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Task Discussion

  • Ben   March 22, 2012, 4:59 p.m.

    I knew when I joined this group I'd be overwhelmed but I've loved the exchange,  -- great ideas, new tools to explore, new issues (at least for me) to consider....  I've been introduced to a pedagogy that isn't much practiced on my campus.  I'm not sure why.  I know there's a powerful element among the faculty that just naturally resists all the new-fangled gadgets and fancy notions and trendy techniques, no matter where they come from.  In the end, that's a power struggle.  We're not willing to take the principal's advice, in Bonnie Kaplan's video: relinquish our authority in the class room and give students room to learn by doing.  I think there's an economic element, too; the fact that we don't have much to fight over doesn't make the conflict any less intense.  And our faculty probably has all the usual reasons to hesitate before going public with their work.

    My passion: I've been asked (sort of) to develop a Writing Across the Curriculum program on my campus.  I'm convinced the only way to do it is to incorporate the tools, and the ideology, this group has shared.  I'll recruit a study group (maybe half-a dozen) of colleagues, visit their classes, demonstrate some of the tools (as soon as I learn to use them myself), get them to demonstrate others, help them rethink and redesign their syllabi to include a new diversity of writing assignments and student projects.  We'll probably do a great deal of the "invisible" writing that was discussed by the panel on that Canadian video and someone will be critical of that.  (I confess; I spent the morning watching videos and such, trying to catch up.  They asked some good questions and the panel was impressive but as always, they didn't quite answer the questions!).  

    Some things I need to know more about: Diigo, Screencasts, Voicethread, John Seely Brown, Howard Rheingold, Searcheeze....  I understand I've only scratched the surface these last couple weeks but everybody starts somewhere.  I hope there's a way for group members to stay in touch.  I'm  going to need guidance.  

  • Tellio   March 23, 2012, 8:25 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Ben   March 22, 2012, 4:59 p.m.

    I think you already feel this, but I would like reinforce the idea that while humility is important you must realize how important this work is.  For example, all of these Web x.x tool creators want and need to know how you are using their tools.  In a way, the tool belongs to those who use it and the makers know this in their heart of hearts.  So your use of the tools constitutes testing in the field, something all digital needs more of. 

    Your work is also important because it draws its strength from local initial conditions and not from someone else's.  In a way every attempt like this while standing upon the shoulders of others is still of sample of one.  You know this and you also know that those in the field of the classroom are the only ones who can address this unique set of problems. 

    The best piece of advice I can give (and I am still learning this myself) is not to think at any time that you are doing this alone or that there is an answer 'out there' and outside of your school if only you could look long enough to find it.  Your schools have the inner resources and passion to find answers that you will own.  The best motto I have ever heard about this is one my political science teacher harped on:  outside experts should be on tap, not on top.

    I wish you the best with this and I would be happy to act as a sounding board for this work. 

  • Christina Cantrill   March 26, 2012, 10:56 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Ben   March 22, 2012, 4:59 p.m.

    Hi Ben. This is wonderful and I am also, like Terry, happy to act as a sounding board. Although I am certainly saying that knowing too that it's an ongoing process for all of us, these acts of going public, reflecting on power dynamics, learning something new (and then learning something new again!) ... so I know that I would  very much value learning from you about all of this too.

  • bonnie k   March 21, 2012, 2:24 p.m.

    i"m almost afraid to jump in so late in the game. I did have high expectations when I joined up and introduced myself but then...

    Thanks for the email feature I have getting all the postings and comments and I've been amazed at how exciting the conversations have been. 

    One of the distractions I've had in the last few weeks is creating a documentary video of PD work I've done at one of our WP schools.  I had so much footage to wade through that I procrastinated but then finally when the real deadling loomed closer( a Board of Ed presentation). I buried myself to Final Cut Pro X where everything lived in a Highland Falls project and stayed away from everything else on my computer.

    I realized more and more from that experience and really most of my teaching and writing project life that teachers need to make their work public and that's getting easier and easier to do, but no less frightening for many teachers.

    It was tough getting teachers to go public where I was working but wow, the ones who did were well received and in the world of high stakes testing, the community needs to see a teacher as more than a test score.

    Here's my piece if you have a few minutes.  It's 18 minutes cut down from an hour and 30 minutes.  The BOE loved it!

  • Tellio   March 22, 2012, 3:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   bonnie k   March 21, 2012, 2:24 p.m.

