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THE MEDIA CENTER: Collaboration Beyond the Core

By Mary Alice Anderson - Posted Mar 1, 2006
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From video production with scavenged media to current digital video, there is a strong partnership between the industrial technology department and the media program in our middle school. Our partnership coincided with the changes in two programs: the evolution from shop to industrial technology and the evolution from a print-centered library to a multiformat media program. Through the years we've planned for student success, learned, and had fun.

Collaboration wasn't a common word in our professional vocabulary when we designed scavenged media projects, but our work together illustrates collaboration "beyond the core," media specialists working with teachers who are often ignored when we talk about collaboration. By the time our Industrial Technology program evolved to Modern Communications, collaboration was a top priority in media programs everywhere. Our collaboration resulted in quality student projects that integrate technology and information literacy with content skills and that encourage student success. Our "Postcard Project," for example, looks outwardly simple; students create a postcard to write home about a pretend trip to a foreign country. But the project requires many literacy skills: Travelers are required to search for information in an online encyclopedia; complete note-taking and citation forms; use Excel drawing tools, digital cameras, a photo editing tool, and word processing; apply technology ethics; and work collaboratively with others.

The instinct is often that teachers of core subjects—language arts, social studies, and science—are the logical and easiest clientele to work with. That isn't always the case. Some media specialists say they have more success collaborating with some of the noncore areas than with the "traditional academics." This may be because of curricular needs and personalities. It may be because teachers in noncore disciplines may not have quite the demands of rigid standards or standardized testing, which many media specialists believe are factors in decreased collaboration and fewer technology-based student projects. In smaller schools, each noncore teacher is generally the only one teaching his or her particular subject in the school. Like the media specialist, they may not be part of a larger department or team and are often eager to work with others. National Board Certified media specialist Connie Williams, from California, commented, "Working with these teachers is always so much fun because the topic is usually interesting and a little off the beaten track!" Let's look at some other good stories about collaboration.


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview, Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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