I had the opportunity this morning to “speak” to a great group of students in the Two Summers Program at UConn. I previously taught in the program and like to maintain connections with the faculty and students in the program. For this talk I video conferenced in using a Google Hangout on Air, and used Google Presenter to share my materials. I set the sharing permissions in Google Presenter to allow viewers to comment on the materials, with the link. The hope was that we could use the chat feature in Google Presenter for questions. This worked for the most part. I think the problem was my iMac…I need more RAM.. 🙁 The presenter materials are available below.
In the session I wanted to tie together a few loose ends. First, I wanted to share the Online Research & Media Skills (ORMS) model that I’ve been working on with Greg McVerry for a couple of years. Second, I wanted to share the ORMS MOOC that I’ve been polishing over the last couple of months. Finally, I wanted to share the open badging initiative that I’ve detailed in this blog. The video for this Hangout on Air is available below.
There were an awesome set of questions from the group that helped to extend my own thinking about the use of digital texts and tools in the classroom. One question that I received centered on possibilities for embedding this work in elementary schools..and with younger audiences. I’ve thought about these possibilities for awhile, I think I need to identify some clear, concise ways to bring this into an early literacy environment.
Another question asked for guidance on how to provide support for students in classrooms where access is an issue, or the culture is not supportive of these new and digital literacies. For the most part, I don’t have an acceptable answer. My suggestion in the discussion was to blog, maintain an online presence, and “discuss” the opportunities and challenges present while trying to embed the Internet in instruction. The students correctly indicated that this might be grounds for termination in some districts. I agree with this sentiment, but I tend to think that use of these digital texts and tools is a social imperative. We’re in the business of empowering youngsters and preparing them for their future. Sadly, for some schools, business is not good. Until we start to value and support this work in our classrooms, I believe teachers should blog about their challenges. There are organizations like Donors Choose where teachers can locate “kickstarter” type funding for their classroom. In terms of the culture of the building, or the district…I maintain that teachers should identify whether or not their Acceptable Use Policy is acceptable or not. If not…please work to change it.
One of the other common threads in the discussion asked for guidance as to apps, tutorials, and other resources that can be used to develop this work. I indicated that the ORMS MOOC is always available for future guidance as to how to authentically and effectively embed these literacies in their classroom. I also indicated the need for expertise in screencaptures and screencasts. Finally, I (tried to) share the TechTutorials section of our Digital Texts and Tools website. This website is a collaboratively constructed website that we’ve been developing to provide guidance for K-12 and higher ed educators interested in open educational resources and technology in instruction.
Image CC by jrcougarnews