Students: “Producers” of Digital Media

Posted by Janice Sante on

The shift to digital textbooks in classrooms across America has presented educators with a challenge of understanding how their students embrace technology.  As educators, chances are that the pedagogy methods acquired throughout their careers provided little if any forethought to the impact of technology on instruction and learning.  Many new educators, as well, enter the profession with varying degrees of technological expertise and often encounter more sophisticated and tech-savvy students.  So as school districts around the country invest in greater access for students and teachers to multi-platform devices, the greatest focus remains on professional development. 

Let’s define professional development.  In our state, Florida Statute declares “the purpose of the professional development system is to increase student achievement, enhance classroom instructional strategies that promote rigor and relevance throughout the curriculum, and prepare students for continuing education and the workforce.”  So how can educators prepare the new generations of students who have commanded technology many before they were able to walk? 

PBS Teacher’s Lounge posted the article Digital Literacy: Crafting Digital Media by Heidi Weber, a PBS Digital Innovator.  In the article, Weber exemplifies how her own discovery of technology is evolving alongside her students and describes one of her goals as “showing students how to not just be consumers of information, but producers as well. “  Over the years and with the help of Donor’s Choose, Weber has experimented with Google Tools, Educreation, green screens, Weebly, and iMovie. Students have created content such as games, songs, interviews, movies, puppet shows, and even virtual field trips. Although she is continually learning new skills, the mindset focuses on students creating which is the highest level of critical thinking on the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Her students are using technology to learn, not learning to use technology. 

This educational shift of digital teaching and learning is exemplified in one of the most popular tools on PBS LearningMedia, the Storyboard.  For educators unfamiliar with PBS LearningMedia, it is a free standards-aligned innovative digital resource offering educators more than 120,000+ videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs and expert content contributors. In addition, PBS LearningMedia offers digital tools for students to show what they know and be the “producers of information” as stated by Weber. 

Two options for using Storyboards in classrooms:

  • Create a Class Storyboard – Introduce a topic by creating a media-rich Storyboard to share (with a generated public URL), perfect for flipped classrooms
  • Student Storyboard – Students can demonstrate understanding of concepts by imbedding content they’ve produced as well as resources from PBS LearningMedia and other sites. For younger students, the Storyboard can be created interactively or with peer mentors. 

The PBSLM Storyboard provides the canvas that allows educators to demonstrate complex concepts to students, allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of a complex subject, and engages students to learn in a way that paper and static images cannot.  Technology in education today is, in fact, preparing students for jobs that don’t exist… yet!

Want to learn more?  As a service to our community, WUCF provides FREE PBS LearningMedia training to educators, administrators, and non-instructional staff.  Whatever the size of your team, we are here to support your classroom digital efforts! 

Drop me an email at and let’s talk!

Happy Learning!

Janice Sante

Education and Community Engagement Coordinator

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