At the 2014 NWP Annual Meeting, a group of us participated in a "messing around and geeking out" session on Playing with Open Designs for Professional Learning.
The idea of this session was to think about how connected learning meets professional learning through open play experiences.
This collection of resources demonstrates the ways that middle school teachers at a high needs middle school in Eastern North Carolina are transforming their professional learning and teaching practices with Connected Learning frameworks.
As eBooks and immersive, web-based texts continue to proliferate, many of us still wonder how to approach this type of reading, both for ourselves and our students. Even as librarians, teachers, and readers debate the quality, availability, and just plain fun of ebooks, we know that more and more of our students are experiencing them. In this collection, we explore a variety of formats for and questions about ebooks and immersive texts.
What does it look like when young people are writing on their own terms, in spaces outside of school? What new ways of composing do digital media tools open up for us, and what does that mean as it relates to literacy pedagogy and writing instruction inside of schools? This collection features resources written by Hip-hop & spoken word artists & entrepreneurs who work first-hand with youth on initiatives that center youth production and literacy.
Popular culture has changed. No longer just television and movie franchises created by large Hollywood conglomerates, popular culture can be formed by the students in our classrooms. Our students are now both consumers and producers. Sure, they watch the latest blockbuster, but they also spend time making Youtube videos and mashups. This shift is an important one for educators to recognize when incorporating popular culture into their pedagogical practice.
Featured tag CL.tv
YOUmedia is a teen learning space in various libraries, museums, and afterschool spaces throughout the country. This Case Study focuses on the flagship in the Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia is...
Quest2Learn is a pioneering public school in New York City that offers a promising new model for student engagement. Designed from the ground up by a team of teachers and game designers, and firmly grounded in over 30 years of learning research,...
They wondered: Why it was that in every school, in every city, kids couldn’t wait until the bell rang at 3 o’clock.
Why everyone -- teachers and students alike -- couldn’t wait until the weekend, or summer, or vacation, or graduation....
- personal story
- connected learning
- case study
- professional development
- Student Inquiry
- teacher inquiry
- American History
- public spaces
- Maker Movement
- turtle art
- middle school
- computational thinking
- Codecraft Lab
- computer programming
- computer science
- LRNG Grant
- flat classroom
- Walk Our World
- Harry Potter
- multimodal composing
- literature circles
- young adult literature
- technology tools
- spoken word
- College Ready Writers Program
They wondered: Why it was that in every school, in every city, kids couldn’t wait until the bell rang at 3 o’clock.
Why everyone -- teachers and students alike -- couldn’t wait until the weekend, or summer, or vacation, or graduation.
Why the passion for the “why” of learning never seemed anywhere near as important to the powers that be
Welcome to Bertie County, the poorest county in North Carolina, where just 27% of 3rd-8th grade students in 2007 were passing English and Math state standards, and where approximately 95% of public school students receive free/reduced-rate lunches. Where the population caps around 20,000, the largest local employer is the Perdue chicken processing plant, and the main economy is agriculture.
At the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts, heavy-duty shipping containers have been vibrantly painted, reshaped and stacked ceiling-high to form a collaborative K-6 learning space. Comfy couches and oversized pillows are scattered throughout the converted classroom pods, giving them a warm and inviting home-school feel. An industrial shell encloses the entire 47,000 square-foot arena.
The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) is a nonprofit organization, established in 2005 by activist Andrew Slack. Inspired by the student activist organization “Dumbledore’s Army” in the Harry Potter narratives, the HPA uses parallels from the fictional content world as an impetus for civic action. It mobilizes young people across the U.S. around issues of literacy, equality, and human rights, and in support of charitable causes.
WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is the largest professional wrestling company in the world, boasting fans in more than 145 countries. The TV shows reach more than 13 million viewers in U.S. alone, and online WWE forums are constantly full of fans fervently discussing the latest outcomes & upcoming shows. The show's choreography, storylines, and characters have even inspired the fan community to create their own text-based "fantasy" wrestling federation.
