photography, and so much more into her classes. The amazing thing is that her students are doing work that will blow you away! Looking at the outputs I can’t help but feel excited that the opportunities that are being created can support it all. Just some killer stuff!