Monthly Archives: June 2014

Digital Literacy

21st century kid

 

As years go by, buzz words and terms come and go.  Currently – I feel inundated with 21st century learner, 21st century skills, and digital age. While attending iSummit earlier this month, I participated in a session about Digital Literacy led by Angela Maiers (see more love for her here). At the crux of her presentation is that literacy (of all types) is a HUMAN RIGHT. Devastatingly – a human right that is still not afforded to all.  To be literate means you have lifetime membership to the “reading club”.  You have access to resources, ideas, and even joys that nonmembers do not. There is confidence and POWER in literacy.  With our membership, comes responsibility – to members and nonmembers alike.

With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, et al our world feels in some ways more intimate.  We share everything, at times too much, and we get responses instantly. We get feedback – instantly. We become validated – instantly. We are insulted – instantly.  We are heartbroken – instantly. We realize the pros and cons of having an audience to our writing – instantly.

Friends of mine poke fun at me for correcting myself in the comments section of a Facebook post for a grammar error.  They wonder why I type out every single word in a text – refusing (for the most part) to use the lingo.  I do not speak BRB, TTYL, LOL, SMH, TY, IKR, ICYMI, YW… At times, I have to ask what an abbreviation means.

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Why am I this way?  Am I an officer of grammar law? Not really.  Am I snobby?  I try not to be. Am I just a little crazy? Most definitely.  Mainly, though, I feel a writer’s responsibility when putting  my words into the world through media. People are reading what you say – even strangers.  Haven’t you seen the fun Buzzfeed has with texts, comments, and posts?

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Part of being literate in the 21st century means you are able to learn, process, share/teach others, and – if necessary – relearn and unlearn.  When you blog, you’re speaking to more people than you imagine.  Blogs are not just online diaries to unload your thoughts.  After you unload your thoughts – someone reads them.  That someone may have a comment for you.  Then, it becomes your turn in the conversation again. Our members of the “club” need to understand this.

Since blogging, tweeting, and commenting are becoming the new form of written expression, we as teachers have a responsibility to create opportunities for students to practice these skills OFFLINE first.  Essentially, they are prewriting. Pretty sure they fits in a standard somewhere!

Resources for building skills offline:

http://purposedriventeaching.net/2013/09/29/connecting-your-students-with-authors-with-twitter/

http://www.teacherstechworkshop.com/2013/08/6-amazing-facebook-templates-to-use.html

http://conversationsinliteracy.blogspot.com/2014/02/twitter-tweets-graffiti.html

http://langwitches.org/blog/2010/04/11/skype-jobs-for-students/

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2014/03/pinterest-inspired-project-and-hallway-display

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/526147168938992093/

Happy Blogging-Tweeting-Chatting-Hashtagging-Commenting-Pinning!

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Filed under iSummit 2014, Literacy, Technology, Uncategorized

How I Blog – Snippet

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Often, I am asked about my process for writing this blog.  Being at a 1:1 iPad school, slightly savvy about technology, and a blogger – I think it is often assumed that I long ago ditched paper and pencil. In fact, the opposite is true.  I cling to pencil/paper, as well as print resources.  But my love affair with the printed word is another post entirely!

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When I want to blog – I have no set way of going about it.  In fact, what I do as a writer is different each time.  A couple days ago, I blogged about part of my experience at the iSummit Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  Leaving that conference, I had several blog ideas in mind.  Sitting down in front of the computer and just typing was out of the question.  Too many thoughts, feelings, and ideas were swimming around.  They needed to be sorted out.  Notes needed to be read over.  Planning was necessary.

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Screenshots of my notes from iSummit 2014

While at the conference, I took notes on my iPad – but also stuck sticky notes in a variety of places.  When I sat down days later to look over everything, I organized my thoughts into different posts using good ole’ prewriting webs.

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For me, this prewriting was crucial to the blogging process.  I want each post to be concise and fluid.  My readers should be able to easily follow my thoughts, rather than get jumbled up with them.

Other times, I am able to sit down at the computer and just type – straight in to the “new post” box.  Quick and dirty, the post is done.  Sometimes finding the right images for my message takes longer than getting the actual thoughts out.

And still other times, I type my post into Word first.  I edit, revise, and painstakingly mull over my words to make sure they echo their sounds in my head.  I get a friend to read over it, spell check it repeatedly, even print it out and read aloud. I may obsess over a post for days before I ever hit the publish button.

As you can see – I do not have one way of blogging.  My process is simply that, a process.  My process has different avenues that all lead to the same product.  We, as teachers, know there is often more than one way to get the right answer.

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Mission ImPossible

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Five days after school let out, I found myself in tears in an auditorium at Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia.  I felt as if someone had ripped my educator’s heart out and displayed it for all to see.  Such was the power of Angela Maiers‘ keynote at the iSummit Conference this year.

I attended the conference at the suggestion of my colleague.  Not knowing much about it, I was along for the ride.  Excited to experience something new, learn more about 1:1 iPad implementation in the classroom.  I expected to learn, but did not expect to be taking deep breaths as to not embarrass myself within the first 30 minutes of the conference.

Admittedly, I did not know who Angela Maiers was before the conference.   Her books, Habitudes and The Passion Driven Classroom, sounded vaguely familiar – though I have not read them.  The night before, I found out the theme of her keynote would revolve around Be Brave (my classroom’s motto for this year).  That is when the excitement began.  That is when anticipation built.  That is when I knew I could walk away from this conference with a fire lit inside me – even after the last day of school when the fire is petering out.

Angela is not only a gifted speaker, she is personable and down to earth.  She is warm and welcoming.  At her follow up session – she hugged me upon introduction.  She looked me in the eye.  She saw me.  All of these things are key points in her work.  Your students should be seen.  They should be heard.  They should know they matter.  She practices what she preaches.

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Walking away from Maiers’ keynote, I reflected on my own classroom this year and how powerful BE BRAVE was for us. I felt disappointed about not knowing of #youmatter and #choose2matter during this year.  My students really would have jumped on board with that. I have not “filed” it away for next year.  I am keeping it front and center in my mind – so I can work within myself over the summer.  So I can practice what I preach. So I can lead by example.  As Angela said: “We are not teaching the leaders of tomorrow – or leaders in training – we are teaching leaders now.” Our children do not believe in the word IMPOSSIBLE.  To them, everything is possible.  One just needs to try.  One just needs to be brave.

What does it mean to be brave? According to my haphazard, excitedly typed because I didn’t want to miss a thing, but didn’t want to forget either, notes:

1. Love yourself YOU MATTER What is your genius?

2. Be true to who you are – What is your superpower? Be someone else’s superhero.  What breaks your hear about the word? Act on that!

3. Be that – who you are – EVERYDAY.  DREAM AUDACIOUSLY!

4. Never, ever, ever give up – EVER!  Surround yourself with people who will not let you fail – who will not let you be comfortable.  Invite fear.  The riskiest thing you can do is stay safe. To sustain bravery, you cannot do it alone.

As I leave you with Angela’s TedTalk from 2011, I ask you – How Big is Your Brave?

 

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