Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2018

The Current

Engaging space for tech-forward instruction and teacher collaboration

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
5–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

Take a look inside

5 images

Pros: Created by teachers for teachers, it's an inspiring place for how to support your students in the world of education and digital media.

Cons: Lags in navigation and some dead ends may discourage teachers from contributing content or engaging in the site’s offerings.

Bottom Line: A great resource to share and gather ideas on teaching with technology and media, but there are some bugs that need fixing.

Teachers in need of ideas for the classroom, insight into others’ experiences, or a desire to share their ideas can look at The Current as both a virtual media specialist and a space to find your writing voice. Plan ahead to make the most of the site's offerings -- there’s a lot to take in, and you'll want to take the time to read through and digest everything the site offers. It's a resource that will probably be most useful when planning, either at the start of the school year or between semesters.

Once you're familiar with the site, you can return to find or share ways to incorporate technology into writing lessons -- or when you just need inspiration about teaching in general. Take advantage of others’ expertise in the community where you can get support and guidance from other members. Users can offer help with a specific unit or media tool, or you could even share a unit you've designed to solicit feedback. Be forewarned that while there's plenty of content, there are some problems with the site that may prevent new users from contributing, and you might get better responses from the parent site, Educator Innovator. 

Continue reading Show less

Formerly Digital Is, The Current is an open publishing media literacy website created and curated by a community of educators. Created under the direction of the National Writing Project (NWP) as a source for grassroots professional development, the site shares the NWP's ethos of encouraging teachers to help others in their field. The site is closely linked to its parent site Educator Innovator, a hub for connected learning in education.

Using Creative Commons 4.0 licensing as a basic tenet, content on the site is organized under three tabs: Blog, Resources, and Collections. The succinct blog entries link to articles, activities, and definitions (when needed). Much of the Resources section is comprised of teachers' documentation of their inquiries into their own practice, focusing on Connected Learning projects, social justice units that are tied to current events, or activities using innovative apps. The Collections are exactly that -- resources grouped by theme; as such, they serve as a user-friendly way to get at the site's content. Some missing images, outdated content, and lags in page loading time indicate that the developers may no longer be supporting this tool, but there’s still an abundance of useful resources.

Part current practice, part reflection, and part digital archive, The Current’s content serves as professional development by teachers, for teachers. Whether you're tech-savvy or a reluctant neophyte, the site's blog and other resources provide direction, guidance, and inspiration for the many effective ways to incorporate technology and media into your teaching. The resources don't just guide the teaching of writing and media literacy, but also extend into general teaching practices. Additionally, The Current aims to foster a sense of community with the option to comment on any article and engage with the educator who posted it. 

In a world of ever-changing media, it might be tempting to think of The Current as a quick place to pick up resources on the fly, but the site demands a bit more of an investment. For teachers looking for new ideas, new takes on old ideas, or a space to share their knowledge, there's a lot here to inspire. In the current media landscape, technological agility is a crucial need for teachers and students alike, but sometimes it’s nice to go back to your roots and see how far you've come. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The comment sections don’t seem to have much traction, but with the focus on supporting connected learning and enhancing media literacy, educators will find ways to implement high-interest, technology-centered lessons.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

With plenty of research and resources linked within the different sections, the site supports teachers in creating tech-rich, media-savvy activities that will engage and excite students.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The site offers many resources, but laborious navigation and the lack of strategies for meeting the specific learning needs of special needs students may leave some users feeling simultaneously over- and underwhelmed.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

Write a review
Featured review by
Tara W. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Golden Valley High School
Merced, CA
Great site to find inspiration for teaching for those willing and able to spend the time to search.
One of the most important parts of the teaching process is lesson creation and reflection. This website provides the interested teacher with a variety of voices on a variety of topics in teaching writing. Teacher members contribute ideas in the forms of blog posting. I found an excellent blog on Flash Fiction in the classroom. Not only did the writer define the terms, but she also provided ways that she teaches this in her classroom. Posts like these are very helpful. However, there are other posts that might not be as helpful. Some blog postings are teachers musing aloud about issues in education. While I definitely believe that posts like these are important in our profession, some teachers looks for ideas to implement in the classroom might be disappointed in posting on the abstract when they are in need of concrete activities right away. After I figured out how to best search for tags, I was able to find content that best fit my needs as a teacher. Even though I think that this website would benefit from a section for Lesson Plan ideas, I feel like the searching required was beneficial in the end. The search process exposed me to more ideas that I wouldn't normally encounter.
Read full review