It all started with a conversation about participatory culture. Henry Jenkins was the 'resident expert' as we gathered ideas, quotes, insights from readings, blog posts and video. The "parking lot" created in Today's Meet was a busy place as each of the students in the class captured an 'aha' idea in this collaborative space. These ideas were collated and curated into the interactive word cloud seen to the right.
You can see more about this topic on the course site for this week - Participatory Culture - where the video and blog links are available. The google docs for the group tasks are closed since these are private work spaces for student use.
Participatory culture by debate!
Then we took some time to review The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement. The article written by Renee Hobbs was the starting point and the Teacher Backgrounder from Media Smarts Canada provided a succinct summary for some engaged conversations. First, each student took the survey. Then the debate began in earnest. The results are posted here for some deeper conversation about what this means - considering the respondents are teacher candidates early in their teaching careers. (Wonder how this would compare to practicing teachers in Canadian contexts or other teacher candidates in both Canadian and global contexts?)
When you are a teacher, being flexible is an essential quality. Being a digital and media literate teacher means that you can find alternate methods, modes and means to engage students in the material and content. This is just such an occasion. Today's lesson will be pre-empted by events other than the usual focused teaching and learning in a traditional sense. Today, students will be given an opportunity to engage with the information and content while applying their USE, UNDERSTAND and CREATE skills to model digital and media literacy.
First: review each element of the course site page for today's class. This should take about 20 min with a partner or small group.
FINALLY: Complete the exit ticket for today's class - found in D2L in the Exit Ticket folder. This may take 5 minutes to complete. Your blog post and the exit ticket will be reviewed with a MET/NOT MET feedback response from your instructor.
Creating a Lib-Dub creative, collaborative video
Creating a lip-dub video is not a new phenomenon. Creating one with a class of students is not something I've done before. Thought about it - yes. Planned it out - somewhat. Actually doing it - not yet. So it's time to try.
Figuring out how it fits into the 'curriculum' and where to schedule this activity was the first challenge. Then, working out some of the logistics to prepare for this event took some time. Viewing and reviewing videos, blogs, resources linked to this creative process took some time. Narrowing down the search for relevant and manageable materials was necessary. Sometimes decisions were difficult - weighing all the options and making sure pros & cons were considered.
Viewing some school and classroom examples helps understand the genre as well as craft strategies.
Preparing some documents and links to manage the selection and collection came next.
Thinking about where and how the students would become actively involved in this collaboration was essential to ensure everyone had a part to play and was engaged in the process and final product. Reflection and response was an important part of the whole process.
Last year I started to share and explore technologies in education through a ten-minute-tech-talk format. It was an opportunity to showcase a technology that students may not have seen before or one that we had used in class that students may want to experience. This past summer, I started to collect and capture some video and audio tools for an article I was writing to support audio and video feedback in the classroom. While this collection is still being developed, I'm coming back to this idea about integrating tech talks into my classroom work. It's a struggle since my primary focus is on teaching and pedagogy, not technology. But without an opportunity to see what technologies are available and the affordances of those tools, there may never be a connection created for teachers. Part of my own learning comes from other teachers and educators who try new tools and technologies, then share their experiences in classroom integration. Being able to make informed decisions about technologies means that I need to 'be informed'. I need to try, test, work through tribulations, and figure out where, when or how the tool fits my student's needs. My ability to use a hammer or screwdriver, pencil or marker, computer or mobile device is dependant on my competency in knowing what the tool does and when I need to use it. This is the same for technology. One of my 'go to' sources for digital tools and technologies for education is Steve Dotto's Dotto Tech site.
This morning I came across a graphic created by Sylvia Duckworth that was created from a blog post written by Eric Shenigner. It caught me eye because I'm concerned about what I will remember as I grow older. I also wonder what the students will remember as they complete this course and move out into their final placement before they graduate. This graphic is a visual reminder of the importance of the challenging tasks and hard work. As students in this course complete their digital story productions, they can enjoy the celebration and personal satisfaction of creating something unique and meaningful. Their work over the past several weeks would fall into that top category and hopefully they'll remember 90% of what they have created for this course. Writing and producing a digital story is a complex task. Learning to teach is a complex task. Each involves creating something unique that is shared with others. It's a process and a product where reflection is a critical element to ensure improvement. Successful completion of both can leave you feeling euphoric. We will remember this!
