Online Content Construction (OCC) involves students working independently or collaboratively to create something that they add to the digital world. Students use knowledge gained from other online sources and contribute new and creative content to the Internet. The idea behind OCC is that students should move from being consumers of the Internet to eventually being constructors of online content. Many students do this informally on their own outside of school. For example, students might create a tutorial about a video game they play and post it on YouTube. Another student could design their own video games in their spare time and share the games with others online. Researches such as Henry Jenkins and Mimi Ito have pointed out that OCC has an important place in schools.
Students and teachers will face challenges when promoting Online Content Construction in the classroom. Students need to be aware of copyright and plagiarism issues when using content created by others. As Lawrence Lessig points out in his book Remix, students are sometimes used as examples in the “war” against those who break copyright laws. He makes a case for giving up this fight, but in the meantime students must learn how to protect themselves against copyright infringement. Another challenge that schools face when using OCC is that not all students come to the classroom with the same skills. As Ito points out, most students use the Internet for social media and not for construction. Teachers will have to develop lessons that scaffold to the varying ability levels in their classrooms. Also, OCC is most effective when students are investigating a topic of interest to them. Teachers will face the challenge of meeting curriculum standards while allowing students to have choice in what to construct online. Despite these challenges, Online Content Construction provides students the opportunity for authentic learning, collaboration with others, feedback from the “real world” and more. I hope to design a unit where students will create online content in my class this year.
cc image by Scott Maxwell
Ito, Mimi. “Cultural Anthropologist Mimi Ito on Connected Learning, Children, and Digital Media.” YouTube. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuV7zcXigAI&feature=player_embedded>.
Jenkins, Henry . “Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture (Big Thinkers Series).” YouTube. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gPm-c1wRsQ&feature=player_embedded>.
Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy. New York: Penguin Press, 2008.