How Do We Put Digital Learning on the Wall?

I love the Internet... searched: "fridge computer."

(image from “Reincarnating an Old Laptop as a Fridge Computer,” Samidh Chakrabarti)

An open question for you…

Visualize a school hallway. Better yet, peek out of your door and look at your school’s hallways. I’m willing to bet that you wouldn’t have to walk far to see your first piece of student work on a wall somewhere. In classrooms, libraries, hallways and common spaces, we post student work everywhere that we can. There are several reasons why we do this– off the top of my head:

  • Celebrating student success
  • Making learning visible
  • Creating interest in visitors and other students
  • Demonstrating what happens in classrooms
  • It’s fun!
  • Making useful resources (timelines, reference posters, etc.)

All of these are important, because they honor and validate student work. Just as families put good work up on the fridge or wall at home, we value students’ learning artifacts.

When those artifacts are visual, though, how do we value them? How do we honor them and give them a place of importance in our learning spaces? We can’t stick a website on the fridge, nor can we hang a movie in the library. If we want our students and teachers to value digital learning artifacts, don’t we have to be able to afford them the same role and (relative) permanence in our school as the physical posters, art projects, photographs, graphs and charts that we can use to line our halls? I’ve had very open-minded teachers say to me that they would love to make their project products more digital, but they want them to be on the walls so that everyone can see them. ¬†On the flip side, I’ve had great student work that I’d love to hold up as great examples of learning– except they can’t be held.

How can we turn a school from a display vehicle for physical learning artifacts into one for all learning? How do we share high-quality digital products with our community in a way that honors and values their work? What are our “digital fridges” upon which we can display great work?

4 comments

  1. Dana says:

    I’d love to see more large-scale digital displays, like the one we have outside of Conference 1. It often shows beautiful images, but it’s also repetitive and rarely seems updated. In a perfect world, the content would be changed often, or even constantly — we could upload to a queue whenever students generated something cool, like a live feed of learning. Or have one display featuring fine arts performances, one featuring student videos, one featuring …

    That said, I’m also still a fan of physical work (obviously).

    • Jeff says:

      Dana– thanks for your comment. As an Art teacher, you obviously work in the physical space. How about the idea of making digital copies in order to distribute/archive/broadcast student work? Does being able to replicate a work of art digitally let us do more than only having one physical copy?

  2. Kayla says:

    I love the idea of figuring out how to display digital work. Right now for my own use, I am using the Penultimate Journal App and it works with Evernote. It is actually very cool that you can create a physical journal after you’re finished using it on the iPad for example! Students on Schoology submit their work, but most of it is as an assignment so the others students can’t see it. It would be nice to have a spot like Dana said about submitting Best works or something.

    • Jeff says:

      Kayla– you do so much video work that I wonder if the idea of having a display constantly running would be the best fit. “Display in the hall” seems to fit well for static images/work, but do interactive or multimedia pieces need something which allows more time/involvement?

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