EdTech Interview: Media Educator

By Monica Burns 04.21.2016 blog

In this continuation of our EdTech Interview series, Media Educator Don Globe shares insights on his role in teaching and learning. This important work clearly connects to college and career readiness as well as the everyday skills students need to prosper in the real world. Don provides an overview of his role in education and the importance of teaching media literacy.

Please describe your current role in teaching and the student population at your school.

I am the Broadcast Technology, Film and Multimedia Instructor at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri. I was honored to be named by the Journalism Education Association as their Broadcast Adviser of the Year 2015 and I’m a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator community. I am also a video producer for the Ladue School District’s Communications Department. Ladue Horton Watkins High School is a public high school in the suburbs of St. Louis, with a population of close to 1,400 students.

What does it mean to be a media educator?

Our world is consumed with media, and it’s troubling to me the lack of attention, focus and value we give to media education and media literacy in schools. We teach the literacies for writing, reading, math, science, etc., and yet research shows 8-18 year olds spend on average of six to nine hours a day consuming media. Therefore my goal is to teach students to deeply think about the media they consume, by creating media projects themselves. It’s through this media creation process where I find students are able to deeply and critically analyze, comprehend and disseminate the messages professional media outlets broadcast each day in our 24/7 news media cycle.

Students create videos, write articles, take photos, blog, use social media and leverage the camera equipment we have to tell stories from our school, our community and our world. I teach students to understand that the messages and stories they tell extend well beyond the four walls in which they are created. By having this global media perspective, my students fully understand the responsibility and accountability they possess when they publish and distribute their stories to the world.

What type of technology do you use in your classroom?

Students in my class use iOS devices, such as iPad mini and iPhone devices, as well as professional video equipment, including digital camcorders, tripods and microphones. We use iMovie for iPad, as well as Final Cut Pro X and Motion on laptops and desktops. Our curriculum leverages iTunes U and iBooks, as well as powerful media creation apps, such as iMovie, Touchcast, Videolicious, Storehouse and others. Students in my class also create and develop their own personal websites. We use Weebly’s web-based site and iOS app for students to create digital portfolios of their work, while also blogging their reflections and lessons learned through the creation of their projects.

How has technology changed the way you teach?

I was hired in 2005 to teach the next broadcast journalists and filmmakers of the world. But a funny thing happened in 2006 with the explosion of YouTube, and suddenly anyone with a video camera became a media producer. Through the development, distribution and accessibility of mobile devices, the video production process, the use of social media, the creation of blogging and ultimately the ease of publishing to the world, media production became democratized. I began to realize my responsibility to teach media education was now expanding to every student, in every classroom, around the country. With this democratization came enormous opportunities to rethink education, by valuing credible research and information, by offering new and innovative collaboration opportunities and by allowing students a new way to use their voice.

What are your hopes for educational technology in the future?

I sincerely hope educators around the globe will come to realize that the power of student created media has a tremendous opportunity to change the world. If we want to stand by the status quo and continue to negatively analyze and criticize professional media, we must also then never expect anything to change.

The technology, education and resources exist to offer opportunities never imagined to previous generations. My hope is that as educators, at every level of education, begin to understand, value and implement simple student media creation projects into their classroom, we will build upon the visual literacies our generation of students already have, and therefore, begin to rethink and imagine a new style of learning.

Rather than assessing student knowledge of the subject matter through the written word and written assessments, we will begin to allow students the option to express their thoughts and comprehension through the creation of their own media projects. Through this student created media process, I believe we will increase student engagement, motivation and accountability. In addition, we will also be providing students the gift of true media literacy, to critically analyze, comprehend and question the media messages they consume from the professionals in their daily lives.

Learn more about Don’s work on his website and see his students in action at LHS-TV & Films.

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, Author and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


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