This post is the second in two-part series of posts on some ideas I have been exploring over the past year in a half through in my Graduate Program. If you missed part 1, you can find it here. These ideas originate from a project I completed, Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS.
So often I hear people talking about educational technology without thinking about the why. This series of posts focuses on why I believe we should be moving to teaching not just literacy, but multimedia literacy in schools.
Honouring and engaging in multimedia literacy in classrooms helps to create more student-centered environments. When educators see the value of multimedia literacy they can better communicate with and help their students recognize their own strengths and challenges with regards to different modes of literacy. According to The New London Group (1996), when learners juxtapose different languages, discourses, styles, and approaches, they gain substantively in metacognitive and metalinguistic abilities and in their ability to reflect critically on complex systems and their interactions (p. 69). Students that are aware of their strengths and challenges are better able to make decisions when it comes to communicating their understandings in class. At the same time, educators should also push students out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves and their understandings.
Digital tools and resources have become ubiquitous in today’s modern world. When we discuss multimedia literacy, the impact of digital technology and digital literacy cannot be underestimated. The New London Group (1996) argues, the literacy pedagogy now must account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technology (p.61).
Multimedia literacy and digital literacy share interrelated skills that students should know how to apply to both digital and nondigital media. The affordances of technology have shifted the way people work in their school lives, work lives and personal lives. It is our job, as educators, to prepare our students to participate fully in the world they live in. There is no question that for them, that is a digital world. Jenkins (2013), argues that it would be tragic if we allowed new media literacy practices to take over the place of traditional print literacy practices and that not engaging with new media out of fear of change, would be equally tragic.
Mike Ribble is a well respected expert in the field of education, with regards to digital citizenship. Ribble (2013), proposes a model to move forward in teaching digital citizenship in schools. His framework for digital citizenship includes 9 elements: digital etiquette, digital access, digital law, digital communication, digital literacy, digital commerce, digital rights and responsibility, digital security and digital health and wellness. These elements fall into 3 categories: respect yourself/respect others, educate yourself/educate others and protect yourself/protect others. Ribble cites, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) as providing guidance by updating the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for educational leaders, teachers, and students. The NETS integrate educational technology standards across all educational curricula and are recognized in the United States, and various countries worldwide.
This digital world we live in requires us to educate our students on the moral and ethical issues surrounding the use of digital technologies. Incorporating multimedia literacies, and thus digital literacies in the classroom, allows us to embed lessons of digital citizenship in authentic ways. Digital citizenship is best taught in context as opposed to a one off lesson here and there.
For more information see my site:
Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS
ISTE Standards Students. (2007). Retrieved July 13, 2015, from the International Society for Technology in Education website: http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-S_PDF.pdf
Jenkins, H. (2013). Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English Classroom [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.ca
Ribble, M., & Miller, T. N. (2013). Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically. Journal Of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137-145.
The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review,
I heard of the Global Read Aloud a few years ago and thought that would be a great tool to connect my class with others around the world. The idea was simple choose one of the books to read aloud to your class and connect with others around the world who chose to read the same book. Pernille Ripp the creator of the Global Read Aloud picks new books each year. She sets a start date and schedule of readings to keep everyone together but if you fall behind that's ok too.
Since I have been out of the classroom the last few years, I have not have the opportunity to do the Global Read Aloud with a class of my own. This year, I sent out some information on the project to see if anyone was interested. Noreen Holt at RF Staples responded and shortly after she reached out to Mary Kaliel at Pembina North Community School and she joined in as well. Noreen decided to jump in and participate with her grade 8 and 9 classes, 3 classes in total. Mary decided to join in with her one grade 8 class. The grade 8’s read Fish by L.S. Matthews, and the grade 9’s read Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina. It was a huge learning curve for both teachers as not only was the Global Read Aloud new to them, there were several technology tools they decided to use that were new to them too. They used Edublogs, Twitter and Skype to connect with each other, as well as other classes, teachers, students and even the authors.
Noreen used Edmodo and email to find some international connections for her class but in the end her best connection was the one she made with Mary’s grade 8 class. We used Skype to do Mystery Skypes between classes as an icebreaker activity . Mystery Skype is a game of strategic questioning to figure out where the other class is located.
Twitter was used to follow the slow chat happening each week. The slowchat was where a question or two per week were posted by a class that signed up to moderate that week’s chat. Our students followed the hashtags for the week and then tweeted out answers to the questions that were posted.
Through the project students learned:
-reading comprehension strategies and writing skills
-to give positive feedback that moves the conversation forward
-digital citizenship skills (citing images sources, creating a positive digital footprint, etc.)
-the value of making connections with classes outside of their own schools
In the end, I think Noreen, Mary and their students learned a lot through this experience but just to make sure I asked these teachers to respond to a few questions for me. Here are their responses:
What were the benefits of participating in the Global Read Aloud for you and your students?
The students were forced to think “outside their box” when they read comments and blogs from other schools. They also were very aware of their audience and always made sure that their writing said what they had intended. ~Mary
The biggest benefit was the larger audience for their thinking. In all of my classes, the author of the book visited their blogs, read a few, and commented. Additionally, they had partner classes in the United States, and the grade eights also partnered with the grade eights in Pembina North. They Skyped with their partner classes and also read their blog posts and responded. I think the authentic audience was one of the reasons my students were so engaged.
The books are about issues relevant to the students right now. It was easy to connect to both books.
For me the biggest benefit was my learning. Blogging will be a part of my class forevermore. I enjoyed learning how to Skype class to class, and I will definitely do that again as well. ~Noreen
Were there any drawbacks to participating in the Global Read Aloud?
It wasn’t always easy to stick to the schedule. We had to be very aware of the schedule and had to fit the reading in when we had many other things happening. Your time is not your own. You don’t want to read too far ahead, but you also don’t want your kids to read any spoilers in the other blogs. ~Mary
The only drawback for me was the timing. Because I hadn’t known about the GRA in September, I had started class novels already. It was tough to keep to the GRA schedule while finishing the class novels. ~Noreen
Any advice for those thinking about participating in the Global Read Aloud next year?
Next year, I would have the books read much further in advance. I would definitely do this again. ~Mary
Do it! I learned so much about Skyping and blogging. ~Noreen
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.