Reflections on NWP and NCTE 2009

As the holidays begin, another conference season comes to a close.

For the past week, Sara and I have been in Philadelphia at the National Writing Project‘s “Digital Is…” pre-conference, the NWP Annual Meeting, and the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. As it is each year, we enjoy spending time with colleagues and find opportunities to learn about their work. Moreover, we pause to think about our own work including what we have accomplished in the past year and what we are looking forward to in the next.

To that end, I began writing this reflection in the lobby of the Sheraton in Philly, continued it at the airport and on the plane, and now post it as I spend Thanksgiving with my parents. Here is my day-by-day account of NWP/NCTE 2009.

Tuesday, 11/17/09

Arriving in Philly on Tuesday afternoon, we had some time to enjoy a quick walk and prepare for the “Digital Is…” reception. Sponsored through NWP’s work with the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, the entire “Digital Is…” conference was designed as an opportunity to convene teachers, teacher educators, and other stakeholders in conversations about what we know about teaching and learning with digital media. The opening reception was fun, followed by dinner with colleagues from Science Leadership Academy. A great way to begin our week, for sure.

Wednesday, 11/18/09

Digital Is…“convened in the Sheraton, with two slideshows from Danielle DeVoss. The first ran as a background show during breakfast, the second was her keynote. There is no way to capture the energy that she shared during this session, except to say that she really framed the day with her eight key themes about “digital is…” that I outlined in a previous post. So, even though the experience is not nearly the same, here are the slideshows:

For the afternoon, I was again fortunate to present with Dawn about our work with podcasting, as featured in Teaching the New Writing. By doing a protocol analysis discussion of the work, we were really able to dig deeply and think about what was there. One of the more stunning realizations that we had in the conversation was about the ways in which the composing process changes when writers begin with the goal of creating a spoken and, in some sense, permanent text. I think that the line from the notes that captures it best is that the process of recording the podcast “reinforces writing as a capacity that changes across genres and audiences and mediums.” It will be interesting to see where Dawn goes next with this work.

The second round of discussion was interesting, too, as we mixed up groups and have conversations across the elements of student work. Rather than try to capture all the complexities of that conversation in writing, I will share two items. The first is a list of “final words” that I asked participants in our session to state in relation to their thoughts about composing in digital environments at the end of this hour-long conversation. The second is a concept map that I tried to draw while we were talking. Neither alone captures all that happened in our session, but perhaps will give you some insights into what happened.

Concept Map from Digital Is
Concept Map from Digital Is
  • Hybridity
  • Genre
  • Messy
  • Openness
  • Elegance
  • Excitement
  • Immediacy
  • Future
  • Mistakes
  • Surrender
  • Reciprocity
  • Space
  • Dirty
  • Play
  • Organic

I had the opportunity to then help close the day, asking participants to create “invitations” that could be used to ask other stakeholders to join in the conversation about digital writing with youth. One of the most consistent themes from throughout the day was the fact that most of the digital writing opportunities that students have are taking place outside of school. This is a travesty. If we can create these types of engaging opportunities outside of school, then surely we can consider how to do better at creating these types of learning spaces inside of schools. This is something to chew on in the weeks and months to come as I figure out where to go next with my own work and the direction of our writing project.

That night, we were treated to a panel discussion of “What Kids Learn When They Create with Digital Media” with Renee Hobbs, Founder, Media Education Lab, Temple University; Nichole Pinkard, Founder, Digital Youth Network and DePaul University professor; and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Director, National Programs and Site Development, National Writing Project.

Thursday, 11/19/09

The NWP Annual Meeting kicked off with morning and afternoon workshops. In the morning, I attended one on developing site leadership and, in the afternoon, on integrating new literacies into the site’s work that featured Paige Cole, Joe Conroy, Shasta Looper, and Sara Beauchamp-Hicks. Along with Sara’s overview of how she integrated her own growth as a tech leader into her site’s work and securing mini-grants and creating professional development experiences, I was particularly interested in watching Paige and Joe talk about the work that they initially developed at Tech Matters 2007 and to see how they have grown work at their sites. Literally, I had goose bumps watching Paige’s video reflection. Taken with ideas from the morning about how to support and encourage site leaders, the two sessions reminded me of the power of the NWP network, and how small doses of encouragement from a mentor can turn into incredible work.

Friday, 11/20/09

More NWP today, with Billy Collins bringing down the house at the general session. Truly, truly wonderful. Also wonderful was the introduction of the Chippewa River Writing Project as one of the new sites in the NWP network! Later in the afternoon, I was able to attend a session on community partnerships, including a presentation from Joel Arquillos from the amazing 826 organization (which, if you haven’t heard about, watch Dave Eggers’ TED Talk and then visit the 826 website). Also, I got to hear about the Eastern Michigan Writing Project‘s Family Literacy workshops from their program director, Kim Pavlock. So many powerful ideas here from both Joel and Kim, but the biggest one being that we need to make learning to write purposeful for students and the process of doing so clear to their parents. What incredible programs to model from. To close the day, I got to hear from two of my mentors — Patti Stock and Peter Kittle — about the power of taking an inquiry stance towards teaching demonstrations in the summer institute. I am very much looking forward to returning to CRWP and talking over all this information with my leadership team, most of whom were there with me and will have ideas of their own to share, too.

