For our reading this week we were tasked with reading “Lankshear & Knobel (2007) Chapter 1: Sampling “the New” in New Literacies.” Our class uses a program called Hypothesis. This program is an “open” annotation- in other words you can annotate on essentially any webpage. You download the program to your browser and it can be opened and used at any time. So for those of you who said, “Oh I want to see how that works,” downloaded it via my link and are looking to play with it here you go! I highlighted the words “here you go” and left a secret message.
Now, moving onto the reading. I know for me, readings can be DRY
and I tend to dread them. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This reading was really interesting and the annotations were interesting.
The first chapter starts off discussing “literacies,” and makes reference to lots of different things that commonly are NOT referred to as such. Video games, fan fictions, blogging, picture books, note taking, machinimas, etc. At first I didn’t quite get the idea behind calling all of these “literacies,” however after reading their argument of what literacy really meant- I understood. So, the spark notes version of the article, they believe that literacy is more about the message beyond the words. Literacy is about the interpretation and connection of the reader. Essentially any piece of work is a literacy because someone is going to interpret it and make a connection. So for those of you who are being forced to socialize and would rather be playing video games, chalk it up to your mother, grandparents, significant other- whomever is bothering you to get off the games. You are actually taking part in literature and showcasing YOUR interpretation of this literacy.
Moving on from a teaching stand point, the article really hit home for me. Jacqui and I are starting thematic units next year. This is something that teachers used to do a lot more, or at least they did in New York, where I grew up. Florida is SO stuck in their standards that we have lost all creativity. We have a time line of standards that must be taught before the test, then those are broken down into quarters, then quarters are broken down into weeks and weeks into days! AHH! It gets to be so rationed that we don’t have time to just teach. So our kids in the long run are losing out. The article talks a lot about making connections and this is precisely the OPPOSITE of what is happening in the classroom. We go from one standard to another, not tying it to real life or allowing our kids to actually attempt and some times fail. So, hearing about these technologies and connections being made, and tying all of that into the fact that literacy can come from SO many more avenues than we traditionally accepted it a breath of fresh air. Similarly how I feel about this course. Blogging and twitter, yes are social media platforms, but look- I am talking about my master’s program and making so many more connections than what I would be making when sitting in a lecture hall, staring at a spot on the white board while a teacher drones away about how a smart board can be used for Jeopardy review. Phew- got a little carried away there.
One quote in particular that make a nice connection for my focus was the internet “is about ‘information’ is a bit like saying that ‘cooking’ is about oven temperatures, it’s technically accurate but fundamentally untrue” (Schrage 2001). Using technologies in gifted, or any education, is not meant to be one dimensional. Saying you are using technology because you are allowing your students to research on google, is technically true but not in the sense that we would like. We want our students to EXPAND their use of these every day tools that never leave our sight. Our phones and brains are capable of so much more than we want to let on. As educators we want to PUSH BEYOND those boundaries, both for ourselves and for our students.
As I close, there is so much more in this reading that I did not cover. I could ramble on for much longer but I will spare you. If you can get your paws on the article I suggest you give it a go. Lay in a hammock with a refreshing beverage or curl up in bed with your tablet it and try it on for size. You may find yourself expanding your technological bounds.
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Whoops, I almost forgot to mention. I read a blog post for my “interest-driven scholarship” titled “Why a course Hashtag?”
I chose this because I actually love the idea of introducing these social media sites to my students, most of which we won’t actually be able to use in elementary school, but introducing them as an educational tool not just a social platform. The hashtags are relevant here for research, communications, and a generally understanding of how these programs organize data.
Hashtags have become a really important part of social media, now of course we tend to make fun of them…
But in reality they link people together that may not have been able to meet. They are used in weddings, in fitness groups, for classes and so much more. I support #hashtags!