- It is vitally important that we build the skills of digital literacy in ourselves, our families and our students. At this time, when there is so much growth in dependence on the Web as the primary source of knowledge and information, everyone needs to understand how to value and how to interpret what they see online, as well as how to find the best of what is available in efficient ways.
I was fortunate to be an education student at a time when much initial work on digital literacies and the closely allied area of critical literacy was underway, so I learnt how to share these principles with my students, how to build students' skills through various projects and activities, and how to assess whether they were using these skills in their own time online.
Now that I am teaching in a non-English speaking country, my role does not offer the same opportunities, and I worry that no one else is filling this gap for students here either. My understanding is that the majority of the world's digital users do not speak English as their first language, or at all, so they may also be missing out on building digital literacies, and may be making poor or less effective choices as a result.
I am looking forward to reading Netsmart by Howard Rheingold, not just for my students and family, but for myself too. From the reviews, other resources, videos and tweets, I am sure it will be a valuable addition to this critically important field.Howard Rheingold originally shared this post:Today's quote from
"Digital literacies can leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five hundred years ago. Today’s digital literacies of attention, participation, collaboration, crap detection, and network smarts can make the difference between being empowered or manipulated, serene or frenetic. Most importantly, as people who are trying to get along day to day in a hyper-scale, warp-speed civilization that seems so often to be beyond anyone’s control, digital literacy is something powerful we can learn and exercise for ourselves and each other. "Netsmart »How can we use digital media so that they help us become empowered participants rather than passive consumers? In Net Smart, I show how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, min...
If you are looking for support in working with primary-aged students (or even lower secondary) of ESL or EFL, including ways of using "Smartboards", here's a great start to get you going.
I've now compiled the "best of" links for these two categories, and am pleased to offer them to you.
The first is a collection of the best 65 sites for elementary ESL/EFL students and teachers. Under EFL/ESL elementary resources I've listed the best 65 sites for: video, stories, reading, e-books, music & song, activities, games, writing, lesson plans, vocabulary, spelling, dictionaries, quizzes & puzzles, speaking & pronunciation, phonics & ABCs, community sharing, rhymes, colouring, animation & cartoons, test writing, printables, flashcards, presentations, screen-casting, brainstorming, audio & sounds, collaboration, stickies, podcasts, posters, search tools and a complete LMS (learning management system). Many are also suited to interactive whiteboards.
The second is a collection of the best 48 sites for learning how to use interactive white boards, such as Smartboard, and resources to use in class with elementary ESL/EFL students. Under IWB/Smartboard resources I've listed the best 48 sites for: training & tutorials in mastering smartboards, games, lesson plans, presentations, activities, spelling, reading, comics, worksheets, phonics and writing. The training sites have videos that will step you through everything you need to know to use IWB's effectively in class.These are real time-savers and are ones I've used. Many are also recommended by leading educationists in the field.
If you click on the link below it will take you to ALL of my bookmarks, images, videos and documents at Zootool. You can search for items using keywords. Click on the resulting images to see more details of the site and tags for each. Click on the title to go to the page.
With over 1,900 items and 900 tags you will find lots for teaching & learning English as well as many other general interest categories.
The link is: http://zootool.com/user/gregqbear/
I posted the following comments to an excellent article entitled "Teaching Counts" which was written by David B. Cohen on the InterACT blogsite: http://accomplishedcaliforniateachers.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/experience-counts/#comment-2725
"Sadly, in Taiwan as much as the USA, experience is undervalued. It is most clearly so due to having annual contracts rather than the possibility of continuity, and in having no senior or leader teachers. English language teachers here operate at the whim of school and government administrators whose principal motives are not always educational ones.
I fear that the situation in the US is that it is easier to quantify exam results using "scientific" methods, than trying to measure more qualitative aspects of the very complex teacher-student-parent-school-community relationship, or even than by attempting to conduct longitudinal (more expensive) studies of teachers' work over several years. It is also easier to keep budgets within limits by hiring lower paid recent graduates than continuing those working higher up the pay scale.
Administrators, accountants and governments like easy, quick answers. What they do not care about is whether or not the measures used reflect the work being performed.
One aspect of all of this that is working against the vast majority of teachers is the small number of those who are stuck in a time warp, teaching the same way year by year, not reflecting on what they are doing, not listening to students, parents and colleagues, not preparing students for the future they will face, refusing to consider the place of interactive and computer-based technologies in a range of teaching tools, and incapable of being moved on due to inflexible tenure arrangements or lack of non-contact positions. While hey are certainly not doing the rest of us any favours by staying, at the same time, "the system" should have ways of ensuring this does not happen as well.
David, I congratulate you on an interesting article, and I will share it as widely as possible with other educators.
I sent this email today to respond to a posting about a principal who threatened a family with serious consequences if they stood in the way of their son completing a standardised test. The original post is here:http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/04/tell-bully-principal-how-you-feel.html
I hope you will look at the case and consider taking some action too.
Sadly what your vision statement lacks is the same respect, acceptance, celebration or valuing of parents. In fact it doesn't even mention parents.
You can hide behind rules if you like - I suppose your job depends on it to some degree - but it is more fundamental to recognise that parents, not legislators, have the primary responsibility for the education of their children, and for the choices of how and where that will happen.
So, I do not agree with your approach to student Joseph. It will do nothing for your attempts at forging a school-home partnership, especially if your approach is that the school is right and parents are wrong. This is an unequal partnership at best, and sounds quite hollow given your threats of intervention.
Sure, you have the 'discretion' to contact CPS, but equally you have the choice not to. If you want to work with parents, I would respectfully suggest that such an approach would be counterproductive.
More fundamentally, you are violating both the rights of Joseph and his parents. I refer you to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (a much higher authority than you quoted in your email). In particular, I would highlight:
(1) governments should respect the rights of parents in guiding their children (you do not)
(2) governments are to assist families in nurturing their children (you are trying to separate them)
(3) when making decisions, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinion taken into account (did you even talk to Joseph?)
(4) children have a particular responsibility to respect the rights their parents, and education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents (if you don't respect their values, how much less will Joseph do so by following your example?)
I suggest you should re-consider your position, apologise to Joseph, his family, any other students and families you have abused, and, finally you should act as an advocate for families rather than their adversary by lobbying for them with legislators in your State who obviously are disregarding rights accepted by the US government on behalf of the country.
Gregory Quinlivan (Teacher, parent, and grandparent)."