Saturday, 11/21/09

An early morning brought both Sara and me to the NCTE booth, leading Tech-to-Go sessions for those beginning their day at NCTE. I talked about wikis, while Sara presented on Google Forms and then, later in the day, on iPod Touch applications. This led us to my presentation with Bud Hunt, “Reports from Cyberspace,” This was truly an amazing session, as we tried to incorporate a backchannel discussion through Twitter, delicious, and Chatterous. Also, in trying to use newer tools for presentations, I created a Prezi and Bud made a Voice Thread. The conversations that occured in the session, both face-to-face and online, were amazing, and we are thinking about repeating the session again next year. One recurring question was about access, and both Bud and I contended that it is reasonable to expect kids to do digital writing now, because there is access available in many more places and most of the tools are web-based. We also touched on issues of filtering, curriculum, assessment, and how to begin digital writing workshops.

http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf

Later that night, Sara and I were able to join the Heinemann reception and found out that my book sold out in the convention hall! Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy there, as well as to everyone else who then ordered one online. I amĀ  looking forward to where my next writing opportunity may take me…

Sunday, 11/22/09

We awoke Sunday morning for a wonderful session on erasing copyright confusion, and I was then able to interview Renee Hobbs for an aricle on fair use for CCCC-IP. We also were able to meet with the CEE Web Site Editors, and came up with a plan for developing some basic content for the site. Our afternoon found us on adventures in Philly with my friend Carl Young, and we enjoyed a visit to the National Constitution Center. In thinking about how and why we ask students to compose digital writing, our visit to this center was particularly appropriate, as we were greeted with remixed versions of “People” magazine covers, featuring such historical figures as Abraham Lincoln and Betsy Ross, as well as a highly-interactive multimedia experince in the museum.

Monday, 11/23/09

While we had planned to go to SLA, and appreciated the invite to be there, we ended up spending most of our day at at the Franklin Institute. Perhaps we will have to do EduCon instead. So, even though we missed SLA, we greatly enjoyed the Body Worlds exhibition, and felt that was a good use of our final hours in Philly.

Also, we realized that we missed the NCTE Centennial Preview, but John Golden provided the link for me, so you can enjoy it online!

As with all NWP/NCTE trips, this one game me so many good ideas and connections with colleagues. Next on my agenda are to begin planning next summer’s CRWP SI and, ideally, an advanced institute related to digital writing and copyright. Also, I am working on writing the article for the Cs Intellectual Property Caucus, CCCC-IP. Still thinking about so much, and hoping to get back to Philly with my entire family for more of the historical aspects of the town that we missed.

And, so goes another NWP Annual Meeting and NCTE Convention. Thanks for sticking with me through this whole pose.

Now, time to plan for the convention in Orlando, celebrating 100 years of NCTE.


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Notes from “Erasing Copyright Confusion” at NCTE 2009

