Blog 9: Creating the Perfect Monster
In my world, everything is linked, doubling back on itself, picking up information, shared history, linked languages, linked thoughts. I see no concrete lines between subject matter, literacies, histories, topics, languages. Everything is linked by history. I teach a World Language and Humanities, but my people? Historians.
History links people. History links subject matter. History links US as global citizens, across geography and across cultures and political divides.
In the same interconnected and interconnecting manner, creative literacy, universal literacy and literacy across disciplines link, define and are defined by each other. The definitions offered by Three Models of Literacy offer a way to understand and apply literacy across disciplines of 450 surveyed teachers.
Universal Literacy is understood as digital and tech savvy: the skills necessary to navigate life within the digital society. Information literacy is thought of as digital skills that a person will need to allow him or her to participate as a citizen of tech society.
Creative Literacy practices are those that engage the creator and the designer of UX or user experience. These skills are not everyone’s forte and the idea is that the producer or maker is involved in creative design, interface design, code design or another area that will impact the end user.
Finally, Literacy across Disciplines is the practice of literacies, specific to disciplines. Medicine requires its own set of tech and media literacy fluencies, just as education requires knowledge and ability to practically model and engage learners.
Maha Bali talks about the role of critical thinking and refers to Paulo Freire’s work, Freire writes, “The end goal of critical thinking is to challenge the status quo in order to achieve social justice, collectively raising consciousness of conditions promoting oppression in order to achieve liberation.”
Maha Bali writes about her belief in the “potential of the digital in promoting empathetic and social justice-oriented critical citizenship, rather than digital citizenship in general.” Critical Digital Citizenship, dml central, June 30, 2016
Her basic premise is that it is possible to foster and develop critical digital citizenship.
Empathy and social justice must be the focus and remain at the center of the desire to become a critically responsible digital citizen.
As we examine the Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship:
- Digital Access or full electronic participation in society.
- Digital Commerce – electronic buying and selling.
- Digital Communication – electronic exchange of information.
- Digital Literacy – process of teaching and learning about technology and its proper use and application.
- Digital Etiquette – electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
- Digital Law – electronic responsibility for actions and deeds.
- Digital Rights and Responsibilities.
- Digital Health and Wellness – physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
- Digital Security – electronic precautions to guarantee safety.
As we compare both sets of themes. it becomes clear that there is a connectedness and overlay between the definitions and Themes of Digital Citizenship and the Three Models of Literacy .
Concluding questions: What is the link? What connects them? The technology? Or the ethical and empathetic use of it? What can drive ethical use? How do we teach critical digital citizenship? How do we model critical digital citizenship?
I assert that understanding the history, our history as humans, as cultures, the “connects”, the “disconnects” and the story between critical digital citizenship and understanding our obligations and responsibilities in technology’s ethical use: only in expanding our understanding of all of these will we be able to promote Social Justice online, across cultures and political boundaries. Do we dare?
A small reflection on a challenging and rewarding process…
…I learned a great deal during the project construction. Putting Belshaw’s Essentials into an internal intellectual place was a useful exercise.
In conclusion, I was able to make an intellectual and emotional leap to a different level of understanding in the process of creating a constructive online community: Building respect, honesty, and openness within the online classroom, places demands on the instructor that require the development of special sets of skills. The construction of Module 8 in New Media Literacies, #CI5323, assisted me in taking another step toward becoming a competent online facilitator.
A Reflection: A Community of Learning
I am deeply motivated by the idea of community as a learning tool and interface. The idea is so natural and instinctual and yet how our patterns, systems and habits of learning have transformed into a rather selfish enterprise: guarding the resources, protecting the process, calling the finished product “Mine” or “Yours” without an intent to recognize the role of the community that assisted in the development of the thinker.
“Our communities of practice then become resources for organizing our learning as well as context in which to manifest our learning through an identity of participation. What is crucial about this kind of engagement as an educational experience is that identity and learning serve each other.” (Wenger, Chapter 12, p.272)
My engagement in a reflective teaching practice has morphed into a life of engaged and reflective facilitation and learning. My citizenship in an online community devoted to learning as a lifestyle has become not only the tool to help me facilitate that which I wish to master, but it has begun to develop my identity as a student of everything. My identity as a lifelong learner supports my identity as a teacher devoted to a life of inter-connectedness, learning and growth.
I have been amused and chagrined at how much this idea makes intuitive sense and yet runs counter to the way I was educated: we were taught that in academia, resources should be protected and not shared – at least not easily – and open forums were seen as scary places where bad intellectual ideas might happen. Scary learning indeed!
