This article appeared in the March 2013 Newsletter of the 1:1 Institute.
“To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems, and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum.” ~ from Common Core English Language Arts Standards: Key Design Considerations
Regardless of what your reaction is to the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they promote media and technology use and creation embedded throughout the traditional literacy components of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. The Media Edge program in the Salisbury Township School District (a Project RED Signature District and Apple Distinguished Program) is a model for how Common Core standards and media and technology can be embedded in a 1:1 laptop-learning environment.
Developed by Mr. Kelly Wetherhold, the Media Edge program provides high school students with the opportunity to use technology to create, innovate, explore and promote critical thought in connection with the CCSS. Students have the opportunity, through project-based learning, to develop many of the skills necessary for college and career success: communication/rhetoric, creativity, critical thought, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, risk-taking, empathy and self-awareness. In the Media Edge program, these skills are developed throughout a series of three courses:
- Media Studies – Students gain a foundation in media encompassing history, theory and influence.
- Media Messages – Students are challenged to investigate the psychology of media development and how media affects society.
- Media Management – Students develop application skills focusing on creating and broadcasting for the school and local community through hands-on work with industry-standard hardware and software.
While the CCSS reflect skills required for college and career readiness, there is room for students and teachers to explore literacy through media more deeply and develop other valuable skills not necessarily addressed through the standards. Throughout the Media Edge curriculum, these opportunities are reflected in six VISION skills:
- Visionary skills – storyboarding to determine how what we do today impacts tomorrow
- Inception skills – how to begin with nothing
- Synthesis skills – how to use technology to create new iterations of ideas
- Interrogative skills – how to question effectively
- Openness skills – how to enhance learning through sharing and embracing failure
- Noticing skills – how to use metaphors and unintended metaphors to critically analyze
Student learning has been strengthened through VISION skills by challenging students to push to the edge of creativity, developing projects and products with the available technology resources and access. For example, in the Media Messages unit titled “Disclosure,” students were provided the freedom to invent (inception) based on an abstract communication theory. Students developed questions and determined the information most relevant to the presentation and the audience (interrogative). The skill of noticing was exercised and developed as the media students applied a metaphorical lens to their ideas, often comparing and connecting what was learned with familiar objects and ideas. Students then located and defined “status quo” ideas and presentations already available in their world, and then storyboarded new ideas (vision). Once students settled on a vision, they created their product, recognizing that fluidity and openness of thinking are essential to the creation process, that failing is always a way to build for the future, and that positive risk-taking generates new ideas. View a sample project encompassing the VISION skills at http://bit.ly/15mjlx7.
At Salisbury, it is not only important to provide students with access through a personal laptop computer, but to provide students with curricular opportunities based on standards that teach students how to think, not what to think. For more information, contact Kelly Wetherhold at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Media Edge curriculum documents can be reviewed at http://bit.ly/13rQ6ul.
This article was written by Randy Ziegenfuss, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning and Kelly Wetherhold, M.Ed., Media Teacher, Salisbury Township School District, Allentown, PA
Salisbury Township School District, in partnership with Discovery Education, cordially invites you to an interactive event focused on supporting leadership as schools continue their journey to re-vision learning.
- Learn how Salisbury’s 1:1 implementation at the high school and middle school has continued to enrich teaching and learning;
- See first-hand the transformation taking place in Salisbury’s classrooms via site visits and panel discussions;
- Engage in dialogue around topics such as taking learning “beyond the book;” effective communication tools to support school and district transformation; and leadership around Common Core implementation;
- Leave with practical strategies to support your own district transformation;
Thursday, May 2
8:00am – 3:30pm
Salisbury High School 500 E. Montgomery Street Allentown, PA 18103
At the March 13 meeting of the Salisbury Township School District school board, Apple presented Salisbury with its Apple Distinguished Program recognition. Congratulations to students, staff, administration, parents and school board for this special achievement!
Apple is sponsoring a site visit on April 3, 2013 at Salisbury Middle School, focusing on the 1:1 program – TL2014. If you are moving toward a 1:1 implementation in your district, please come learn how we have navigated the infrastructure, financial and professional development challenges of such a program. Regardless of the kind of device you are considering, please come see how all the elements of any 1:1 implementation can come together to change teaching and learning practices in the classroom.
See the attached PDF for schedule and registration details for the site visit. We hope to see you on April 3!
Allentown, PA — January 2, 2013 — Salisbury Township School District is pleased to announce that Teaching and Learning 2014 (TL2014) has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for the 2012-2013 school year for its successes in enhancing and extending teaching and learning with thoughtful and innovative implementations of technology.
The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments.
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss shared, “The Apple Distinguished Program recognition is an affirmation that our teachers, administrators and school board are on the right path to providing a world class education for our students.”
Started in September 2011, TL2014 is designed to bring to life, by June 2014, a vision for education in the 21st century. TL2014.org is the primary communication tool for teachers, students, parents and community about all things related to the initiative. The web site contains stories reflecting student learning in a progressive learning environment, assessment and evaluation reports and all program implementation documentation.
While TL2014 has increased the learning opportunities for Salisbury students, it has also provided a solution to a complex educational challenge: moving forward to create a progressive learning environment for all children while reducing budgetary impact. TL2014 increases levels of access District-wide with a personal MacBook computer for all students in Middle and High School (grade 6-12; 950 students) while increasing access at the elementary level (grade K-5). The leasing of Apple technology has resulted in a significant four year budgetary savings.