Notes from “Erasing Copyright Confusion” at NCTE 2009

Joyce Valenza, Renee Hobbs, Kristin Hokanson, and Michael RobbGrieco

Center for Social Media

  • Renee Hobbs, Temple — What is the purpose of copyright?
    • Protect intellectual property
    • Ownership, profit
    • Authors’ right
  • In fact, the purpose of copyright is to promote creativity, innovation, and the spread of knowledge
    • Owners have pushed for longer length of copyright
  • How we Cope as Educators with Copyright
    • “See no evil” teachers — don’t examine copyright issues at all
    • “Close the door” teachers — know that there is something to copyright, yet keep it private
    • “Hyper-comply” teachers — they hold on to this idea more strongly for their students than themselves
  • When I use creative materials, which concepts apply?
    • Attribution — citing your sources (an academic community’s normative conventions that they agree upon to acknowledge other’s work)
    • Plagiarism — not acknowledging source material used in your work
    • Infringement — copying another’s work in violation of the law
    • Fair Use — the legal use of copyrighted works without permission or payment
    • Licensing — Asking permission and paying a fee
  • Copyright balances the rights of owners with the rights of users
    • Owners get to control how their work is controlled and distributed for a limited use of time
    • As users, however, we have some rights, too
    • All those things you knew about the “30 second rule,” the “10% rule,” the “45 day rule” are not the law
      • The charts that you see, they are not the law — they are negotiated agreements that have “the appearance of positive law”
      • The guidelines actually limit our understandings of fair use
      • You can use copyrighted material in a variety of ways — criticism, comment, news reporting, scholarship AND creative work
      • Peter Jazi — the benefits to society outweigh the private costs to the copyright holder, or else copyright law becomes a form of private censorship
  • Michael RobbGrieco, Temple — Responding to the Rise of Remix Culture: Challenges and opportunities for teaching, learning, and literacy
    • Are you a part of remix culture?
      • Build on others?
      • Quote passages?
      • Do you have a website?
    • Our students are fully immersed in a remix culture
      • Remix is how our students add their own personal experience to the wider culture and make their experience known to others
      • Can remix perpetuate cultural norms that are oppressive?
      • Critical remix for democracy, dialogue, and exchange
      • Single Ladies in Mayberry
    • Develop media literacy skills
      • Balancing producer and consumer identities
      • Can create shallow engagement without critical interpretation (this is where educators come in)
      • How do we realize the potential of fair use while also facing the challenges that are present?
      • How can we be critical with our students and invite interpretation and argument?
      • Michael’s video: Copyright, What’s Copyright?
  • Kristin Hokanson, Upper Merion High School
    • What does it mean to add value to other people’s work?
    • Use of Flickr images for a biology project
    • Use of Dave Matthews “Gravedigger” with Spoon River Anthology
    • Media Lab’s “Teach Them to Reason” tool
    • Ending Copyright Confusion Wiki
    • Attribution is an ethical practice, not a legal one; citing sources doesn’t let you off the hook
    • Fair use is a reasoning process that requires critical thinking; context and situation determine how fair use applies.
    • Am I creating something new (through transformative use), or am I redistributing (which is, in contrast, a violation of the law)?
  • Joyce Valenza, Springfield Township High School
  • This project is a user-rights movement
    • The Code of Best Practices for Fair Use is NCTE’s official policy on fair use
    • The guidelines that have been created since the implementation of the 1970s copyright law were brought about from negotiations by the media industry; the guidelines that were created are not set down as the law


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Notes from “Integrating New Literacies into Classroom Practice and the Resulting Impact on Site Leadership”

Notes from “Integrating New Literacies into Classroom Practice and the Resulting Impact on Site Leadership”

NWP 2009 Annual Meeting

This session invited four teacher consultants/tech liaisons to discuss their personal experiences with technology and the ways in which these
experiences led to changes in their site’s work. Knowing two of these teachers through my work with NWP’s 2007 Tech Matters Institute, and
one as my wife and tech liaison for our site, I found the stories shared here very powerful. Each one of them talked about a key
technology and professional development experience that launched them into new work, both in their classroom and at their site.

  • Shasta Looper, Upstate Writing Project
    • Used Voice Thread in her summer institute in 2008, then incorporated it into her classroom through the use of a persuasive writing assignment
  • Paige Cole, Red Clay Writing Project
    • Experience at Tech Matters in 2007 which led to creation of tech team, the “Army of Dorkness”
    • Advanced institutes came from Tech Matters mini-grant
    • Learned iMovie and other technologies in support of classroom and site work
  • Joe Conroy, NWP at Rutgers
    • Looking at the history of the writing project’s website over time; Joe’s history as webmaster
    • Use of Yahoo groups; began there many years ago and it has worked for us
    • But, the website didn’t filter into the site’s work — then attended Tech Matters in 2007
    • How can I use Web 2.0 in the classroom without having access to Web 2.0?
      • Podcasts were still accessible, use of NPR’s This I Believe and Audacity via Portable Apps
    • Shared work at site’s mid-winter writing conference through a technology strand and “Tech Thursday” workshop series
      • Topics for future Tech Thursdays
        • Bulletin boards for Socratic Seminars
        • Podcasting
        • Ignite
        • Voice Thread
        • Wikis
        • Blogging
    • The site has integrated technology into the core of “what we do.”
  • Sara Beauchamp-Hicks, Upper Peninsula Writing Project and Chippewa River Writing Project
    • 14-year veteran special education teacher, TL for UPWP
    • Story about involvement in summer institute by organizing pictures in 2005 SI
      • Growth is not linear; there are all sorts of influences that impact your growth in technology use over time (created concept
        map/timeline with VUE and shared in Skim)
    • Site development at local level and through participation in the national network
      • Summer institute to annual meeting to advanced institutes next summer
      • Also incorporated outside funding from state professional organization grants to fund tech team, many of them TCs, in one school
    • Key Themes
      • Accessibility — trying new technologies and being willing to change; the issues are difficult for all of us in our own classrooms
      • Continuity — meeting regularly and sharing ideas and questions about tech use
      • Site Development — developing technology work at your site is a messy process
        • We are in a time where there is more questions than there are answers
        • You have to have patience and flexibility when you are in the tech world and with site development


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