Engagement can be an ongoing struggle in remote and traditional classroom settings, but there are technologies and strategies available that can open the door to many authentic student projects. Blogs, podcasts, digital storytelling, and a variety of non-traditional genres of writing can feel closer to the kind of communication students do out of school.
Below are several resources to help educators think outside the box when it comes to student projects and products. Educators can expand opportunities for students to exercise choice in how they represent and engage with their learning. Projects and products can be more authentic, creative and meaningful for both students and teachers.
Three teachers discuss ways they are connecting students to authentic projects and audiences during remote learning. One explores the use of social media for students to share their work in meaningful ways. Others are finding ways to bring the home into the classroom by capitalizing on materials and experiences students can use for home-based projects.
A Dallas high school teacher outlines how he uses podcasts in his engineering classes. Podcasts help boost his students grow in their understanding of the subjects and build important 21st century skills, all while increasing engagement. His detailed description of the project will inspire you to give it a try. While this project was not completed remotely, it could easily be adapted.
Cult of Pedagogy
Blogs can easily be incorporated into project. In this meaty article, a veteran teacher lays out six different kinds of blogs students could create to showcase their understanding of any topic. She also provides advice to teachers who wants to jump in with links to relevant resources, tips on best practices and suggestions for assessment.
The author of Writing, Redefined: Broadening Our Ideas of What It Means to Compose pushes all educators to look at student writing in a broader way. Comics, podcasts, zines and other non-traditional writing projects may resonate with students as they more closely match writing they do out of school. By expanding the types of assignments given, teachers can invite more students to see themselves as writers.
This guide introduces digital storytelling. It outlines the process and makes this medium feel accessible to every teacher. It includes descriptions of several types of communication that can be used in any subject to create engaging story prompts, as well as specific project examples. For older high school students, you may also want to check out Adobe Youth Voices and Digital Promise’s Global 360° Story Lab for examples of digital stories youth have created to highlight issues important to their communities.