How To Engage Students In Digital Media
While today’s young people have grown up with digital devices in their hands, they are often unaware of how powerful digital information and content can be. The digital age we live in has allowed for entirely new ways of disseminating information and experiencing the world around us. Digital media and content creation can be incredibly powerful tools.
Introducing your students early to the world of digital information can help them better understand the world they live in as well as explore possible passions and even career options that could affect the rest of their lives. Whatever subject or age you teach, incorporating these subject areas will interest your students and teach them valuable skills that will significantly benefit them.
The Digital Media Space Offers More Opportunities Than Ever Before
From web development to video storytelling, the world of digital media and content creation provides a diverse array of professional opportunities and career trajectories. The industry has needs for just about every type of individual and skillset, making it a strategic career trajectory for virtually any student to consider.
The most common skills needed within digital media spaces include the following: capacity for effective communication (including marketing, copywriting, narrative, or storytelling); general awareness of style and visual aesthetics (for instance, for roles that include elements of photography, videography, or graphic design); technical familiarity (including basic coding or website maintenance skills); and comfortability in learning new software tools. However, a wide range of other skills and aptitudes can be useful as well.
The digital media and content creation ecosystem is one of the faster-growing job industries in the world at the moment. Many position types that fall under this umbrella are growing at rates much higher than the national average. This makes it an attractive potential career landscape for your students. This is especially relevant if you teach teenagers that are closer to pursuing college or navigating career choices and need to make decisions about what they are interested in pursuing.
Start With The Types Of Digital Content That Students Already Enjoy
When planning to incorporate digital media elements into your curriculum, begin with the types of content your students are already likely familiar with. Whether they realize it or not, your students are already creating and consuming digital content when they engage with popular social media platforms like TikTok and others. Social media engagement almost always necessitates creating digital content in some shape or form. For video platforms like TikTok and others, students are already experimenting with creating engaging content, and are also naturally motivated to learn how to create videos that get reactions and attention from their friends and connections.
In addition to social media platforms, many of your students will also be familiar with other forms of digital content, and the places for finding it. These include sites like YouTube and streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, and many others. Beginning with sites and services that your students already use, and love, can be an easy way to broach the topic with your students and channel their natural interest.
Narrative: The Onset Of Fake News And The Rise Of Digital Journalists
Digital media and content have created or influenced macronarratives in society today. These can provide timely entry points for discussions involving digital media content in your classroom. Students are aware of today’s politics and buzzwords.
One prevalent example of this would be the way “fake news” has taken such a prominent place in U.S. political and cultural discourse over the past three to five years. This has resulted in a spike in the creation of, and appetite for, independent online and digital journalism. This is a more viable and exciting career choice than ever before and exists within a highly compelling narrative. Whether or not any of your students might be interested in pursuing a career as a digital journalist, this is just one example of how the digital media space contains current, compelling, and highly relevant themes that make easy hooks for helping your students explore and relate to the subject.
Tips And Tricks For Incorporating Digital Media And Content Creation Into Your Curriculum
If you are interested in helping your students experience the world of digital media and need ideas for incorporating it into your classroom, here are a few tips to get you started. Today’s students are already well-versed in various technologies. (They likely know more than you do about many things in this world.) They won’t need much encouragement to get excited about the digital realm or to learn its nuances—all you need to do is provide a first step. Here are a few strategies to do this:
- Digital versions of assignments
Simply allowing for digital versions of existing assignments can be a great, low-threshold way of incorporating digital media and content creation into your curriculum. Do you normally assign papers or projects at any point in your class(es)? You could offer the option to choose between writing the paper or creating a website or three-minute video documentary on the same subject. You could turn research projects into opportunities to utilize digital content platforms of your choosing. You could offer extra credit for producing video content, creating blogs, or running creative social media campaigns that have to do with existing assignments or sections of material.
- Find informative digital sources on topics
Another creative way to incorporate digital media is to ask your students to find and contribute informative sources that cover topics you include in your curriculum. This can be done by asking your students to bring in videos, online journalism, or other content that can be shared when you introduce those new concepts to the class. Assigning students with specific topics they’ll help you teach during the course of your semester or year gives them responsibility and can reinforce a number of skills in addition to learning how to source high-quality content.
Whatever age or subject you teach, you can find effective ways to incorporate digital media and content into your students’ experiences. By introducing your students to the powerful landscape that is digital media and content creation, you’ll help them gain awareness of the wealth of opportunities that could await them there in the future.