Let Me Express Myself

I am going to choose to represent what I am trying to convey in some text, a couple of images, and in a video.

Why three things you might ask? Well, I just don’t want to have to type all the sentences it may take to express this thought. That could take a long time and I am lazy. I am adding the images because they illustrate one of the more visually interesting parts of the expression and do so in a way I could not “write” into existence. And the video is perhaps just my normal way of trying to share some ideas. It feels more accurate that my usually terse and kinda poetic written expressions of stuff.

So that is why.

But what is your point Todd?

As an educator you are given the option of sharing “content” with students in a variety of mediums. As an example, you might share the amazing text to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Or, you could share the broadcast video of the event. Or, you could share just the audio of the speech. In all three cases the words are exactly the same, but the experiences are all very different. With the text version you can easily reread sections. In the video you hear the ambient noise, the amazing crowd, and the crackling of the speakers. You see how vast the audience is and feel the passion and concern. With the audio clip, you get to imagine the time and space.

As an educator, you can share multiple expressions of the content you share.

But how do you allow students to share their learning, their ideas, in multiple mediums?

Often, we don’t.

And that brings us to the point.

You can offer students options for sharing the way they understand the work they are doing. That does not mean you have to forgo APA style papers or written math equations. It does not mean you have to forgo your multiple-choice questions or final exam essays. It does mean that along the path for each student they can be presented with other ways of expressing what it is they are learning.

Here is share two ways to look at what the “assignment” expectations are. One is around allowing them to choose between a few mediums and the other is a way to push them further with both options and some points toward their grade. Both offer options. They have a choice to make. They are in charge. At least a little. Depending on how you grade the assignments, it is possible that doing these types of things will cause you more effort. More work.

The image below shares a look at how a single assignment might offer students five ways of submitting the work. And, it offers them the opportunity to do the work individually or as a group.

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This option shares what it might look like if you give students a few options for submitting the work. The lowest option is sort of the bare minimum. What they can do just to get a passing grade. Of course, this is about length, not necessarily quality, so it would be assumed that to receive credit, the work would need to meet certain requirements. There are some variations between the first and the last, but in general, as the student choses to do more to get more points, the expectations increase as well.

Here, finally, is the video explanation of all the stuff above. If you made it all the way here you get five points. If you watch the video you can complete a short quiz and get both ten points and a twenty-five-dollar Amazon gift card. Good luck.

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