Hive Fashion is a MacArthur-funded program for members of the Hive Learning Networks, designed to connect members of the Hive Learning Network in Chicago and New York with fashion industry professionals. The programming makes clear connections from interest-based activities to career-relevant skills, relationships, and pathways.
Digital Storytelling 106--better known as "ds106"--sprouted in 2010 as a computer science class on digital storytelling at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Founded by Jim Groom, educational technology consultant Alan Levine, and instructional technologists Martha Burtis & Tom Woodard, ds106 has evolved into a model for all instructors and students who aspire to experience, explore, and extend connected learning.
I currently have two classes of first-year college students working on a service learning project with a local middle school. This is my second year (third semester) using service learning in my classes. You can read more about why I like service learning in The Benefits of Service Learning.
I want to devote this Notable Notes to what others have to say about the benefits of service learning beginning with Erin Bittman’s great post “Service Learning Is Essential for All Kids—Here’s Why.” In her post she offers some great ideas for service projects for students at a variety of levels. I love the ways that young students can create service learning projects.
Reflection is a major component of my classes and I often use some fun, creative writing exercises as well as more traditional reflection. Last year I used a combination of slam poetry and praise poetry, but I’m not certain this approach will work as well with my classes this semester. So I have been thinking about the various tools on my belt and then a member of my PLN shared this awesome video from PBS Digital Studios. They have a whole range of “Art Assignments” you should check out (warning: wormhole), but the video that inspired me was called “Fake Flyer” featuring Nathaniel Russell.
This reflection was inspired by a recent departmental debate about a mandatory final in our first-year writing class.
DayTV is a website dedicated to elevating the learning and expertise of the StarCraft community, evidenced by their mantra: "Be a better gamer." At the center of the site is Sean "Day" Plott, who describes his role in the community as that of an educator. Sean utilizes his previous experience as a professional and longtime gamer to help new players develop analytical skills useful for StarCraft as well as other aspects of their daily lives.
Phonar, an abbreviation of PHOtography and NARrative,, is an in-person course at Coventry University in the UK and an open online course for as many as 35,000 participants around the world who co-create learning communities through a variety of media including blogs and a blog hub, Twitter (using the #phonar hashtag, and a Google+ community.
The Lowline Project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan combines educational outreach, social connectedness, interest-based learning, shared purpose, equity, social connection, and full participation, in their work with students and community members in a reclamation of an abandoned underground terminal as a “green” public space.
Sofya Zeylikman is senior studying furniture design at Rhode Island School of Design. She has led workshops for both elementary and high school-aged students, teaching them about the intersections between STEM and STEAM, most recently as a coach for the Brandeis Design Lab Teen Fellowship Program.
There has been a debate raging in my department about the form and function of our Writing I and Writing II classes – those core “composition” courses that all students are required to take. This requirement is a good thing. It is essential that our students learn to be good writers, and readers and thinkers, which is why I have always maintained that these are among the most important classes students take in college. The debate centers on the focus of these classes. Will the classes be research-based or argument-based? What kinds of texts will be read and/or studied to support the writing? Will there be a final exam and what form should it take?
There has been intense discussion in my circles, both on- and off-line, of late about whether or not everyone is a writer (inspired by Rachel Toor’s “Scholars Talk Writing”). For the record, I believe everyone is a writer and everyone should write, and that may be why I was struck by a term I heard recently – Technology Evangelist – used to describe a person who promotes a particular product or technology with the zeal commonly associated with religious evangelism which describes the promotion of a particular set of beliefs (see Wikipedia). That is when I had the epiphany that I am a writing evangelist.
One of the most popular links on my Twitter feed lately has been a post by Melissa Donovan of Writing Forward. Her post, “Thoughts on Becoming a Writer,” explores the journey of becoming a writer and what it means to be a writer, but what really resonated with me was the simple statement: “stop becoming a writer and just be a writer.” I have always suggested that the BIC (butt-in-chair) method is the best approach for writing. It is not about the place or the mood or the writing implement – the focus has to be on the writing and just writing – a lot!
