The idea for meta-decks is not wholly my own. The original concept comes from the awesome Alice Yucht, a distinguished teacher-librarian and teacher of teacher-librarians, from New Jersey, who is now enjoying her retirement in Nevada. Alice presented a session entitled Battle Decks, a number of years ago at a New Jersey School Librarian’s conference, suggesting that participants consider using a strategy, similar to ALA’s Annual Battle Decks Event, for assessing student learning. I’ve never used this idea in practice, but was reminded of the strategy during our Digital Media class discussions about the synthesizing mind. I am glad to have the opportunity to “think out” and formalize this strategy here!
Metaphors help our brains make sense of information because they connect new learning with already acquired knowledge. When someone uses metaphors to explain a concept, it helps us better understand the concept, because the metaphor provides an additional path for knowledge creation. By creating metaphors, our students are not only deepening knowledge, but also developing a necessary strategy for sharing knowledge.
In addition, our students need to develop visual literacy skills. Images are a tool for communication, and our students need to develop a discerning disposition about the images they consume and the images they share. Too often, students attach images to products of learning as decoration, rather than as a means for further communicating a desired message. Developing the disposition for choosing images for metaphorical effect, develops our students’ ability to create more meaningful and effective messages.
Using digital tools for this strategy, allows teachers to easily share needed materials and students to easily and effectively collaborate and share their creations with a larger audience.
Please share your thoughts or concerns for using this strategy. if you decide to give Meta-Decks a try, I would love to hear how it works out!