My Media Literacy Trip: Part 2

Revisiting Rhode Island…

After my short Friday stay in Boston I was able to catch a ride with Chelsea to Providence, Rhode Island where I planned on taking a short train ride down to Kingston, but due to the lovely snow, the train was delayed two hours, making my wait time longer than the trip itself! When I finally made it down to the southern part of the state I was warmly greeted by Jonathan and Elizaveta Friesem, who I lived with while working for the Harrington School of Communication and Media and the Media Education Lab from 2012-2013. We reminisced on cherished times together and excitedly spoke about upcoming events this summer, including the NAMLE 2015 Conference and the Digital Literacy Summer Institute. Although I was not able to meet with Renee Hobbs this time since she was busy traveling, I do hope to see her this upcoming summer.

On Monday Jonathan took me to Narragansett Elementary School to see the progress Susan Sabella has made with her colleagues on promoting media and digital literacy in the classroom. A group of teachers has been attending the Digital Literacy Summer Institute and I was happy to see this summer’s event on their school wide calendar in the office. While at the school I IMG_2612met with the principal, Gail Dandurand and sat in on a meeting with the art teacher Krysten Bryce, who was brainstorming ways to use Twitter to further her practice and inform parents of classroom happenings. The day’s visit ended with a bang when I got to tour the library that Brien Jennings, the library media specialist transformed into an open, collaborative youth space that includes a recording room with a green screen. Student-driven learning was most definitely in-action and Brien easily moved from group to group offering assistance where needed. As we left the school we laughed as we saw the sign out front declaring Narragansett has had enough of this winter!

IMG_2676To combat the weary weather I decided to spice things up and try anti-gravity yoga with my friend Heather. Contrary to what one may first think when yoga comes to mind, this was no tranquil practice! I felt like I was training to become an aerialist as I flipped in and out of a swinging white sheet.

*The next part of this blog post (coming tomorrow) will cover my crazy time in NYC!

My Media Literacy Trip: Part 1

I recently embarked on a tour of four states to meet up with incredible media literacy professionals and experience first hand the great work they’re doing.

Since I finished my master’s program in December, I decided to take the trip to network and explore potential career opportunities. And I have to admit, I also have a travel addiction. I’ll use any excuse to explore new places and see old friends.

Boston Bound…

IMG_2591My first stop was Boston (since I was able to get a direct flight for only $59 – thanks JetBlue)! Upon arriving I was glad that I decided to wear my long down coat since the weather was quite frigid. More alarming than the temperature however, was the amount of snow! Although Boston has been competing with Buffalo on news coverage this winter, I often disregard such reports knowing they rarely measure up to the brute of Lake-effect flurries, but Boston really is buried! Despite the snow and cold, I was able to meet up with my dear college friends Lauren and Chelsea.

Although it was brief, I was able to get Paul Mihailidis to give me a tour of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College. The space is really neat and houses a computer lab, game room, meeting room, office area and a little lobby (where I was greeted by a friendly dog). Paul explained how they are continuing to grow and hope to expand their presence in the building with classrooms on the floor below. Beyond physical space, the Engagement Lab is also making gains online, most recently with the launch of the Civic Media Project, an innovative publication site.

*The next part of this blog post (coming tomorrow) will cover my visit to little Rhode Island, the state I called home from 2012-2013.

My Visit to Costa Rica

Love at First Sail

Post by Kelsey…

I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the Konesco crew for a second time this summer. I had such a blast with them in the Bahamas and I did not want to miss out on the chance to go to Costa Rica!

When I first arrived I was stunned by the lush green scenery and the beauty of the family’s new home. The first night we had a lovely dinner of rice, chicken and black beans out on the front porch.



The next morning, we all piled into the good old Subaru and headed to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, where we were going to spend the next few nights.

We were so happy upon our arrival, because the three-hour ride was quite stifling with no air conditioner. To cool off, we went to a nearby waterfall then brushed ourselves with volcanic mud. After rinsing…

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Practicing New Literacies through Website Creation


For a high school summer program I taught, I wanted my students’ work to extend beyond the classroom walls and have potential to reach a meaningful audience. I wanted them to engage in a project that they believed held purpose.

