Publish First; Write Second

Today I stumbled upon an excellent collection of PD resources called EDtalks – Educators Talk About Learning. These talks are published by CORE Education, a not-for-profit group based in New Zealand and the UK focused on PD, leadership, innovation, and technology in education.

One of the videos on EDtalks is a 6-minute presentation by David Kinane, called Publishing Student Voice. Take a look:

David advocates for using web 2.0 tools to publish student work before it has reached the state of the ‘final product’. By using technology to share works in progress, students see greater value in their time and efforts, feel accountable and committed because of an authentic audience world-wide, and continue to learn long after a project is finished because they can  re-purpose and re-mix their work and share it with others who will do the same in the future.

Some of the ways in which students benefit from sharing works in progress with an online community are:

  • Sharing with an authentic audience (world-wide, within class, throughout the school, with families and friends, and within  communities).
  • Work is exciting and relevant (and stays that way even with long-term projects), and students feel more committed to keeping up with it to share with their audience.
  • Learning to use the Creative Commons (CC) to share and distribute work. Students can use the work of others to build on their own and then share it again to help others in their learning.
  • Draw on outside resources to build on work throughout the process by gathering ideas, feedback, and suggestions from online resources and users, and by engaging in continuous research over the course of a project.
  • Reflect on work throughout the process using web 2.0 tools as a digital portfolio of the entire learning process. Learn about the process and skills used to tackle a learning challenge, instead of focusing only on the final product (with little reflection).
  • Teachers can monitor student progress and help students throughout the process, yet they will not be the only voice contributing feedback. Instead, they can be one of many voices contributing to the project.
  • Use web 2.0 tools to brainstorm, think, plan, and do ‘brain dumps’ of rough ideas before going back to refine, build, and polish them.

Here are a few suggestions for using Web 2.0 tools to share works in progress. Many of these tools can be integrated together:

  • Individual student blogs for sharing research and reflecting on long-term work. These can be private blogs where students share personal reflections on the class with a selected group of teachers and/or peers, or they can be public blogs where students share their work with a larger online community.
  • Class blogs or course management systems where students can collaborate, share information, research, debate, participate in discussion boards, and ask each other questions.
  • Class wikis or Google Docs can be effective when a class is divided into small groups and each group researches an aspect of a broader theme. The groups share their research on a wiki and then use all of the gathered information to draw conclusions and learn from each other. This is also a great way for students to collaboratively create unit review and exam study resources.
  • Timeline tools where students chart their progress or learning over time. (Check out my review of five timeline tools here).
  • YouTube, Vimeo, and other video publishing services can be used to capture work, student reflections, and a series of events.

What are your thoughts on publishing works in progress? How can professionals and students use this to further learning?

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