Since becoming a Communications Technology teacher nearly 12 years ago, I never believed that the curriculum was about ‘making’ animators, designers, filmmakers, broadcasters etc. Before 21st century learning became the rage, I facilitated my subject area through the framework of “transferable skills.” These transferable skills speak to and support multi-modal design and effective communication across all subject areas. As such, the goal with the program has always been grounded in broad-based integration . If a student was passionate about film and entered post-secondary with that focus – great! If not, my hope would be that their learning can be applied within a broad spectrum with professional flare.
Over the course of the past several years, I written curriculum, worked with teachers, developed AQ courses and presented at conferences all while preaching the mighty word that transferable digital skills matter and speaks to the need for students to be skilled and effective communicators. Across all subject areas, I know that incredible work is happening but this past week such urgency came knocking on my classroom door.
Knocking on the door of my Gr. 12 4th period Communications Technology class, were a group of former and current Comm-Tech students looking to use cameras and computers to produce short videos for their Gr. 11 English class project. Whereas, some may have refused them entry because their efforts were not tech course specific, I embraced their enthusiasm with an eagerness to see transferable skills in action. Here they were- excited to collaborate with their peers and show their learning in a dynamic and shareable way. This wasn’t about Comm-Tech, but harnessing developed technical skills to show critical literacy and create a learning artifact the is rich and polished.
What I saw flourish over the course of four days, was inspiring. I was inspired by the students and by their English teacher who gave her learners the autonomy to create; to go beyond the classroom Power Point presentation and allow students to leverage their skills in a way that forced deep collaboration, problem solving and creativity.
Don’t take it from me. Here’s Lucas; a student currently enrolled in my Gr. 11 Communications Technology class and the director of his group’s English video project.