This year for Digital Learning Day, I was invited to present a lesson at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. As I was getting ready, I blogged about my preparations, both with my classes and for myself.
From the Community
The Connected Learning Report begins with a focus on equity as a means of putting it foremost in the call for an agenda and research around this work. Today there is a Connected Learning webinar featuring Craig Watkins and Juliet Shor with a focus on this topic as well as a related article in EdWeek looking at this too.
Craig Watkins & Juliet Schor - Connected Learning As Pathway to Equity & Opportunity
Live event: 10pm PT, February 7
Archive will be available post-event.
Today is Digital Learning Day! To mark the occasion, let me take you through a quick walkthrough of the halls of Wamogo Regional Middle/High School and give you a snapshot on how digital learning looks in the English classrooms grades 7-12. We have 1:1 computers in grades 7 & 8; in grades 9-12, we have a "bring your own digital device" policy. Here are the digital learning activities on Wednesday, February 6, 2013:
Grade 7: Students responded to a short story they read, “The Amigo Brothers." They accessed the wiki (www.PBworks.com) in order to respond to “close reading” questions on the author’s use of figurative language. (Students are required to use evidence in their responses; digital copies of text helps student correctly add and cite evidence.)
Was participating in Digital Learning Day an overwhelming experience for you, too? When I looked at the #DLDay hashtag on Twitter, it felt like I was looking into a fire hose on full blast! Well, we have an opportunity for you to pause, reflect on, and extend your #DLDay conversations.
This week, tomorrow, February 7th, the day after Digital Learning Day, we will be continuing a conversation we began during our last #literacies chat session on the ways literacies extend and are at times constrained to school, nonschool and online spaces.
This #dlday, the author of one of my favorite projects is absent. I'm going to attempt to describe her work and then offer my own commentary on it. Once she returns, I'll ask her to add anything she'd like to this post.
Not too long ago, my students and I negotiated new learning plans. Most kids set up time to read, write, and work on projects each week. Some students negotiated short-term plans rather than container plans; they're at work finishing very particular and long-lived projects, like building a Minecraft controller and developing an Instructable on the process.
Today is Digital Learning Day. How are you celebrating? I have a confession to make. I had big plans once upon a time. I had visions of a huge collaborative community event that brought together teachers and students from Morehead State University (where I work) with teachers and students from the K-12 schools under the umbrella of Morehead Writing Project (which I direct). Then I looked at my calendar and my responsibilities and realized I might as well dream of personally ending world hunger. Not going to happen. So I wallowed in self-pity for a while and then I realized I did not need to do anything extraordinary to mark Digital Learning Day because for me every day is Digital Learning Day.
What a great event to celebrate how digital tools have transformed education!
Originally posted as a guest blog for Education Week on January 30, 2013:
In my last post, I wrote about the potential value of education technology and how it can be used to give power and agency to students to tell their own stories. I got a glimpse of this transformation taking place in my class this quarter.
Originally posted as guest blog for Education Week on January 23, 2013:
What role does technology play in your classroom? What questions do you ask yourself before you choose to use a particular web-based tool or application for instruction? What is your students' impression of your perspective on technology?
These questions are worth considering when we talk about encouraging teachers to incorporate technology in the classroom.
I often turn to my principal Chris Lehmann's words on technology to guide my use of it in the class. In his keynote addresses, he often says that technology should be like oxygen, "ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible." In other words, technology should get out of the way, while thoughtful pedagogical choices should guide classroom practice.
As we enter February and as we come off the inauguration of the second term of the U.S.’s first African American president, it seems appropriate to talk about Black History Month and its place in school cultures.
Straight up, should we continue to celebrate Black History Month? Yes. Why? We struggle with the application of multicultural education during this one month; it essentially confirms that whiteness is the standard in U.S. education, right? Look at it this way though. Explicitly participating in Black History Month events enables educators to have all students confront our history of racialized violence in the United States and then affirm that race, although social constructed, is continually relevant to all lives.
“…[An African American is] born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being town asunder” -W.E.B DuBois
This past Friday in my current teaching internship in a 10th grade special admission high school English class, the teacher, J, had the students read the above quote out loud. They were then given 10 minutes to think about what the quote meant in their small groups or individually.
This is part of an ongoing series of discussions I am having with my good friend, Anna Smith, about digital literacies. (You can follow the entire thread of our back and forth talks here.) The other day, Anna asked the question of “where isn’t digital” as she considered a quote by David Wees about the importance of digital literacies in a technology/media-rich world.
Here is an infographic that she created to make her point:
“The teaching acts that constitute the core functions of urban teaching are:
- giving information,
- asking questions,
- giving directions,
- making assignments,
- monitoring seatwork,
- reviewing assignments,
- giving tests,
- reviewing tests,
- assigning homework,
- reviewing homework,
- settling disputes,
- punishing noncompliance,
- marking papers, and
- giving grades.”
