Digital Ghosts in the Modern Classroom

Document Type


Publication Title

Hybrid Pedagogy



Publication Date

Spring 3-29-2018


Students often assume that digital media making is drag-and-drop; a series of well-laid out, linear, and standard steps; and a guaranteed working product at the end with little risk of failure. For most students, these assumptions not only match their understanding of digital media, but also match their understanding of school. In K-12 and higher education, students learn through following the steps. They create the product that the teacher wanted — that counts as the right answer. Worksheets, templates, and multiple-choice tests are often at the heart of this kind of learning. Even when we leave behind worksheets and templates and take up technologies that encourage exploration, open-endedness, and experimentation, the assumptions and expectations of those worksheets and templates linger on in the classroom, affecting students’ expectations of and approaches to learning. As critical digital pedagogues, we often analyze the technologies in our classroom, the structure of our lesson plans, and our relationships with our students — how the desks and tables are arranged or how our learning management system controls learning. We don’t often turn our attention to the technologies that are absent from our classrooms. Shortcut/template platforms and websites, even when absent from our classrooms, affect student learning. Instead, we should help students move from users of shortcut/template platforms to makers, creators, and speakers in their own rights.

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