During National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, 2015, the Center for Teaching Quality invites all teachers to share their #TeachingIs story in an effort to change the national narrative about teachers, education, and schools. A number of powerful and wonderful stories have emerged from this challenge. I was particularly inspired by my friend Liz Prather’s “#TeachingIs Messy (And I Like It That Way)” (which was in turn inspired by another great piece by Bill Ferriter: “#TeachingIs According to Twelve-Year Olds”).
It's November and that marks the launch of this year's Digital Writing Month. We know you have a lot of writing choices in November (why is that? why November?) with NaNoWriMo and all of those interesting projects underway. With DigiWriMo, the aim is to investigate and push at the edges of what writing is and what writing is becoming, and tinker, play and collaborate.
Sort of like the mission of Digital Is, right?
I love the double entendre in this title, because this post is about teaching creativity to our students (or perhaps more accurately encouraging rather than inhibiting it) but also about encouraging (rather than inhibiting) the creativity of our teachers.
Two of the most retweeted links on my social media feeds this week concerned creativity and critical thinking and how our current model of education (and teacher assessment not to mention teacher professional development) inhibits rather than encourages these essential traits.
This semester I have been experimenting with collaborative assessment. I lead my students through a collaborative process to build their own assessments for assignments. I was first introduced to this idea at our 2014 Writing Eastern Kentucky Conference by three Morehead Writing Project rock star teachers: Lindsay Johnson, Brandie Trent, and Leslie Workman.
When I originally posted this Notable Notes on my web site I included this quote from @bradmcurrie Tweeted by @justintarte. It is worth following Justin just for the great quotes he shares although he has much more to offer as well. One of the great tragedies of our current educational climate is that so many involved are risk-adverse, but not everyone and I keep hoping the pendulum is swinging. As anyone who has studied educational history knows, the pendulum always swings and this too shall pass. This collection of notable notes celebrate risk.
(This first appeared at my blog: Kevin's Meandering Mind. Feel free to do with it what you want.)
By Poppy Dames
I’ve seen this before. You pull back a curtain, and a ghost or a ghoul jumps out at you. I’ve been in a haunted house, and felt the exciting moment when you turn a corner and find a rush of adrenaline, and an exciting skip in your heart. But this is a different feeling. Instead of pulling back that curtain and finding a ghost or a zombie, you find a friend. A friend lying so still that all the memories of your time with them fade away, like it was a dream all along. And you’ve just woken up to find that none of it was real. But the reality pierces your heart. It’s October 30th, and your friends are paying to find death. But when you look death straight in its face, you can never return to the acceptance of the unknown. When you see with your own eyes, a person with no soul, it’s hard not to say “where did they go?”
“I wish that time could halt.”
Struck by the recommendations in Writing Next: A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York, I found myself thinking about one in particular: collaborative writing.
The report notes, "Studies of this approach compared its effectiveness with that of having students compose independently. The effect sizes for all studies were positive and large. Collectivey, these investigations show that collaborative arrangements in which students help each other with one or more aspects of their writing have a strong positive impact on quality."
Thinking a little outside the box, I wondered if I could create authentic collaborative experiences. Could I develop something where students not only collaborated on something very real and meaningful, but also collaborated with students outside of this specific classroom.
This week’s notable notes focus on unintentional consquences that so often result from good ideas gone awry from the effect that bad writing instruction has on students’ critical thinking abilities to the impact of standardized testing on the type of people our students become.
I named my blog Metawriting for a reason. One of the foundational principles of my theory of teaching writing (or fostering writers as I prefer to think of it) is that in order to improve writing we need to think about writing and talk about writing – our writing as well as the writing of others. This is one of the reasons why creating a community of writers is so central to my classroom practice. My fascination with metawriting emerged from my quest to understand learning transfer – when and how are students able to transfer knowledge and skills learned in one setting (or class) to another. As a result, during my evolutionary journey as an educator I also became a metateacher and this week’s blog post will offer three reasons why you should become a metateacher too.