    I watched the whole piece and was just inspired by the power children can exercise given a good place to stand.  I liked how teachers seem to get the idea that without their own personal investment in the writing and the tools we use to generate 'text' in its largest sense that students won't ante up.  Working from a Core Group out to others is also a simple, but often times unsung tool for making a difference in student learning. I would have liked to know more about the email conversations that teachers had and whether any of that extended to other collaborative and social media spaces.

    The polish of this piece is really awesome.  Makes me want to document our work this summer and then publish just like you did. 

  • bonnie k   March 22, 2012, 3:53 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 22, 2012, 3:13 p.m.

    Thanks so much for your close observation of this docuementary piece.  I feel very fortunate to be working with a school adminstrator who is a teacher first and a techie second.  She has a great vision for supporting literacy projects and teachers who are open to moving into the digital world. 

    Not all teachers were open to invitation to work with this pd project but those who were,  were great models.

    Our email conversations were interesting... often short bursts of ideas after a shower...

    Thanks to my work with the NWP network, as far back as Tech Matters 2006, I have been moving in the docmentary direction slowly and surly...


  • Christina Cantrill   March 26, 2012, 11:20 a.m.
    In Reply To:   bonnie k   March 21, 2012, 2:24 p.m.

    Hi Bonnie. Sorry to be late catching up to this but it's a wonderful video. Have you posted it to NWP Connect yet? I will also encourage you to cross-post to DI, but first I think I would encourage you to post it in Connect in the Site Leaders and Common Core areas for other writing project folks to see and hear your back story too.

    Congratulations to everyone involved! Strong and important work.



  • Tellio   March 20, 2012, 11:10 a.m.

    What are your passions?


    What are your inquiries?

    • Annotating the world with augmented reality/ qr codes/ and social media tools
    • Digital textbooks
    • How the terms "teacher, school, and classroom" are being disrupted or supplanted
    • Transforming Ken Macrorie's I-Search for the digital classroom.


    What are you thinking about and what moves you in your literacy practices today?

    • Digital literacies and how they augment/dovetail with other literacies.
    • Digital newspapers in the classroom.
    • Choosing appropriate analog and digital literacies
    • Howard Rheingold's Net Smart and his five key literacies: Attention, Participation, Cooperation, Critical Consumption, Network Awareness
  • Christina Cantrill   March 20, 2012, 11:16 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 20, 2012, 11:10 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing these Tellio .. I think these "outliers" are critical so appreciate the addition of farming here to your otherwise digitally/educationally oriented list. I'm going to watch this Twins video right now!

    It seems to me these outliers are exactly what helps us to keep the conversations going too ... those things that inform our work in unexpected, and potentially innovative ways!

  • Christina Cantrill   March 20, 2012, 11:19 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 20, 2012, 11:16 a.m.

    Aware of how overused that term is today -- ie. innovation -- I just wanted to come back here and say that watching the video it is also about informing our work in emotional and physical ways too really! Love it :)

  • Christina Cantrill   March 21, 2012, 1:59 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 20, 2012, 11:19 a.m.

    Not sure why I didn't use this embed feature before now!

  • Christina Cantrill   March 19, 2012, 2:52 p.m.

    Thanks for jumping in with your passions, Kevin! Here are a few of mine own just to keep the conversation going (hopefully :) ...

    What I am most passionate about right now what John Seely Brown talks about in his book A New Culture of Learning (and that he talks about during his DML2012 keynote too)-- ie. the intersections of play, tinkering and knowledge making. I am interested in this related to my own work with the NWP and how I see teachers and students in these communities of practice making new knowledge in an increasingly digital and networked world ( as a prime example but our history is also of doing this in analog spaces too). And also groups like Spiral Q -- where I am volunteer and board member -- facilitate play, making and knowledge-building processes within communities that are cross-organizational, cross-generational, etc (in often analog ways too). I am interested how we both learn from youth and also look across ages, communities and organizations to truly support cultural shifts in the way we approach change, work and learning for all.

  • Tellio   March 20, 2012, 11:34 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 19, 2012, 2:52 p.m.

    This might add to your passion.  I don't know if you follow the Berkman Center podcasts but this recent one by Beth Kolko is, I think, a must listen.  It is about 'maker'/hacker culture, outsider innovation, and informal learning.  Love her definition of hacker as someone who is immune to frustration.

    JSB brought me to this course so I am inspired here as well.