“In most urban schools, not performing these acts for most of each day would be considered prima facie evidence of not teaching.”
On board an airplane is a great place to get some writing done. It has been a crazy busy life since my Digital Learning Day adventure began in November. Yesterday was full of last minute plans, students posting last minute blogs, setting up and revising lesson plans for 4 days ( I have never left my students more than a day, so this will be interesting.) They are excited to see what happens and so am I. Here’s hoping my guest teacher knows something about tech, as all the lessons revolve around digital researching and citing sources. A huge shout out to www.commonsensemedia.org and their teacher plans, they are amazing!! I know my kids are doing something valuable with their time in my absence.
If you’ve been waiting for the chance to try out that new design activity with your students, this just might be your shot. The ARIS Global Game Jam on April 18-20 invites you to make new augmented reality games for mobile phones from scratch in just 50 hours. Sound impossible?
Short for Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling, ARIS is a new tool that enables users to create place-based or narrative gaming activities designed for teaching and learning. The platform is available as both an iPhone application and as an open-source authoring platform.
The ARIS design team is inviting experts and novices alike to join the session. Their goal is 50 games in 50 hours.
Digital Is: Interdisciplinary Writing Resources, was recently featured in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece written by guest blogger Chad Sansing, a teacher consultant of the Central Virgina Writing Project, on the Prof Hacker blog.
Teachers associated with the University of Maine Writing Project participated in a course titled "Inquiry into Digital Literacy in the Classroom," and you will see many results of their work posted recently under Resources here in Digital Is (along with many others).
New Collections have been posted by Digital Is Curators too.
Finally, follow @writingproject on Twitter for regular Digital Is and other writing project updates.
Michael Wesch, creator of the video essays "The Machine is Us/ing Us" and "A Vision of Students Today" is looking for collaborators who are teaching college courses related to dml and/or the Internet this semester. He's arranged for videos from the recent Wired for Change conference to be downloaded and freely remixed, and wants to initiate a video contest.
Students who submit the best video on building a more just and equitable Internet for the future will get a free trip to the next Wired for Change conference - a pretty inspiring event: http://www.fordfoundation.org/newsroom/events/451. This year's videos feature Tim Berners-Lee, Arianna Huffington, Spike Lee, Yochai Benkler, and more. Please contact Mike if you're interested in creating a class assignment that would get students making these videos: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In honor of the Digital Media and Learning 2011 conference, the good folks at MIT Press are providing open access to the International Journal of Learning and Media for the month of March. You can see the issue at IJLM at http://ijlm.net. In addition to taking a look at IJLM, you can also see its new format which offers more rich media in support of the scholarship presented there. Jill Rodgers, Marketing Manager, invites your comments email@example.com.
With the publication of the “Voices on the Gulf” case study, the MacArthur Foundation's Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning launched the first in an occasional series showcasing how teachers are using digital media to expand learning and create projects that draw the interest and participation of all students.
The National Writing Project's Digital Is website is mentioned in The Education Innovator of the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the US Department of Education, February 17, 2011.
The Cooney Center Fellows
Program encourages research, innovation, and dissemination to promote children's learning. Fellows participate in a wide range of projects and, in doing so, develop broad exposure to scholarship, policy, and practice in the field of digital media and learning. This professional development program offers opportunities to:
NWP Digital Is has a feature that now allows you to share content via Twitter, Facebook, as well as other social networking sites. You'll notice a quick link at the bottom of all collections, resources and discussions.
As many members of the Digital Is community prepare to go to the National Writing Project and National Council of Teachers of English conferences in Orlando, Florida next week, we thought we'd pass along an invitation to contribute to a session led by Bud, Troy and Sara. Here's how they frame the invitation on their blogs:
A conference session is a waypoint, a time and place to check in on where we’ve...
been, but more important, where we’re going. So before we get to that
waypoint, let’s take a moment to share our own reports from cyberspace as a way
of starting this conversation. Here is an open Google doc where we’ve left space for you to jot some thoughts as we move into our time together. If you can join us for the session at NCTE, great. But if not, and you’d still like to report or check in, feel free
to do so.
Digital Is contributors and curators Christina Cantrill, Dave Boardman, and Anne Herrington will introduce the DIgital Is website to site leaders at a focused session at the NWP Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL next week. Stay tuned for reflections on how site leaders think about using the website in their ongoing work. The website builders are eager for even more user feedback and visioning.
Meanwhile, whether you are at the session or not, let us know what you think!
