Weis, T. M., Benmayor, R., O’Leary, C., & Eynon, B. (2002). Digital Technologis and
Pedagogies. Social Justice, 29(4), 153-167. Retrieved January 28, 2018, from
Digital Technologies and Pedagogies
Weis et al, (2002) explain their use of technology to create assignments for their students associated with the grant-funded Visible Knowledge Project (VKP) headquartered in Georgetown University (see hhtp://crossroads.georgetown.edu/vkp). Each teacher utilizes digital publishing formats for finished products. Weis and Benmayor’s courses encouraged minority students to tell their stories, after significant primary research. O’Leary taught a capstone course in digital histories that began with a research phase, moved to a lengthy essay-writing phase and then concluded with a digital publication that is stored for students, professors and historians to access on the Web. Eynon’s undergraduate course at LaGuardia Community College, a fully international institution, requires students to study their culture and prepare oral histories and ePortfolios of their findings. It is evident from the research happening with the VKP that “new digital media are empowering students to become researchers, storytellers, historians, oral historians, and cultural theorists in their own right” (p. 153). The VKP seeks to “bridge the digital divide, and to make visible the stories that have been invisible for too long” (p. 166).
This design-based research by Weis et al was in the second year at the writing of the article. Several researchers shared how they had already modified their approach as they gathered information from the first research effort. All authors focused on multicultural themes and used technology to give a new voice and new perspective to the students and to the readers (and watchers) of their final projects. At the time of the writing, ePortfolios were a new concept as technology was developing to make such endeavors possible. The authors, if writing today, would have very different things to say regarding the newest tech available and how they might incorporate it in their assignments.
As a practitioner in Language Arts, I was thoroughly interested in the project-based and inquiry learning discussed in the research projects. I would like to see the research widened to include topics that go beyond just multicultural or historical themes. I am also interested in what questions could be asked and what research projects could be developed given the array of technology availability now. Language Arts classrooms and curricula should only improve with time. I’d like to help with that momentum.