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Filling the Production Gap

February 12, 2010

PBS FRONTLINE’s digital_nation is full of great clips and sound bytes. Addressed in that film by many of people interviewed as what Arne Duncan refers to as the “Opportunity Gap.” This opportunity gap sounds very similar to what many of us are calling the “Production Gap.” I have taken the important clips related to that topic from that documentary, added clips from a keynote speech by Alan November, interviews with Seymore Papert, and clips from old public domain ephemeral films from the Internet Archive. Combined, I feel it both explains and makes the case very well for addressing the production gap as a social justice issue.

For full-length versions (16 min) of this film:

Filling the Production Gap on Vimeo.
View this clip on

View the abridged version on YouTube

While school filtration policies play an important role in sustaining the production gap because they limit our ability to engage students in tools and with information as content producers they are not the only issue. What is more important are practices of pedagogy and I think the video makes this clear. So, how do we fill the production gap? Here are four simple prescriptive steps:

  1. Open access to read/write web resources (stop blocking blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networking, and vodcasting sites like YouTube)
  2. Create a learner-centered learning environment (tailor learning experiences to individual student interests, needs, and abilities)
  3. Engage all students as content producers.
  4. Provide all students with a thorough and honest digital literacy education so they understand the levity of what they post online and are able to manipulate the web to meet their academic and entrepreneurial needs.

What are your thoughts? Is the problem laid out here valid? What are the consequences of not addressing the production gap, especially for economically disadvantaged students? Would you change or add any steps to this list? Let me know.

Cross-Post from Techno Constructivist, February 8, 2010.

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