Opening Thoughts, Day 2

Opening Thoughts – Day 2

  • Dixie Goswami – Bread Loaf
    • Think about a follow up conference in 2009 that would invite the young people with whom we are working to attend as well. The literacy that our young people are learning is collaborative; every talk that I have heard shows that the students are the primary source about technology tools and making meaning with one another.
    • We need to figure out how we, as professionals, can invite our young people into this work so we can learn from them. Shirley Heath used to remind us that students are resources to be developed, not problems to be solved. The conversation is shifting, and we will move that shift and critique the technology tools that we use.
    • The next time we convene, we will have young people who will be able to be “advocates and activists.” We need to think about students as co-researchers by reinventing the mission of teacher research so we work closely with students to find out from them and with them the meaning of what they are doing with technology.
    • Years ago, we brought boxes and boxes of student work that took us the whole summer to go through. yesterday, in Renee’s sessions, she went through interviews, transcripts, videos, and other materials that made it instantly possible to see what was happening.
    • Also, we don’t have to find publishers that demand certain formats for scholarly work. The only limit for sharing your work and calling it scholarly research is your own time, creativity, and ability to get it on the internet.
    • There could not be a more exciting time than now. The presentations that we have watched in the past two days represent the tip of the iceberg. The school, community, colleagues, and other factors makes the ecology of technology is something that we need to look at more as well. There is a huge base of research that must be done to show how classroom practice happens, how it is formed, and what allows it to happen.
    • Five, ten years ago, we would have been talking about technology tools. We don’t define the digital divide in terms of who has access to tools. Now, we are looking at which kids have the kinds of opportunities to network in school and how we are intervening in those process. The infrastructure is important, but you are asking the hard questions that culminate in the hard questions. It is not a question of whether we teach, but how we do it well.
    • The big digital divide is not looked at as equipment, but opportunities for students to participate in a participatory culture. What does this mean? The challenges, risks, ethical perspectives that need to be brought to all of this mean that we can not afford to have increasing numbers of young people to be media makers only through popular culture outside of schools. Thinking about this is an incredibly complex task.
    • What do classrooms look like? How do we intervene in policy?
  • Karen McComas – Marshall University WP
    • Starting with Renee’s first graders yesterday reminded me of what is important about what I do. I teach far more than content and I try to create an environment in which change can happen.
    • Yesterday, Jackie’s list of truisms reminded me of another set of truisms that I found a few years ago from a 1998 keynote from Neil Postman. Five things:
      • All technological change is a trade-off. As I bring in something new, I leave something out.
      • The advantages and disadvantages of technology are never distributed evenly across the population. However, if we wait until everyone has it, we will stand still for an eternity.
      • In every technology, there are two or three powerful ideas. My task, as a teacher, is to identify an utilize them.
      • Technology change is additive. All things change, not just the technology
      • Media tend to become mythic. We need to research it.
    • Katie Wood Ray tells us that writing workshop is not easy, and not everyone can do it. I feel the same about technology and teaching with technology.
    • I left my SI people with a prompt on Friday, and I wanted it to affront them. “Given the demands of the modern age, and the demands on our children’s future, is it really OK to as whether or not they can use technology in their teaching?”
  • Liz Davis – DC Area WP
    • I completed the institute in 1995 and was worried about technology in the classroom. In 1999, I attended a conference on the digital divide that focused on race, gender, and power. I learned a few things at this conference as I prepared to present at it.
    • As I read Damico’s article, I thought more about new literacies and the way that we are moving from an ideological model to a multilitercies model. For my students, seeing the differences from home to school were not always seen as assets, but as deficits.
    • Our classrooms and the ways in which we see students have been a hindrance in my ability to teach at the highest level of expectations. I teach the poorest students in Washington DC. Asking them to bring their lives into the classrooms has been something new for me.
    • Yet, from bringing their lives out of the margins of my lessons has made a difference in the way I teach. When we talk about multimodal meaning making, we have to think about all the risks in doing that. Whose language has the most power? Whose literacy is valued the most, defined as standard?
    • This brings into your classroom and teaching many questions that are difficult and you may not be ready to deal with.
    • Damico’s article brings many questions about the technology and the ways the students learn. Yesterday, as I listened to Renee’s students, I recall the conversation that happened at my table. We automatically began thinking about why students were worried about the story’s plot, and we began looking at issues of race, class, and power. At some point, the students may have derailed the lesson, but maybe questioning what we teach is a good thing as they critically analyze what they are learning in school.
    • Learning is about liberation (Friere). If students are able to take what they learn in the classroom, in the long run they should take what they have from their home, community, and streets, and then move it to a level of application that is real and applicable to them, then do we need to teach other R’s? Resistance? Revolution? Rising Up?
    • I am quite excited about the direction the local and national writing project that are going. We need to take control of how we design the language of what they learn, then corporations will make it happen for us.
  • Janet Swenson – Red Cedar WP
    • An Old, Slightly Sea-Sick Messenger Looks at a New Media, New Literacies World
    • Clifford Geertz — Tacking near, tacking far
      • We need to look very closely at the phenomenon, yet then move back and look at the larger social, economic, political systems in which they are embedded.
      • When the problems are very complex, we should do this often, hence the “sea sickness” of tacking in and out so quickly
    • Now that we have a shared understanding of the case studies, we need to look at the common and uncommon aspects of the work.
      • New tools: MP3 recorders
      • New sites: social networks
      • New compositions: Google Docs
    • I think that now we need to tack even further away from the shore and think about the larger implications of schooling.
    • Derek Bock, Our Underachieving Colleges
      • As a result of participating in college, are we giving them an opportunity to acquire a meaningful vision of life, develop their character, improve their minds, address important questions about who we are and what we should become, become more critical and reflective individuals, lead full lives and complete human beings?
    • How do we contextualize what we are seeing in this broad landscape?
    • Some things that technology offers is a rebottling (digital scrapbooking) but Potin of MIT is worried about whether our students are only skimming the surface and not doing the deep diving that transforms lives and communities?
    • Share a video: Hero in the Hallway
  • Will Banks – Tar River WP
    • Freewrite from a few nights ago about how what we have been thinking has challenged us. Courtney has asked us to be careful with our language.
    • Paul used the term “blog” and Cessi used “electronic exchange” and there are social networks. Is what we are exploring hte confulence of things?
    • Literacies are becoming relational in that things are hypertextual, and not always evident. They are much more complex and chaotic than even HTML of just a few years ago.
    • This emerging set of literacies has to do with engaging chaos.
    • Can these textual events be taught? What do we learn from them? Can the texts give answers to the questions we have?
    • These literacy events and our occasioning these events seem to emerge rather than exist? How do you teach this?

Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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