Putting in the Work



Nearly three years ago, I co-founded teachingmedia.org with Tony Nadler. The site was constructed to host a wide array of teaching resources (clips, readings, discussion questions, assignments) accompanied by brief explanations of how they have been used in the classroom.  To build the site, we spent countless hours learning Wordpress, thinking about organization, and experimenting with design.  Ultimately, our main hope was to harness the powers of collective intelligence to lessen our teaching loads while invigorating our classrooms with fresh ideas and material.

We believed—and still believe— that Teaching Media has the potential to transform teaching, converting what is often experienced as thankless and solitary work into a dynamic collective endeavor. Realizing this potential however requires work on the part of the Teaching Media community. This work includes, at minimum, learning to use Wordpress and re-formatting one's favorite teaching materials for on-line publication. Of course, given our broader labor conditions these days, such little, tedious, and unacknowledged tasks might appear annoying, even daunting, not worthy of our time. Consider though the potential return for the community on these small, individual investments: an open, organized yet sprawling, searchable archive of our best ideas that can constantly inform and enliven, both enhance and reduce, our work as teachers.


From a student's standpoint, it always feels as thought the most rewarding all-around experience is within those classrooms that embrace the collective learning experience. For example, in a New Media course last year, the variety of skill level with the technology seemed insurmountable. Instead, it was an opportunity for students to engage and assist one another: "Need help with Photoshop? I can help with that if you show me how Prezi works." Furthermore, this develops student confidence in their own learning process and helps them assert responsibility for personal meaning-making.

Thank you also for the new resource link!

Thank you for this resource! In my experiences teaching, it seems that it is difficult for neophyte teachers to share resources because they are worried that the community judge them to be inferior. That is actually how I felt when I first started teaching. As a low-tech tool, when I first began teaching as a adjunct, the institution provided the Adjunct Resource Committee, which offered workshops on lesson planning, grading, classroom issues, Blackboard training, and input to the institution on books and policies. This community was invaluable to me as a new educator and forced me to bring my own work to the table. I'm glad these communities exist on larger scales. 

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