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Multimedia Includes Print

Written by Robert Puckett
July 29, 2013

The problem is that many students are just not that interested in moving the projects they create on the screen to printed pieces. They are engaged making digitally on the computers, progressing through tutorials and projects at their own pace, but most lack enthusiasm and perserverance in creating print media like posters, flyers, shirts, tickets, and cd covers.  They are fine producing and consuming on screen and most seem to think digital delivery is sufficient.  

I, on the other hand, want them to engage the page and understand the craft involved in print media, so I designed the Travelling Daybook project to bridge the digital/ print divide.  For this project, students in each of my classes make a daybook by creating covers, printing and sewing in pages, writing about a theme that they are interested in, releasing the books for others to contribute to, and following the book’s journey on the website Book Crossing.com.  This forces them to attend to the printer’s craft of measuring, cutting, and binding, engages them in producing writing that is self-selected and meaningful, and gives them an opportunity to use digital tools to track physicals books, sharing their stories in both print and digital formats. 

After reading about “interest journals” in Penny Kittle’s “Write Beside Them” , I decided to have students create daybooks that would be released into the world to travel around freely and become objects that collected people’s stories. Once bound, students decided their own topics such as sports, fishing, zombies, DJing, cars, pets, and video games. Students took ownership of their books and their writing, investing in writing something that someone else would want to read. First, students released their books inside the classroom.  Since they were required to pick another student’s daybook, there was an immediate connection based on similar interest, creating community hyper-locally with peers who sat in the same room, kids they might not have ever talked to.  Next, they sent their hand-made books into the wild, and while many were sad to let them go, they came to realize the benefit of connecting with others who have similar interests and feeling like part of a greater global community.