Public Support for Teaching Digital Skills

Here is an article that I got from the NCTE Inbox newsletter that you might be able to use as you plan for curriculum revisions. Although it relies on the globalization fear as its basis, the survey shows that 2/3 of voters want these skills taught now.

eSchool News online – Voters urge teaching of 21st-century skills

October 15, 2007—In yet another sign that momentum is building for the teaching of so-called “21st-century skills” in the nation’s classrooms, results of a new poll indicate that voters overwhelmingly agree: The skills students need to succeed in the workplace of today are notably different from what they needed 20 years ago.

Certainly, there is more than a “swing in the pendulum” from “back to basics” mode, as the survey’s author says. I would suggest that we are still seeing the need for “back to basics,” as represented in our continued focus on assessment in this country. However, I think that people are realizing that digital literacies are becoming more and more an essential part of these basics.

Just as we expect our students to know how and when to use a calculator to supplement their basic math skills, I think that we now can say, without a doubt, that a computer — and the word processor, internet access, and presentation tools that are a part of using a computer — are fundamental to our literacy processes, too.

Both my pre-service teachers and composition students have been reading and writing about multiliteracy types of issues in the past few weeks and they are starting to see the connections between being a writer and being a writer in a digital age. Statistics such as the ones reported in the survey are nice to have, as they can help me make the argument for why and how I am teaching, even if I would prefer to think about how we can use these tools to collaborate, not just compete.

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NWP Teachers Featured at K12 Online

Two sets of colleagues from the NWP will be featured this week in the K12 Online Conference.

Wednesday, Paul, Susan, Lee, and Chris are doing a session on “Building Online Communities for Youth.” You can catch the conversation that I moderated for their planning on the TTT website.

Tomorrow, Kevin and Bonnie will be presenting on their “Collaborative ABC Movie Project.”

So much to view and participate in; so little time this week. But, I hope to be on the TTT webcast this Wednesday and get caught up with the other happenings soon.

Also, when I get a chance, I will begin writing about RCWP’s new professional development initiative that we just kicked off, Project WRITE.

RCWP Wiki Featured in Wikispaces Blog

Have I mentioned before that I love Wikispaces? If not, you are hearing it now:

Wikispaces Blog » Blog Archive » Who Are You and What Are You Doing?

Who Are You and What Are You Doing? October 2nd, 2007 by sarah

In our recent mailing, we asked to hear from you – how you ended up using Wikispaces, and what motivated you to stick around and keep using it. And hear we did. In several future blog posts, we will be highlighting some of the responses we received, showing you the diverse ways that you are using Wikispaces.

Troy Hicks, a professor at Central Michigan University, is using wikis to plan and teach his courses. He has been involved with wikis for over a year. Before joining CMU’s faculty, he and other teachers at the Red Cedar Writing Project at Michigan State University began their own project, a wiki “by writing teachers, for writing teachers.” A year later, their space is going strong. They have used it as a place to post workshop outlines, share notes from conferences, link to blogs they are following, and start book lists. It has become one of the primary spaces in which these teachers collaborate to plan workshops and events for the Red Cedar Writing Project.

Of his experience with Wikispaces, Troy says, “Wikispaces is a part of my everyday life as a teacher and teacher educator, and I thank you for the outstanding service that you have created.”

Check it out as a resource for writing or for getting ideas on how to expand your own collaboration.

Thanks to the entire Wikispaces Team for their support of free wikis for K-12 teachers and students.

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