Mr. Milton Mixes it Up with Explain Everything

Mike Milton regularly expresses his creativity using digital tools. Connect with on Twitter at @42ThinkDeep

Mike Milton regularly expresses his creativity using digital tools. Connect with on Twitter at @42ThinkDeep

Burlington High School Social Studies teacher Mike Milton is bringing innovation, creativity, and elements of digital citizenship into his classroom this year with an original Social Studies Digital Remix Project. As a talented digital mashup artist himself, Mr. Milton has been experimenting with photo editing for quite some time and for the 15-16 school year, he decided to give his students the opportunity to explore how they too could become digital remixers. Connecting the “modern” phenomenon of digital remixing with his course content was easy. Milton provided his students with several historical examples of remixing by citing that the Sistine Chapel is actually a mashup of stories and images from Biblical traditions and that the Star Spangled Banner is a remix of a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry” by Francis Scott Key that was put to the tune of the British song, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Milton also pointed out to his students when introducing the project that remixing is an integral part to Hip Hop, Jazz, collage, and fan fiction. For the digital remix project, Milton explained to his students he wanted them “to join the fray.”

The specifics of the project requires students to “create one poster or meme that builds upon our course content.” Students are being asked to create their remixed digital images using digital tools and to then write a one page rationale to explain the different elements of their creations and how they tell a new story. To accomplish the goals of this project, the majority of the students will be using the iOS application Explain Everything. Students’ digital images will be assessed on aesthetics and formatting, the clarity of the message or story the image tells, and the ability of the image to serve as a review tool for others. Milton is also incorporating important aspects of digital citizenship in his assessment of student work. Students will be assessed on their ability to research and demonstrate an understanding of a specific event and time period, as well as their ability to properly cite (Chicago Manual style) the ideas, facts, and images used in their creations. Milton has added a fun and healthy competitive component to the project by creating a contest for the students. Finished digital Images will be voted on by Burlington High School students, teachers, and administration as well as educators outside of the school and the winning images will receive public recognition and their creation will be printed and displayed in his classroom.

Students' digital posters will be displayed on Milton's classroom wall

Students’ digital posters will be displayed on Milton’s classroom wall

After a brief tutorial of the Explain Everything application, I had the chance to sit down with Mr. Milton
for a brief interview about this project. Our conversation is embedded below and I look forward to sharing part 2 of this innovative digital project once students have submitted their final projects. Stay tuned for an update this coming November!

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