Conversation 1: Student Reflections on Inquiry, Choice, Participatory Learning, Information, and Digital Literacy

Last week, we held a large group share/think/brain dump/reflect session with our Media 21 students over a series of four days after students completed initial written self-assessment and summative reflections.  This video is the first of a series of conversations in which students share their summative reflections about their experiences in a collaboratively taught English course by Susan Lester, English teacher, and Buffy Hamilton, school librarian in 2011-2012.    I’d like to thank our students for their willingness and permission to share with a global audience as well as their participation in these conversations.   While these are lengthy conversations, I hope the thoughts and insights they share will be helpful to other teachers, librarians, students, administrators, and community members in thinking about the possibilities of learning and libraries and the potential of the collaborative partnerships we can forge.  I’ll be following up this series of video conversations with a written post highlighting the insights, reflections, and self-assessments shared by our students.

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Post Semester 1: Media 21 Students Reflect on Digital Composition and Participatory Learning

In November and December, I wrote two rather lengthy reflective posts about efforts to help students take a more explicit inquiry driven, participatory stance on literacy and learning as well as digital composition; these were preceded by an October post about the use of the Fishbowl approach to giving students more ownership of class conversation and for developing their own lines of questions/inquiries/points for exploration with peers.

This unit of study, which began with our book tasting in September 2011, was an extended inquiry into student selected issues that included child soldiers, treatment of women in the Middle East, immigration laws,  the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa, racial profiling, fear and prejudice in a post 9/11 world, and genocide.  At the end of the semester, Susan Lester and I asked our students to reflect on their learning experiences with a series of questions and class time to compose their responses.  Embedded below is a summary of student responses and some additional questions (that piggyback on those from the December blog post) for next semester.    Susan and I are meeting this week together to brainstorm and explore the implications of this feedback as well as new strategies for learning and how to tweak some existing learning strategies; we’ll also meet  with our students in class this week to discuss the feedback and to invite student opinion on their ideas for addressing some of the challenges as well as celebrate the progress and accomplishments of first semester.  I’m excited to see how we can work together as a community of learners to build on our successes and find ways together to address some of the student identified challenges of these approaches to learning.

I’m interested in any thoughts or patterns you may notice, or if you are doing similar work, any ideas or insights you might have to share that will help all of us expand our thinking and improve the learning experiences we’re trying to create with our students.

Tranformational Power of Design Literacy: Conectar Igualdad

Transforming schools and the learning that happens there is not simply about what happens in between the four walls of the school building.  It is also about what happens in the larger social ecology that kids navigate and the extent to which other nodes in their network support learning across multiple sites, both formally and informally.

http://dmlcentral.net/blog/s-craig-watkins/conectar-igualdad-argentina%E2%80%99s-bold-move-build-equitable-digital-future#

Conectar Igualdad: Argentina’s Bold Move to Build an Equitable Digital Future | DMLcentral via kwout

But beyond this basic literacy is the need to support a vision that defines digital literacy as a life skill that is connected to the everyday lives and situations of students and their families and communities.  Call it ‘design literacy,’ that is, the capacity to engage in higher-order thinking, critical thinking, and real-world problem solving.  Whereas ‘tools literacy’ is foundational, ‘design literacy’ is transformational.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to read one of the most interesting and exciting blog posts I’ve come across in 2011, “Conectar Igualdad: Argentina’s Bold Move to Build an Equitable Digital Future”, by S. Craig Watkins at DML Central.  Watkins explores the three major challenges all nations face in building a “more equitable digital future”—a must read for any educator.