I recently wrote a blog post on my professional blog about the five things I know for sure. It was a reflection on the raging dialogue about a dress that engaged people all over the world. I reflected in the middle of current issues of perspective and how they can shape our view of the world. Then I moved to a reflection of the five things I know for sure, since this was a challenge presented by another teacher in my PLN. I wrote that I know for sure that learning is messy, stories can teach, ideas bounce, variety is the spice of life, and that snow always melts. These things I know for sure are a matter of perspective.
Just as snow always melts, all courses come to an end. Just as snow can be challenging to cope with, so to is the closure that comes from completing difficult work. Courses often end with a culminating task or a performance piece, an exam or a final reflection. These bring closure to the ending. Just as snow melts away, so to do the ideas and concepts that were a primary focus for so many weeks. As I reflect on the final tasks of reflection, I understand the need to bring clarity to the process of closing and ending the work and learning. It's part of the process learners need to go through to make the most of knowledge building experiences. Reflection in, on, of actions is essential for deeper learning.
Digital storytelling is active and applied learning. It has a process and a product. The timelines are up for debate, but there has to be an ending. The characters in the digital storytelling process tend to evolve as the story develops. The person with the skills in moviemaking or audio recording suddenly becomes the star attraction. The quiet, reserved characters can sometimes become the heroes when they support others in the heat of production.
As the students in this course develop their story maps, storyboards and gather their story images, collect sound files, think about transitions and text, all in the effort to craft their digital stories, they may not see the end, but it's coming. This week, while some rest, relax and play, others will continue to work toward the conclusion of their story-telling project. Even in those moments of rest and refreshment, the story will evolve. These stories, and the experience creating them, will leave a lasting memory for those who create them.
Some of my recent work has taken me into some uncomfortable territory where I'm struggling with the ideas of 'agency' and 'empowerment'. These notions are challenging my thinking and may take time to sort through to some type of resolution. I blogged about 'Agency - Give or Take'. This helped me think through why it's important for me as an educator to think about how students are taking control of their own learning. I created a video "How I Empower Learning' as part of an invitation by the ISTE Teacher Educator Network. Since one of my own students had modelled how to use PowToon, I decided to try using this new digital tool to create my video. The topic of 'empowering learning' crystallized and became clearer. But the comparison of agency to empowerment still has me pondering about my role as a teacher - Is it a give and take relationship with students? Is it a give and take with the topics, content, issues, ideas or facts that are the focus of learning. Where do I empower learning or awaken agency? No easy answers, just more questions. But that's a good think!
I confessed in class this week that I was a 'lurker' and received a smattering of chuckles from those who heard me. While I may have taken offence to this reaction in the past, I have made peace with my 'lurking' nature. I know it's OK to be a viewer from the periphery. It's natural to want to watch while others jump into things when you don't know what to expect. It's embedded into our DNA so it's OK. It's part of being an 'ambivert'! It's about being comfortable in quietly learning from the sidelines or noisily joining into the digital game. Part introvert, part extrovert, it's being at peace in quiet and noisy digital places.
So why does 'lurking' bring up a negative connotation within digital spaces? Is it the creepy nature of all things dark and mysterious? I know there are certainly lurkers out in the digi-sphere that have less than positive intentions. That's the nature of this beast we call the Internet. But my ability to watch and learn while others move ahead, modelling with fearlessness all those things I may not understand, will help my resolve to engage and participate. As teachers, we need to support those in our classrooms who need time to 'lurk' and look before they engage and participate.
This coming week, in class, we'll explore participatory culture. At some point, digitally savvy teachers need to move beyond the lurking and watching. As I teach this group of 'soon-to-be-teachers' I will model a process for them to move from 'watching from the sidelines' in digital spaces to one of full and active participation within supportive and collaborative communities of digital teachers and learners.
My 'lurking' days are over. I'm actively playing in the global, digital sandbox! Join me @MDL4000 - it's ok, you can lurk for a while! (I recently came across this blog post that made me feel proud that I admitted to my lurking - The Power of the Lurker!)