I have found that students are thrilled when offered the opportunity to create Facebook accounts because these are two social media networks that use regularly and are comfortable with. Makes involving social networks spark student interest, even in those who are typically resistant to “creative” project ideas. One such Make was to create a Facebook account for a founding father, and students were offered multiple different format options: a paper template, an online “Fakebook” account creator, or an opportunity to use any online medium of their choosing (like Google Draw). They were directed to include a short biography, at least one post by their founding father, at least one post by one of their “friends,” and who at least two of their “friends” would be.
My main goal as an educator has been to incorporate peer culture and student interests in lessons and assignments as a way of encouraging students to become actively involved in history. Students should not be bystanders to history; they should be involved in it! History is a subject that many students are not inclined to be interested in; honestly, many students find history to be boring and irrelevant, particularly at the middle school level. To give you a better idea of this struggle faced by many history teachers, here is a brief list of common student frustrations:
My overall experience with the #TRWPconnect MOOC, a remix of NWP’s 2013 #CLMOOC with the Tar River Writing Project (TRWP) has helped shape me as an educator. I have learned that there are many more options in the “teacher-verse” for hands-on projects and a variety of online resources that can be applied to the classroom that we have yet to harness. The concepts of collaborative and connected learning highlighted throughout this experience inspired me to become more connected with my colleagues in a way that has furthered my instructional practice, and I have encouraged my students to practice these as well.
As you step through the doorway of a history classroom, the lights are off as the teacher drones on about the importance of certain Revolutionary War battles. A plain PowerPoint slide is plastered across the front of the room. A few students are awake, actively taking notes, but the majority of the class is dead asleep as the teacher drones on, unfazed by this behavior. This is what many stereotypically characterize a history class to look like, probably because that is what they were exposed to. As a history teacher, I am no stranger to the adversity that educators face when it comes to making historical content relatable to their students. I teach at E.B. Aycock Middle School, located in Pitt County in eastern North Carolina, a school with an extremely diverse student population in terms of both race and socioeconomic status.
I had been reading one of David Levithan's books, The Realm of Possibility, and it seemed like a pretty neat way to have each student create a story that was connected and yet written in different voices. In the book, there is one school, and twenty voices. Each chapter is in a different voice, and you don't really see all of the connections between the characters till you are a few chapters in. Each of the characters are very unique, and they have their own perspective on the world. Yet, they are connected because they go to the same school at the same time.
So, in October, the month before the competition, I started to read chapters from Levithan's book to the class. They were intrigued, perhaps because there is controversial themes and characters in the book, or perhaps because it is in first person verse, but the students engaged with the story.
We decided to enter the National Novel Writing Month competition as a class last year, and the results were amazing.
Danielle Filipiak didn't start with technology, or even with the core curriculum or community issues. She started with questions: "What does it mean to be a human being?" followed by "What prevents people from living fully as human beings?" Filipiak's reasoning: "If you don't believe you have a voice and that your literacy practices can do anything for you, then you aren't engaging fully as a human being."
"Since I'm a teen and I'm teaching, why not give other teens the opportunity? So I'm working on a project where I hope to get young adults and kids involved in teaching what they love to their peers and their community." The story of 15-year-old Scratch expert Caroline Cambemale is evidence of the emergence of young teenage teachers as new tools & resources expand the scope of learning and teaching beyond traditional schooling.
While no teacher denies the importance of college and career readiness, what is the educator to do who wants to develop civic curriculum and offer students relevant, critical instruction that is also aligned with the Common Core?
Collections tend to bring together 4-6 resources or blogs with a main blog-style post highlighting cross-cutting ideas related to digital literacy and connected learning. Curators organize collections by sub-themes within the broader topic, including:
- the art and craft of digital writing;
- teaching and connected learning;
- provocations that push us to think in new ways.
Some examples include:
At NWP Digital Is "resources" are examples of practice and educator inquiries. Resources are different than blogs in that they are more “evergreen,” can contain multiple pages, and can include a range of related documents and links. Resources can include a range of media and both are curateable into larger collections.
We invite all members of the community to contribute resources and invite you to request to become a resource creator.
We encourage resources that: