One aspect of school work I remember as a child is that it was only done so that the teacher could mark it. Mum and Dad would see my work when it was sent home at the end of the week and maybe Grandma and Pa would look at it when they visited but that was it. It was collected in a crumpled up cardboard folder for a very small audience. It then would just seem to disappear. I presume it either ended up in the bin or for the really special pieces, they were entombed in a box and forgotten. How depressing! As an adult I would never let anything I did have such a limited purpose… “why do it?” I would say. How then should we expect our students to be creative and engaged if we give them such a bleak motivation.
Christine Wright of Sutherland Shire Christian School (SSCS) asked us to help her give her students an audience. She wanted her learning support students to write with a purpose and be motivated by the idea of being a published author. Students have always been content creators but with the power of technology they can have a real audience. So we worked with Christine to design and create a simple website solution that published student stories in both a written and audio format. Students used images pulled from Flickr as inspiration – naturally Creative Commons licensed – and wrote a short narrative focusing on using the forms conventions. Christine then recorded each student reading their story using QuickTime. This media was then inserted into the website. The result is simple yet effective.