    Spiral Q is really inspiring me to reconsider what I am doing with teachers this summer at our tech academy for teachers.  Where are the rest of the students/learners?  I am trying to figure out how to reach across age and socioeconomic edges in our three days of work.  I don't know where that will lead but I will be exploring this more the potential cultural shifts in that tech environment.





  • Christina Cantrill   March 27, 2012, 3:57 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 20, 2012, 11:34 a.m.

    Hi Terry. Listening to Kolko's presentation now ... thanks for this reference. I am wondering if you know her and if she might be interested in sharing some of her work in Digital Is. I think her focus on being STEM literate is really important and the work at Hackademia, in general.

  • Tellio   March 27, 2012, 5:34 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 27, 2012, 3:57 p.m.

    I don't know her, only of her.  She seems a very busy sort, but I would be happy to approach her with a little help from you.  Maybe we could come up with something like 5 questions for Beth Kolko?  Dunno.  Get back to me.

  • KevinHodgson   March 17, 2012, 10:46 a.m.

    I've been curious about how the literacies of young people intersect and don't intersect with the literacies of the classroom. In other words, is the writing and composing they are doing outside of school have any influence on the literacies in the classroom? Vice versa? I'm trying to "pay attention" this year to my students.


  • Tellio   March 20, 2012, 1:56 p.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   March 17, 2012, 10:46 a.m.

    I have been looking at Howard Rheingold's social media literacies and think they might dovetail with your curiosities.  I also think that the work Jay Cross is doing with informal learning/training might be worth a serious look.  Do you think that 'student literacies' are supplanting 'our' literacies? 

    Funny you should mention paying attention.  I had a student teacher observing my classroom the other day and after class she mentioned how she was going to have to re-assess how students attend to discussion.  She had at first been peeved by apparent student in-attention (checking phones, heads down on desks, laptop work), but she had to admit that the whole class seemed to actually be paying heed because they responded to my questions without missing a beat.  I think we have to try to understand and research whether digital 'distractions' in the classrooms are just as bad for learning as cellphones in the car are for driver safety.  Is there anybody actually doing that? 

  • Christina Cantrill   March 21, 2012, 1:50 p.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   March 17, 2012, 10:46 a.m.

    Would love to learn more about what you find in your discover process Kevin!

    Also ... here are few things you and others might find interesting too. Do you know this HOMAGO research Kevin? It emerged from a 3 year project of paying the kind of attention to youth and the way they are learning today -- Mimi Ito here talks about this work and raises questions that I think are interesting to think about in our own contexts, ie. literacy practice intside and outside of school (she doesn't really go there, but it would be wonderful to think about how what you learn can!).

    Hanging out, Messing around, Geeking out

    Elyse also posted this video a while back which I think has a lot of interesting and useful food for thought too:

    This excellent episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Alice Robinson, Nichole Pinkard, Mark Federman, and Andrea Lunsford discuss the big question: what is happening with young people and their writing? It's a great discussion of the bigger questions out in the public mind. Are young people writing better or worse nowadays? What is 'writing' anyway?

    And then I recently was paying attention to this video of students from the Chester Youth Voices project here in Chester PA related to a larger piece of research. The opening challenges what it means to be literate today ... I've used this a few time to prompt discussion ... always interesting!

    "Literacies are..." Bridging Generations of Literacies Through Media Production

  • Christina Cantrill   March 21, 2012, 1:56 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 20, 2012, 1:56 p.m.

    Hi Terry.

    I did a quick search on Digital Is for "attention" and found these links that you could check out ... Also, I just started reading Cathy Davidson's book Now You See It -- really only read the first chapter, but it does start with a focus on attention and what we do and don't pay attention to in different contexts, situations (ie. it brings in the famous video: the selective attention test:

  • Tellio   March 23, 2012, 8:55 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 21, 2012, 1:56 p.m.

    Thanks for the heads up here.  I have used the invisible gorilla vids and many other selective attention vids when I teach about bias in writing.  The kind of attention bias in this research is biological, but one of the lessons of the research is that you can tune your attention (or rather you can become more aware of what you filter out) through practice.  And I see in Elyse's Resource "Paying Attention to Attention" (that you point to) that she is further along than I am on this issue.  Amazing, the depth of work on Digital IS and I feel like I have just scratched the surface. It reminds me of many moons ago when I picked up a copy of this overlarge book at my bookstore.  It was called The Whole Earth Catalog.  Perhaps Digital IS could have a subtitle:  the Whole Digital Learning Catalog.