*Aligned with the Connected Learning approach


By allowing my students to create websites on topics of their choice, they became invested in learning and practicing new literacies skills I wanted to address.
*Guided by the Online Reading Comprehension Assessments (ORCA) skills: locate, evaluate, synthesize, communicate


Throughout the course students:

  • Explored the purpose of websites
  • Designed and created sites using Wix or WordPress
  • Learned how to effectively search for information online
  • Grappled with how to apply fair use
  • Practiced determining the credibility of sources
  • Synthesized information from different websites
  • Shared their sites at a final event (some continued to use their sites for work or school)

Student Website Examples:


  • Teaching and ensuring the protection of private information
  • Explaining and enforcing fair use
  • Technological setbacks (internet fails, forgetting to save work, passwords, etc.)
  • Attending to individual students working on different projects and requiring different needs

Further Questions:

1) Do you have ideas about ways you could incorporate website creation into your curriculum?

2) What hesitations do you have about giving a website creation project?

3) Are there components of the project I shared that you could incorporate into your instruction?


The Aspen Task Force’s Key Principles for Learning and the Internet

Alternatives Website Creation Sites:

  • Edublogs – only supports educational content so it usually isn’t blocked by school filters, there is an option to keep blogs private, ads are allowed on free version of site
  • Kidblog – doesn’t advertise to kids, doesn’t ask for their emails and gives teachers full moderation power, but design features are limited
  • Weebly – has an education version that allows teachers to manage student accounts

The Media Education Lab offers many resources for teaching copyright and fair use to students. I used their “What’s Copyright?” and “User’s Rights” music videos in my class.

Project Look Sharp provides media literacy curriculum kits that include lessons that critically evaluate websites pertaining to specific content areas

Our Class Website Project Rubric:
Portfolio materials:
_ [2] Goals for 2013
_ [2] Topics of Interest
_ [2] Research Agenda
_ [2] Website Template (blank paper folded in four)
_ [2] Website Purpose
_ [2] Website Schedule
_ [4] Research Process
_ [2] Research Summary
_ [2] Reflection
Portfolio total: out of 20
Your website must have:
_ [4] At least four pages
_ [4] A title on each page
_ [2] A working navigation
_ [5] Text informed by research on one page
_ [5] One piece of media created by you (photo, movie, song, etc.)
_ [4] Attributions (cite where you got photos and information from)
_ [2] A clear purpose
_ [4] Consistency with your portfolio planning materials
Website total: _ out of 30
Project total: _ out of 50

Individual Worksheets Used in Class:
Website Purpose
1. What is the specific purpose of your website?
2. How is the purpose of your website unique and different from other websites that already exist?
3. How do photos or videos support the purpose of your website?
4. Give one example of how you can add value/repurpose a photo on your website you found online
Website Schedule
In order to complete your website by the end of this course you need to set deadlines for yourself. Use this worksheet to plan what you plan to accomplish by the end of each class day. Make your goals realistic and stick to your plan!

  • I have already finished…

Wednesday, July 24 (35 minutes of in class time)

  • By the end of class I will be done with…
  • On my free time I am going to work on…

Friday, July 26 (40 minutes of in class time)

  • By the end of class I will be done with…
  • On my free time I am going to work on…

Monday, July 26 (One hour of in class time)

  • By the end of class I will be done with…
  • On my free time I am going to work on…

Wednesday, July 28 – Present website to the class

  • I am nervous about completing…

Research Process
1. How will research be important to your website?
2. What information are you looking for? What is your main research question?
3. What search engine are you going to use?
4. What search words will you use?
Research Summary
What is your research question?

  • Source 1
    • Search words used:
    • What is the URL of the website?
    • Copy and paste information from the site that is useful for you:
    • Now summarize the above text in your own words below:
  • Source 2
    • Search words used:
    • What is the URL of the website?
    • Copy and paste information from the site that is useful for you:
    • Now summarize the above text in your own words below:


  • Combine your two summaries above to create a paragraph for your website. Once this is written all you will need to do is copy and paste it on your site.
  • Make sure to cite your sources when posting on your website!