Site-builders Bill Fitzgerald, Christina Cantrill, and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl joined the Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast last night. Contributors and curators Kevin Hodgson, Chris Sloan, Bud Hunt, and Paul Allison also joined hosts Susan Ettenheim and Paul Allison for a discussion of the Digital Is launch. New visitors to the site, along with contributors like Gail Desler, provided builders with a great window into the site's launch and usability. Big thanks to all who joined us and provided feedback.
Welcome to the launch of the National Writing Project's new focused collection of resources on the teaching of writing in a digital age. Today we're going through the count down. By the time you read this, we will have lift-off.
The National Writing Project is the premiere teacher network in the United States focused on the teaching and learning of writing. You can still learn all about us at our central website at www.nwp.org. But there's no mistaking the impact of both the development of new digital tools for composing and of the internet as a global communications and collaboration space. What it means to write, to research, to publish, and to work together has changed dramatically in the last few decades. As educators, we know our teaching must change too.
Inquiry is the component that underlies everything in this project: my initial question, supporting curriculum design, and reflection as well as my students’ inquiry process culminating in their reflective essays. As I discussed earlier, when I introduced the digital story project to my students, I told them about my Summer Institute experience and my inquiry and encouraged them to be part of the inquiry, too. Like me, reflecting on my practice, they would be reflecting on their experience. Their reflections while helping me with my inquiry could help them to become metacognitive writers and more proficient critical thinkers. We would all be researchers together—recording and analyzing our data. At first they weren’t sure what all this would mean, but delighted with the computers and making digital stories, they were willing to participate.
I continued my inquiry the next school year. No more quandary. I now was convinced that the digital story project was not a frivolous waste of time. On the contrary, it was rigorous academic work with so many added benefits.
We begin with materials from Pearson Foundation's Digital Arts Alliance Project, the essay assignment, and a class schedule for preparing for the Pearson residency. Students form groups, choosing partners or trios to work with, workable numbers for sharing computers. Then collaboration begins as each group brainstorms, talks, compromises to decide on their topic. As usual, I break down the process into workable segments to help students at each step and to keep them on schedule. I use the same process I always do for this composition assignment, but work on modifying for the digital component.
During the 2008-2009 school year, my class was involved in a service learning project. The project utilized various technologies and digital media to complete the task. These tools proved to be invaluable for the English language learners who comprised the majority of my classroom.
Project New Media Literacies (NML) is a research initiative that explores how we might best equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies required to become full participants in an emergent media landscape and raise public understanding about what it means to be literate in a globally interconnected, multicultural world.
The Digital Youth Project brought together 28 researchers over the course of 22 research studies and three years, in an effort to better understand the ways in which youth integrate new media into contemporary youth culture.
The Stanford Study of Writing tracked the development of writing practices of Stanford students during their undergraduate and early post-graduate years in a longitudinal study that took place over the course of a five-year period.
Creative Commons understands that your students are all authors and wants them to be credited and respected when they put their work on the Internet for others to view, remix, and appreciate. That is why, they have made it possible to choose your own license based on your needs and hopes for your work
K-12 classroom teachers, librarians, technology support specialists, etc., gather every year at the K-12 Online Conference to join each other as they present and participate in discussions and activities virtually and, in many cases, not in real time.
Profiles in Practice: Digital Storytelling with Teacher Consultants of the National Writing Project is a collection presented by the Pearson Foundation and the National Writing Project that presents the work of five teachers, who have all practiced doing digital storytelling in their classrooms in the hopes of delivering instruction of core skills like collaboration, creativity, presentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Making Stop Motion Movies is a detailed, how-to guide created by middle school teacher and Western Massachusetts Writing Project Technology Liaison, Kevin Hodgson, that showcases the reading and writing elements of film literacy and utilizes a popular medium in a way that is entertaining and educational. This guide creates activities and resources and highlights student work that reinforces how to use this technology successfully and efficiently.
It started with a quandary. As a veteran writing teacher, I was struggling, feeling caught in the middle between my responsibility to prepare my high school students for the traditional academic demands of college and the prevalence of compelling technology in their lives. Although, I recognized the need for computer literacy, I was not willing to trade rigorous academic work time for frivolous computer projects. So, my quandary led to my inquiry: Is it possible to teach academic writing as digital composition? What happens to writing instruction and student learning when we go digital?
This video documents my work supporting students to use digital voice recorders for "book talks" that allowed them to be active participants in their own processes of inquiry and learning. Sharing their "smart thinking" with each other, and hearing their own voices in the recordings made such a difference in the kind of inquiry and learning process we went through together.
While the term "digital storytelling" has been used to describe a wide variety of new media practices, what best describes the Center's approach is its emphasis on first-person narrative, meaningful workshop processes, and participatory production methods.
This is an excerpt from a Teachers Teaching Teachers episode. Two students from very different backgrounds eventually come to an understanding. It's included in this resource because this was the medium that the discussion took place, as a podcast. Listen to how the students learn to listen.