A World I Knew Nothing About: Week 3 Readings

In the “Geeking Out” section of Living and Learning with New Media, the MacArthur Foundation writers discuss a world in which young people are creating peer group learning communities (PGLC) around videography, gaming, music production, and the like. If youth are Geeking Out “they are delving into areas of interest that exceed common knowledge…” (28). They can say that again! I had never heard of at least half of the activities discussed. It truly is a World that I know nothing about; yet, with that said, since becoming a mother I have been thinking about the digital world and thinking about how I will bridge the gap between my tech literacy and my daughter’s. She’ll be 3 in June and she’s already navigating our (her) Itouch. I have a close friend who has two teenage children and after watching them, I have decided that 1. I will make sure I’m teaching at an international school that is committed to technology and that has great teacher and student training and 2. I will buy my daughter a MAC. MACs seem more intuitive for Geeking Out activities, such as music and video making. I know they are at least 1K more than a PC, but I’m told the software comes with the MAC. I’d appreciate if MAC users would comment on this topic… Back to my thoughts, not only do I need to provide my daughter with access to technology and a great school, I need to commit to growing my tech literacy. So here I am! I’m with Gwen, who is going to sit down with the tech person at her school and take a long hard look at Bloom’s Digital Literacy. This year my tech push has been around making videos with my students. My students are roving reporters and the tech guy helps me put the video together. I’m learning how to use Windows Movie Maker’s few features. I’m about to move to AISCH and I cannot wait to find out what software we have and if we’re making videos. Do any of you have thoughts on video making? Now, my brain has moved from the article and I’m thinking about what I need from my cyber colleagues: tips on how to get kids blogging about their reading, tips on e portfolios, thoughts on Glogster… I still feel that I know very little about the tech integration world, but I am excited that my next teaching year will start with regular blogging between me and my students and more and more tech integration. On another topic and one of real concern, I am really curious about public schools in the USA. What are they doing around technology? In 1987 when I graduated from high school in Arizona, we did not have a computer on campus. I had typing class on a typewriter. What are public schools like now? Are New York or Massachusetts or Pennsylvania public schools on top of this issue: these states spend the most per student… Also, what about economic issues. There are still so many kids around the world growing up with no education or going to a school with no money for technology. How will technology bridge the economic divide? Will we learn to use technology to reach kids in rural villages in Africa? In closing, the MacArthur article is pushing educators and parents to keep up with the digital age so that we as educators and parents will support and even facilitate tech literacy and the development of PGLCs. We need to move beyond our fear of kids’ lives going out of balance with their digital social or gaming/entertainment needs, and help them move toward the “Geeking Out” stage. My desires for daughter have simply expanded. I’m thinking about piano lessons, gymnastics classes, and making sure she has daily reading in her life: creativity, physicality, and literacy… but I am also thinking about her technology access: digital literacy. For any of you parents out there, I would love to know your thoughts about your kids. I think most of us on COETAIL are here because we’re teaching at International Schools that are committed to tech, so we have a head start. But, still what are you doing for your kids? Any advice… And, please comment on my classroom questions too: advice on movie making, e portfolios, etc…


on “A World I Knew Nothing About: Week 3 Readings
2 Comments on “A World I Knew Nothing About: Week 3 Readings
  1. Hi Britt, I just noticed you had posted a couple of questions on the COETAIL webpage and noticed your comments on the GROUPS link. You were wondering about digital portfolios and just wanted to share that I used Weebly.com and had students design their own webpage which they are going to use next week for their student-led conferences. I’ve looked at many alternatives and found this site to be one of the best and easiest to use. Also, it is password protected which I love as do the parents. There is also a blog option on the site that students can use, although I haven’t looked into this yet. I have used Shelfari.com and run many of my book clubs and book talks through this. Students have really enjoyed this, plus they can invite their classmates and share responses.

    Just thought I would pass these two possibilities along to you.


    • Dan, you have so made my evening. This is my first cyber tech integration conversation. I know about Weebly and recently I was pondering trying it out for a poetry unit. I set up my own page and had issues with them trying to make me pay, so I’ll have to practice a bit more. I like how making a new page is simple, and I think the kids can put a poem and some art on bunch of separate pages. Perhaps next year, I will use each page for a published piece and it will become a writing portfolio. I will look at Shelfari.com. My school has kidblogs and Edmodo and I wonder if either of these will be good for book club/book talks etc… I want my students to read about what other kids say about books so they can inspire each other to try a new book etc. I never feel that we have enough class time to do book recommendations. An electronic method will help. Thanks so much for your thoughts…

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