Today my Digital Journalism class took the governor off and explored a current event or newsworthy situation through questioning. They identified what they knew about a topic, wrote questions using the 5 W’s of journalism fame, and jotted down a list of possible sources. Next, off they went. Some took notes on their tablet. Others recorded their interviews with Audacity. Still others recorded video of their interviews directly into Microsoft OneNote. I taught them none of those tricks, but another teacher did show a group of students how to use OneNote in this manner.
Once they had their first set of information, the next set of questions came flying in as they made connections and created new understandings. More sources became obvious. Off they went. They recorded more information. The cycle continued, and then they wrote. They began to lay out rough articles with spaces for the possibilities left open to them. They tore down earlier preconceptions and filled their new concepts with actual information. They struggled with how to present facts without bias. It was beautiful, and it was just the beginning. In our next class, they get the iPads and we’ll see how that platform opens venues for questioning and exploring in comparison to the tablet. And, they’ll have the option to choose whichever they would rather use. After the novelty wears off, I think functionality will win the day. We’ll see.