Building Robust Video Discussions with Vialogues

Are you looking for ways to move beyond paper-based homework assignments?

Do you want a new way to draw upon videos for educational purposes?

Vialogues is an online platform that allows users to engage in time-stamped discussions that revolve around a posted video.

*This tool may be best suited for educators working with adolescent and adult students since a login is required by all participants.

How can you access Vialogues?

  1. Go to: – Look around, explore the site, see what it has to offer! In order to participate you need to have an account and be signed in.
  2. Create an EdLab account – Provide your name, username, email and password then agree to the terms of service. Specific instructions on how to create an account can be found here:
  3. Once your account has been verified, log in to using the email and password you provided.

What can Vialogues be used for?


Create –

Invite –

Interact –

Embed –


  • NAMLE Key Questions for analyzing media messages
  • Be aware of email notifications associated with account!

Manatees and Media Literacy

Last week I attended the URI Summer Institute in Digital Literacy. The experience overall was incredible. With this post I am going to focus on just one activity we did. I hope to write a few posts about the institute following this. On Thursday, the event organizers spread a diverse array of photographs around on several tables and invited participants to find a picture that captured their approach to digital literacy leadership. As part of the activity everyone was encouraged to share their selected work with one another.

After glancing at the options on the first table I approached, I quickly found and claimed my photograph. The photo that I immediately gravitated towards and chose was of a manatee and two divers. I selected this picture mainly because the manatee. When I was in elementary school I became obsessed with this animal. I constantly read books and drew pictures about this fascinating creature. I found out that manatees were endangered and for the first time, I turned my passion into a driven purpose… I not only wanted to learn about manatees, but I also wanted to help them. I adopted a manatee by saving up my allowance and donating it to the Save a Manatee Foundation. For the school science fair I made a poster informing people about the fragile species and advocated for others to get involved. Tying this to the activity prompt, like the manatee, I have found that media literacy is a topic that I am not only passionate about, but something that I have decided to act upon. Going beyond this initial comparison I had, I started examining the photograph more thoroughly and made more connections to my beliefs and leadership approaches. Metaphorically speaking, the manatee reminds me of education. It is large and daunting to many people but it in itself is well intentioned. It is being hurt by those who are not going deep enough to recognize its full existence. The manatee is endangered by individuals who zoom by on the surface and scar it with their motor boats as they rush by with their focus on something ahead. I identify with one of the divers in the photograph because the diver aims to get close to the manatee and look at it from another perspective. Rather than skimming over top of it in a boat, the diver dares to go deep and look at it from below. The diver is also willing to interact with the manatee and learn it’s ways in a gentle nature to figure out how to help it. I honestly do not know exactly what the one diver is holding, I’ve been debating between a camera or a scrub brush, but regardless, I think the tool the diver is holding resembles my skill set revolving around digital literacies that I bring forth to education. Lastly, I think the second diver in the photo is worth noting because I think it is important to recognize that this work cannot be done alone. With my continued efforts to lead digital/media literacy integration in education I acknowledge the importance of collaboration, care and curiosity. All of which I believe are portrayed in the photo I selected.

Little Visit, Big Takeaways

Read about my recent trip living on a sailboat with my cousins in the Bahamas.

Love at First Sail

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Konesco crew aboard the Adagio. For one week, I lived on the boat and experienced what life at sea is all about. Prior to my visit, I helped build this blog and like many of you, I have been following their adventures through the great posts Jen has been publishing.

Last sNewportummer I met up with my cousin Marc in Newport, Rhode Island while he was taking a sailing course. Over a delicious lobster dinner we discussed his plans and first conceptualized how I could help with the website. It has been incredible to see how everything has developed within the past year. We worked really well together creating the site and have stayed in touch about it’s upkeep. Marc and Jen graciously invited me to visit and I made sure to follow up on their offer! Within a week I had…

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