12 10 / 2011
Trying to read Step Up with a very open mind. I know plenty of teachers who use portions of Step Up in very complex ways and then augment their instruction with other practices.
Problems for me that I could work with in a larger paper:
The approach in Step Up is very developmental: you learn sentences then paragraphs then full essays. You learn skills and then apply those skills to other areas. This is a very commonplace notion of teaching writing—alphabet, then words, then sentences..but do we learn to write in this way, really? What about purpose and audience? Why would I write in the first place outside of school? Where’s the room for those questions? Would I end up thinking that writing is tedious and I’m not cut out for it.
An example: when I was asked to write outlines in school, I always wrote them AFTER I completed the paper. They didn’t help me. I used lots of pre-writing strategies (I would not have known to call them that) but they weren’t always the ones valued in school. Or I wasn’t asked: what’s your composing process? How do you organize your thoughts to write a paper? There were a lot of activities that were just that: activities. Things to do that didn’t always help me to compose.
On the other hand, there is a lot here that could help students with school based literacy practices: learning to annotate or question a text. Yes. A variety of ways to do this: post-it notes, pictures, etc. Yes. I would want to point out that these skills are things we need to do school. And then ask how they fit with other kinds of reading and writing that exist outside school.
I also wonder about the role of writing to learn. I want the writing we do in the class to weave through all the content areas and then time to craft writing. And lots of genres and ways to talk about the kinds of writing that exists.
In order to write this paper, I need to pull in literacy theorists who see writing as developmental (great divide arguments) and compare them to the social nature of writing. How can we create a community in which writing gets things done within the context of our school? What would that writing look like?
One approach may be to take a very small section of do some analysis of implicit concepts, then talk about how to supplement to make that section align more with my own goals for literacy in my classroom.
21 8 / 2011
21 8 / 2011
Fall semester starts tomorrow and I can’t stop playing with the syllabus, assignment, calendar, websites. It’s like a good video game when you’re making a classroom space you like. I’m using this space alongside my students who will also blog and link and create meaning related to digital literacy and culture. Some of these students are entering the teaching profession soon; my hope is that they can embrace all that can be cool about geek culture: tinkering, hacking, playing, designing, remixing, collaborating, and sharing expertise.
I’m asking students to use Tumblr as a digital notebook: a place that can be messy as we think about ideas, find provocative readings, videos and websites. I imagine this blog as a hybrid between a scientist’s notebook and an artist’s sketchpad: posing questions, addressing problems, linking, and uploading. I imagine a collage of ideas.
Eventually, we’ll also curate professional portfolios using Google Sites and we’ll create documentary short films, sharing what we’ve learned at our Rough Cut Film Festival.
Let the wild rumpus start.
29 7 / 2011
Below are some people, sites, and ideas that can help you enter the world of digital teaching, learning, literacies, culture. You should also play a video game once or twice in your life.
Resources related to 21st C. Learning
- Cathy Davidson, Founder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaborative), describes a new course in 21st Century Literacies: http://www.hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/twenty-first-century-literacies-course-description
- Spotlight On Digital Media and Learning (resources/articles): http://spotlight.macfound.org/
- Digital Is website and link to article about “Beginning the Digital Journey.” Website sponsored by the National Writing Project with funding from MacArthur. Digital resource for teachers. Full of examples from k-college teachers: http://digitalis.nwp.org http://digitalis.nwp.org/collection/“where-do-i-start”-beginning-digital-jou
- First Monday Journal. Research on teaching and digital culture: http://www.firstmonday.org/
- Online texts/books related to digital learning from MIT Press. From their site: “The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learningexamines the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect peoples sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically.” http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/browse/browse.asp?btype=6&serid=170
- Digital Media and Learning website: http://dmlcentral.net/
- danah boyd’s website. Boyd is a researcher who writes prolifically about youth and digital culture and literacy. Links to most of her articles here. Many of these I have used with students: http://www.danah.org/
- Digital Media-New Learners of the 21st Century. This aired on PBS in 2011. Highlights innovations in teaching and learning related to Digital Literacies. Also introduces you to some of the key researchers in digital culture and literacy: Mimi Ito, Henry Jenkins, James Gee, John Seely Brown, Katie Salen: http://video.pbs.org/video/1797357384/
- Short video from the MacArthur Digital Literacies website about the 21st C Learner: http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.4284677/apps/s/content.asp?ct=8400825
- Short video from the MacArthur Digital Literacies website about digital media and learning: http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.4462309/apps/s/content.asp?ct=7557443
- Lawrence Lessig TED talk on laws that choke creativity: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html
- “The Machine is Us/ing Us” Mike Wesch’s first short video about Web 2.0: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE
- Mike Wesch presents a lecture on technology and teaching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4yApagnr0s
- Read James Gee’s book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Language and Literacy.