It has been a crazy busy week and a half, but I am excited to report that I am officially done my grade two student’s term one report cards! It is a great feeling knowing that they are all finished and that they will be in my student’s and their families hands on Friday. Now my students and I just have to put final touches to the portfolios then my student’s will be able to show them to their parents and guardians on Tuesday and Wednesday during student led conferences. During the conferences I will be setting up show what you know centers so students can showcase their learning to their parents. What do you do for student led conferences?? I am so proud of each and every one of my students so I am looking forward to conferences!
These last few weeks I have been busy finishing units and having students complete different assessments so I could decide on a summative mark for the outcomes covered in this term. While I have been busy when marking, grading, and reflecting on my student’s progress I have also been busy exploring the assigned readings and viewings for my EC&I832 Emerging Media Literacies class exploring new and emerging literacies. One of the articles was a framework that outlined different literacies and then went on to ask some critical questions that had my mind racing. The NCTE’s 21st Century Framework outlined that, “active, successful participates in this 21st century global society must be able to:
- Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
- Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
- Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.”
I think teachers should read this document because it had me reflect on what I believe is important to teach my students. It does not matter what grade or age level of students you teach, it is vital for educators to think about their student’s future. All of the questions in the document made me reflect on my own teaching practices and beliefs. I also began to think about the Future Work Skills 2020 document that explores preparing students for the future. While reading both of those readings I began to make connections and reflect on my teaching philosophy. I remembered the inventories that I had completed in my EC&I 804 Curriculum Development class. I can recall two inventories that we completed for the class that had us reflect on our teaching beliefs. For the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) I scored the highest in nurturing followed by apprenticeship and for the Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI) I scored the highest in humanistic followed by behaviorist. I was not surprised by the results because I believe in forming positive relationships with my class so I can get to know each of my students. By getting to know my students I am able to plan around their interests and build their self-confidence so each child can begin to take responsibility in his or her own learning. I also believe it is important for students to take an active role in their learning, but there also needs to be a balance so I see myself connecting to many of the other philosophies. It is vital to differentiate and reach all of my student’s needs. But, what knowledge or skills will students need to have to be successful in life? How will educators help shape and create positive citizens? How do we teach students to become creative and critical thinkers? What do educators need to do to help students become successful when they get older?
I encourage you to read Ashley Dew’s blog post, The Future of Education. She brings up many valid points about using technology in the classroom, 21st Century learners, curriculum, and preparing students. Ashley asks many good questions at the end of her post that I have started to wonder about myself. All of the graduate classes that I have taken over the past few semesters has been challenging me to think more critically about our curriculum documents. What skills and concepts are imperative to teach our students to help better prepare them for tomorrow? It is so hard for people to answer that because we all have our own teaching philosophy and philosophies about education.
Does education need to start focusing on the skills and framework that was discussed in the two documents? What should education look like in the 21st Century? Do our curriculum documents need to be formatted differently? Are the curriculum documents missing key components that would help prepare students for the future?
During this weeks readings I also watched a video entitled ‘Texts and Tweets: myths and realties’. During this video David Crystal discusses the myths and realties of texting, tweeting, and literacy. Crystal points out five myths that many people have about texting and other forms of media such as Twitter and how it has effected the English language. The five myths that he discussed are:
- Texting is full of abbreviations.
- Abbreviations is something newly developed.
- That people do not know how to spell because they leave out letters.
- That young people are putting these abbreviations into their homework and exams.
- That texting shows the decline of the English language.
Throughout the entire video he made valid points in showcasing that technology is not causing a decline in the English language. People need to be literate to text people and to create Tweets or create posts on other forms of social media. Many people are fast to criticize how youth are constantly texting or posting on different forms of social media. Crystal points out that they are improving their reading and writing skills by interacting with other people using the different tools. Using these tools is more motivational for students as they want to interact with others. It can also lead people to be creative. Have you have heard of people creating 140 character novels on Twitter? I never thought of an author being able to create a story using only 140 characters. Technology can open the doors for so many people!
In the video David explores how texting is also improving literacy scores. Though texting students are learning how to spell while practicing their reading skills. For people to be able to text someone they need to be able to understand the message that the person is sending them in order to reply back to the person. I could relate to Branelle’s blog post English Language: Ever-Evolving as I have also experienced my students spelling similar phrases that she mentioned in her post. My grade two students are young and learn from their environment. I find that many people speak using those similar phrases and my students do not understand yet the difference between informal and formal language, but as they get older they will begin to understand those differences. Crystal discuses that students know not to use abbreviations on their homework or exams despite the myths. As Branelle points out in her post that we all use a different forms of language when communicating to others. People shift from formal to informal language depending on the audience, what they are writing about, and what tool they are using to write their message. My favourite part of her post is how proves that she is a capable speller even when using abbreviations!
There is a lot to think about when exploring the topic of media literacy. I appreciated the video that Gloria shared on her blog post “Greater Appreciation for Integrating Technology.” The short video she posted was called “What is Media Literacy?” and it pointed out the changes in media literacy, what it means to be media literate, and that we are living in a participatory culture. During the video it asks: “What new media skills does a “participatory culture” require?” Later it was discussed some skills that needs to be taught. They are not technical skills, but are social and behavioral skills that are learned best through collaboration. At the end it suggested that digital citizenship needs to be the new approach and those skills needs to be taught as soon as students have a device in their hands. The Government of Saskatchewan has created a Digital Citizenship Continuum document that helps support teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 12 integrating digital citizenship concepts and skills into their classrooms. I think it is important to teach the concepts and skills outlined in the document because we need to teach students how to be safe, understand the digital laws, and how to interact positively in all the different digital spaces. But, I know this would overwhelm many other educators for many reasons. I know many teachers who already feel the pressure and are becoming more stressed because they feel they have so much on their plate. There are also many other teachers that would not be comfortable teaching digital citizenship lessons because they do not interact in the different social media spaces and do not understand digital literacy.