Using participatory journalism tools in the classroom

NowPublics Michael Tippett was a guest speaker

NowPublic's Michael Tippett was a guest speaker

My latest post for PBS Mediashift looks at how participatory media tools such as CoveritLive can be used in the classroom.

One of the challenges, particularly in large undergraduate classes, is turning the traditional academic lecture into more of a conversation.

Rather than simply being empty vessels to be filled with knowledge, I wanted to try out new ways for students to collaborate on distilling and creating knowledge.

The aim was a new media twist on the notion of community-centered education, where students are expected to participate as they take responsibility for their own learning.

From the Mediashift post:

For the experiment, I set up a class discussion page using CoveritLive. The page was projected onto a screen in the lecture hall so that students could see the conversation unfold. Michael Tippett’s presentation was projected on a second screen.

As he addressed the students, they were able to submit comments and ask questions via CoveritLive — these comments then appeared on screen. I did some comment moderation, but I tried to give students as much freedom as possible to ask or say anything. Although we asked students to use their names in the comments, some still preferred the anonymity of the “guest” handle.

The result was a mix of the insightful, the impish and the inane — from “who has the right to call himself a journalist?” to “this almost feels like telepathy! lol” to “stop blowing ur nose it’s annoying.”

I’m looking forward to trying this again in other classes and learn from the experience.