What happens if we exam the exponential growth of information and expansion of knowledge from a different perspective? What would happen if we, as a global community, decided to collectively become smarter, and collaborate as a rhizome, rather than operate and grow as a single tree? Check it out: The Open Scholarship Initiative .
What if we drew a line from the idea of practicing Critical Pedagogy (Maha Bali, 2014) to Connie Yowell’s assertion that the process of engaging the learner – the context – has to matter more than linking teaching subject matter to “Desired Outcomes” and test scores. Critical pedagogy is essentially: “Learning habits (reading, writing, discourse) that intentionally question.” (This my own one-sentence summary – you may feel free to disagree.) What if, we link a community of practice, or a practice of learning to… learning how we learn? The Art & Science of learning everything…. by @TFerris
If we, as teachers, are engaged in the practice of critical pedagogy (or a reflective practice) … then, in theory, we should be deeply intrigued and invested in, learner engagement. Except: we are not. I would assert that even the most critically engaged teacher, enthralled with the process of engaging the learner and trying to remain deeply committed to the idea of learning contextual process, may return to their default setting: measuring learner outcomes. The reason that we may be inclined to return to the default setting is: this is the modus operandi, if you will, or the way that we were educated. Annoyingly, as in parenting, we return to what we know, even if we don’t like it, ourselves, or what it does to our classrooms and the learners in it.
I posit that, critically, if we are to emerge on the other side of the “new” online educational reality with a new paradigm, we need to fully engage in the process of re-creating the learning space. And we need to be thoughtfully, wholly and reflectively and critically cognizant of the process, our role within the process and how we can facilitate a learning environment that can creatively take on the process together. “The development of community as a part of the learning process helps create a learning experience that is empowering and rich. It is essential to impart the importance of this process to faculty in order to maximize the use of the online medium in education. Without it, we are simply recreating our tried and true educational model and calling it innovative,” without fully exploring the potential the online medium holds.” (Pallof & Pratt, 2007.)
I think Yowell’s assertion is pertinent. And I believe that the idea of focusing on the learner process vs. learner outcome, is possible in all content areas.
In conclusion: Does anyone agree or disagree with the idea that we are on the cusp of a new paradigm in education, as we make over our online classrooms into critically engaged learning spaces? What could be an unintended down side? What if we remained life-long learners, engaged in learning and maker-spaces that connected us socially, intellectually and emotionally so that all participants emerged richer for the experience and devoted to the ideas of cultural, class and societal change on a global level? What then?
As I scan through my Twitter account, it occurs to me that it be beneficial to have a separate Twitter account for just my #edtech #interwebs feed. My love of theater, of faraway market places in my favorite city, and my intentional searches for issues dealing with global warming and the environment are definitely getting in the way of looking for more #medialiteracy links. @olsen738
How do we impulse students to become curious about a world they have not seen or cannot imagine? Educational Technology can ensure that we take our jobs as “Global Connectors” seriously, that we strive to connect our #students to the #GreaterGood (whatever that really means)! Images, maps, photos, videos, Instagram, Twitter all of these #edtech tools can support that #BigPicture. Seriously, have you ever discussed the impact of the use of plastic on the world’s oceans and water sources? Take a look at: A Plastic Ocean
And where can we go from there? Use the #online community you create to discuss and link your students to this crucial issue. The amazing map resource offered by 8 Maps can be used to link your classroom to the #BigIssue, create experiments in plastic types and whether they sink or float and start #OnlineCommunities that become #AdventureLearning projects that morph into #CommunityProjects.
Think I’m crazy? I have been accused of worse and lived to tell the tale. Gotta start somewhere and linking your classroom to the classroom across the city via #GoogleHangouts or in your #Schoology classroom in order to solve your city’s plastic problem? Why not try it? And then, link to a classroom in Spain, or in Peru, or in Guam or in Puerto Rico…and do it again. I dare you.
So now what? I started a blog. Hmm-mph. I said I would never do this. Here I am writing about stuff connected to #edtech, the internet (the “Interwebs”), online communities and connecting classroom and teachers. I started this blog as part of a class assignment and now am realizing that the practice might actually teach me a thing or two, connect me to teachers who want a forum for connecting classrooms, creating online communities that link their classroom to the greater world, or just want a place to talk about ‘Really Important Stuff.’ Like this: edut.to/2bj5frP or Six-step strategies that can help you identify the veracity of a website. Well, thanks, then. Glad there is such a thing, now that it has been drilled into every student that they MUSN’T touch wikipedia! Instead of training students to drink from the pitcher, they just tell them not to be thirsty! Ever occur to anyone to teach students how to properly use wikipedia instead of steering them away? So much good stuff there, (in Wiki, I mean), now if I just knew how to extract it. Try the lemon press? Cheers.
This is an additional placeholder post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.