Reading Reflection 2

This reading reflection is divided by the specific articles I read.

Potts, A., Schlichting, K., Pridgen, A, & Hatch, J. (2010). Understanding new literacies for new times: Pedagogy in action. The International Journal of Learning, 17(8), 187-194.

The article about the two teachers integrating new literacies in their classrooms was a nice easy read that provided clear, concise examples of the benefits of such integration. Following last week’s reading about the teacher’s example of digital storytelling it is evident to me that examples really get through to people how powerful technology, new media, and innovative pedagogies can be, but how do we convince a large number of teachers at the national level to implement new literacies? I appreciate that this article started off by stating some of the challenges faced in implementation such as the current emphasis on standardized testing (p. 187). Hopefully the Common Core will help solve some of this by incorporating digital skills and more process focused learning, but there is still the question: how will teachers be prepared for this change that should happen?

Out of the two teacher examples, I liked the digital storytelling in second grade more because the teacher seemed to incorporate principles of media literacy more than the other. I became interested in all of this through media literacy which is still my preferred term of interest because it encompasses ‘old media’ as well and is more focused on the technique over the final product or technical tools. The sentence that really stood out to me as media literacy practice was, “We discussed the story, the author’s purpose for writing and why this book’s message should matter to us” (p. 189). In just that statement alone she identified that she addressed message, purpose and audience. It was great that beyond that she then had the student create a class book. “They felt a sense of ownership and were committed to their role in the creation of the story,” she writes (p. 190). This statement, like the other teacher’s findings show how the creation side of new literacies (media literacy) really emphasizes engagement, which is so crucial for productive learning to occur. The second teacher added a lot to the article in her last paragraph when she wrote about the steps she took to incorporating the new literacies. She first demonstrated a reading response, then demonstrated metacognition of the reading process, then had the students write on paper, then performed one on one meetings, then, finally introduced them to the blog. Such a process is one to think about deeply when considering how to help other teachers incorporate new literacies. It’s a balance between modeling, ‘traditional’ student work (offline), and technology incorporation.

Greenhow, C., Robelia B., & Hughes, J. E. (2009). Learning, teaching, and scholarship in a digital age: web 2.0 and classroom research: what path should we take now? Educational Researcher, 38, 246-259

The Web 2.0 and classroom research article covered a lot! I was somewhat overwhelmed by just how much material it squeezed in! Starting from the beginning, I was amazed that, “since the mid-1990s, the percentage of public schools connected to the Internet exploded from 35% to 100%” and that “more than two thirds of people in the United States have Internet connections at home” and “ninety percent of school-aged youth use the Internet” (p. 246-247). Those statistics alone cry out the need to pay more attention to this topic! I think one of the many reasons why it has been a struggle to implement change regarding this area in schools is because with Web 2.0 and new literacies in general actually, it’s an interdisciplinary topic. I love the statement in the article, “Overall, learning can manifest itself across settings, and informal or formal crossing of boundaries might enhance learning” (p. 248). While such boundary crossing is exciting to me, I think it is daunting to many and I also think it is difficult for people to address how to begin to make changes that aren’t in just one subject, or age, or even space. I like the specific projects they mentioned that are taking students informal learning and Web 2.0 use into account to see how such practices could influence future reforms in formal education. I have done most of my teaching work in informal learning spaces and I love the flexibility and openness that such places have! Creativity is so much more abundant! Moving forward in my research, I am interested in teachers and educational pedagogies. So one piece I was able to pick out of all of the content of the article was pertaining to the question: how do we prepare teachers to integrate the internet in the classroom? As this article and the other readings have emphasized a big part of new literacies is the collaborative component. Teachers need to learn how to learn from their students. How do teachers find that perfect balance between learning some things from their students while teaching them others? How do education programs prepare pre-service teachers for this?

Lemke, J. (1998). Multimedia literacy demands of the scientific curriculum. Linguistics and Education, 10(3), 247-271.

The Lempke article looked at multiliteracies through a perspective I am not very familiar with. It was intriguing and fresh to take a step back and think about the larger implications of ‘literacy.’ I like how right from the beginning he states, “Efforts to define literacy today inevitably find that there are no principle distinctions between the use of one sort of symbol system and another” emphasizing that literacy spans subjects, languages and other categories that traditionally exclude the term (p. 248).  It is somewhat ironic in a sense that just as it is interdisciplinary, literacy itself is multifaceted. “Literacy in the real world, as in the advanced curriculum, is always multiple and integrated,” Lempke writes (p. 269).  Understanding this and the implications it has for students’ lives beyond school is critical.

As I mentioned previously in my reflection, this piece yet again uses a specific example to make an eloquent point regarding literacy integration in the classroom. I was so astonished to read just how much a student takes in at a time and how much deconstructing, retention and information creation occurs in short periods. It really got me thinking about pace, which is something I hadn’t thought deeply about before. I have developed curriculum for organizations and plan to continue doing such work and I hope this way of thinking about pace helps me better plan time needed for activities in lessons. Lastly, continuing on the note of the importance of the example, I completely agree with Lempke that it is important for educators and researchers to not forget the student’s perspective. Such a simple, but important point made me wonder, what other studies could be replicated with the student perspective in mind? Since I am also a student right now, could I practice student-perspective research with myself as the subject?

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