Thursday, September 15, 2016

Journal Entry 1

"The distinctive contribution of the approach to literacy as social practice lies in the ways in which it involves careful and sensitive attention to what people do with texts, how they make sense of them and use them to further their own purposes in their own learning lives" (Gillen and Barton, 2010, p. 9)

The most important part of any literacy program is how the students internalize and use what they are learning.  Technology, social media, and the internet are a huge part of my students' lives.  At times, it can be a huge distraction.  I'm excited to learn ways to make it more productive for them, especially as it relates to literacy.  

As Wilber (2010) points out, new literacies are more interactive than traditional literacies.  If you write a paper and turn it in, you read it and the teacher reads it.  That's usually it.  If you write something on a blog, your classmates can read it.  Your family can read it.  Strangers can read it.  Anyone can have an opinion on what you write.  This could be both beneficial and detrimental.  I think my students might put more thought and effort into their writing if they knew that it would be read by a wider audience.  They might also learn the value and importance of the written word.  On the other hand, I think it would be hard for some of them to have their writing and ideas criticized, especially by someone they don't know.  

I have not used blogging in my teaching practices.  I think about it often but worry about what my students would post and how I would "police" that.  I have used it extensively in my personal life and have found it very helpful in connecting with others who are walking through a similar life journey.  Both Wilber (2010) and Huffaker (2005) pointed out that blogging can connect our students to peer-groups in the virtual world.  This could be especially helpful for some of my students who are not really connected with the other students in our very small classroom.  

I think one of the biggest things that we have to be careful of is intentionality.  Introducing new technologies is not the same as using new literacies.  Teachers must be very careful to use the new technologies in collaboration with data-driven pedagogies to promote literacy among students and not just increase technology time.  As Gillen and Barton point out, schooling and training in technology are often steps behind the emerging technology because creating programs and curricula takes time.  I think this is yet another reason to choose technologies and programs carefully.  If schools are going to invest in technology, it needs to be something that will be useful and relevant for a significant amount of time.  

I am looking forward to learning new ways to incorporate new media and new literacies into my classroom to help my students better connect with and understand texts.  

This post was written in response to the following articles:  

Gillen, J & Barton, D.  Digital literacies: A research briefing by the technology enhanced learning phase of the teaching and learning research programme.  1-30.  

Huffaker, D.  (2005).  The education blogger:  Using weblogs to promote literacy in the classroom.  AACE Journal, 13(2), 91-98.

Wilber, D.J. (2010).  Special themed issue:  Beyond 'new' literacies.  Digital Culture & Education, 2:1, 1-6.  

1 comment:

  1. In the past few years I have struggled with the feeling that we are all so absorbed in our iPhones and our tablets that we often are oblivious to what is happening right in front of us. I cringe when I see a group of people in a social situation such as a restaurant, and every single one of them will glance or stare at their screen for a portion of the evening. However, I believe that the rise in the use of technology is inevitable, and it can be used to learn and to connect to our peers in a meaningful way. If this is introduced into the classroom, this could be a great way for students to communicate and collaborate with their classmates.

    Policing the online posts of your students could be quite the challenge. This is not my area of expertise, but perhaps there exists a type of social media page that you could create and invite your students to join, but still control the content and have the authority to remove inappropriate posts. I think the problem with social media posts is that there are no immediate consequences of the students' actions, and creating posts through the safety of a computer screen can embolden some people.

    Overall, I think the use of technology in the classroom would be incredibly useful as long as the teachers maintain a balance between digital and old fashioned methods of teaching and learning