Katie is currently a 10th grade high-school teacher in California. We asked her to give us her insights on using DIY in the classroom.
1. What were your thoughts and feelings about using DIY in your classroom?
Running a DIY classroom was a rad opportunity!
I think my students enjoyed doing DIY, because it allowed them to do autonomous learning on a skill of their choice.
It was exciting to hear students talking about their challenges/what others posted, saying they felt a sense of accomplishment, and even recommending DIY to their younger family and friends.
Originally I wanted to use DIY was a basic “portfolio” platform to show my school district that students can create and post work without compromising their security (and dare say, their minds). Our district was so protective that they blocked a lot of websites that assist in learning (StoryCorps, NPR?!, art and design blogs, YouTube, etc). While I do have a teacher code that opens these websites, DIY provided a framework for students to showcase their learning and new skills within a supportive community.
DIY will serve as a gateway that prepares kids to create their own YouTube channels, enter film/art/media festivals or competitions, submit portfolios for college or career scholarships, and/or have blogs that say something.
The experience motivated the kids to talk, plan, collaborate, be creative, to give feedback, and use technology for good, maker purposes.
These are all skills we value and teach in my academy, the Academy of Media Arts, and doing project-based learning integrates the new Common Core Standards. In many ways the maker mentality reminds me of the HOLSTEE Manifesto (“Do what you love and do it often” “Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them…”) and Stefan Sagmeister’s work from his book Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far.
2. Do you think you’ll do it again?
Yes! I’m planning to do it with our sophomores again (14-16), but I want to introduce it at the beginning of the year instead of the second semester. I’m toying with the idea of having kids do a patch related to their elective pathway. We have four sequences of elective classes: Theatre, Digital Filmmaking, Animation, and Commercial Music. Then again, I think it’s important to give kids choices. What’s your suggestion? This year we’ll have a third Mac lab for the content teachers to use, which will encourage all teachers to integrate more 21st century skills and help kids understand the value of their digital footprint.
3. Did you happen to write a reflection yourself?
I unfortunately didn’t write a reflection. I meant to…but did I show the kids my teacher DIY portfolio and talked about my learning process with them. We discussed posting quality work, why things might be Staff Picks or Community Favorites, how to meet the requirements of the challenges to earn the patch, how to be a positive role model for the younger kids on the DIY, and the problem-solving for uploading/using the app.
4. What can we do on our end to make the process better?
The hardest thing for me was figuring out how I was going to assess their learning. It took longer than expected to create the handouts, project description, and rubric. Also, since my students are on the older side I wanted to make sure they weren’t using it like other popular social media. I think it’d be great to post handouts for teachers to modify like you do with the parent flyer, leader handbook, and permission forms. I didn’t to post in the educator and parent forums, although I did read them to see if the dialogue and questions applied to my pilot classroom.
Time is always an issue for teachers and it’s super valuable to get ideas and be able to collaborate from peers.
I felt like I was sometimes working on this in my own bubble, but I think that was a bit self-imposed. I do appreciate your questions and correspondence.
Tell us how you’re using DIY in your clubs or classrooms by sending an e-mail over to firstname.lastname@example.org - we’d love your insights.